Three St. Louis Artisans on the Rise
St. Louis has reason to brag: It’s home to countless talented crafters and artists, who produce lovely handmade goods for home and wear. Guided: St. Louis turns the spotlight on three artisans whose work we’re enamored by right now. Read on for insights on creativity from Theresa Joy Studio, Knitology and BODA CLAY.
Theresa Joy Hitchcock of Theresa Joy Studio
Hitchcock is a Renaissance woman. In her online shop, you’ll find gold-flecked porcelain earrings and succulent pots, wooden pendants and candleholders, and sweet soldered glass frames for pressed flowers, all designed with her keen eye for beauty and whimsy.
Guided: What is influencing your work right now?
Theresa Joy Hitchcock: My craft business began as a way to supplement my income as I pursue my graduate degree in art therapy counseling, but it has since become a process of meditation as I continue to explore the limits of each material. Processing the difficulties of life with my clients motivates me to seek introspection by connecting with natural materials, such as wood, clay, metal, glass and plants.
As an artist, it is hard to balance my studies with my work in the studio, but making beautiful things for the home and for people to wear keeps my hands busy as I continue to experience the type of euphoria only making gives me. Ultimately, I hope I can help folks feel a little more special as they invite things into their lives that reflect their personality and values. I know things can’t make anyone truly happy, but I do hope that, like my middle name, my creations spark a little moment of joy for their owner, just as they do for me while I create them.
Kathryn Campbell of Knitology
Run by married duo Kathryn and Thomas Campbell, Knitology began one winter when Kathryn Campbell was cold and frustrated, unable to find unique, cozy knitwear on her college-student budget. Since its start, Knitology has evolved from solely focusing on women’s accessories to including kids’ and men’s knitwear, as well as patterns and home goods, such as woven wall hangings and adorable plant baskets. Knitology also offers workshops for aspiring knitters, so keep an eye on its calendar.
Guided: How do you stay inspired to create?
Kathryn Campbell: In all honesty, I don’t stay inspired. Creativity, for me—and I’m sure some of my fellow artists would agree—is very hot and cold. There are times when I have so many ideas flitting through my head that I refuse to sleep in case I forget them overnight. Then there are times when my brain is a black hole and I stress cry because obviously I’m “not creative enough for this.” But when it happens, when inspiration kind of smacks me across the face, it always comes from outside my daily routine. Because I’m so Type A—while my husband is essentially the opposite—it’s normally him I have to thank for forcing me out of my comfort zone and into something that excites me.
Molly Svoboda of BODA CLAY
This twenty-year-old local clay phenom got her start in a class at St. Louis Community College – Forest Park and hasn’t stopped creating since. You can now find her stoneware dishes, vases, candleholders and planters at pop-up craft markets, in addition to brick-and-mortar shops such as Union Studio, Maypop Coffee & Garden Shop and Wildflowers.
Guided: What ceramics projects are you dreaming up at the moment?
Molly Svoboda: I am currently dreaming up crafts for my kids camps at Craft Alliance. As summer ramps up, my focus shifts a bit from making to teaching. I love the opportunity to play alongside my students, setting aside my career goals and simply touching and shaping clay because I want to.
I try to set aside time for myself to play throughout the year, too. For example, I recently took a hand-building class. Most things I made during the class were a one-off or got recycled, but it will be fun to see which of the forms and motifs sneak into my collections down the line.
Featured image courtesy of Theresa Joy Hitchcock.