Category Archives: Our Designs

Featured Artist: Emily Little

Emily Little of Little E Studio is a self-taught mixed media artist based in Nashville, Tennessee. Emily uses layer upon layer of color and texture to create works of intentional joy.

Needing a new creative outlet after leaving her day job and closing her antique booth, Emily took a weekend abstract art class with friends. The class helped Emily overcome her inhibitions because it emphasized expression over perfection. Armed with the knowledge that there are no mistakes, only layers, Emily began painting every day.

Other than weekend class, Emily is primarily self-taught. Her style developed as she experimented with different mediums and applications until she found her niche with acrylic paints and the palette knife. Her fresh palette and unique style have been featured on home decor, gift, and seasonal lines with Creative Co-Op. This successful collaboration has allowed Emily’s bright and happy artwork to grace homes all over the world.

 How long have you worked with Creative Co-Op?

My first collection came out in 2012. It was all bright and colorful and whimsical. I remember the first product photo I ever got was of a small chest with my birdcage painting on the drawers. My jaw dropped. I was very green. I had no idea what licensing was really about at first, so seeing all the creative applications of my images on wood, metal, ceramic, and fabric just blew my mind. I suddenly realized that behind every rooster on a dish towel is a hard working artist sweating it out in a studio somewhere. I’m just so happy to be one of them!

What are your favorite Creative Co-Op products that you have been involved with?

The large decorative floral papers are definitely my favorite product ever. My original work tends to be very layered and textured, and the tactile nature of these papers captures that aspect of my work. Also, they are ginormous and I love the idea of someone having a huge statement piece of art at an affordable price. The prayer box from my first release, the oversized ornaments from the current Christmas collection, and anything they’ve done on metal is also a favorite. It’s too hard to decide!

I always feel like Tamra and the product development team at Creative are magicians. They just know how to match the right image to the right product in a way that respects the artist and considers the market. It’s so fascinating and fun to watch the process develop from image to showroom.

Who inspires you?

I am constantly inspired by the other local artists in my community. When you roam the aisles or sit across from talented people all weekend at an art show, you learn so much. And they are so generous with their advice and encouragement. It inspires me to grow and stretch when surrounded by people who excel at what they do in their chosen mediums.

What medium do you work in?

My work is mixed media. I typically use texture mediums, paper, fabric and acrylic paint applied with a palette knife although I’ve been exploring brush and pen work lately.

Do you have any other creative outlets?

Right now, renovating and decorating my house is my other creative outlet. Our former home burned several years ago and it took a couple of years to rebuild, sell, and then move again. We finally feel settled and ready to make this house our home. I’ve been having a blast infusing our home with the same unabashed mix of color, texture and pattern found in my artwork.

 What is your favorite meal?

Fair food. If you sell something in a kiosk, food truck or concession stand, I will buy it and eat it. Things I would never eat normally; I will eat if you sell it out of a truck. It makes no sense.

How does the place that you live/work inspire your creative pursuits?

My studio is in my home on 2.5 wooded acres that back up to a horse farm. When I throw open my studio doors, I see huge evergreen trees with gnarled limbs, rusty wire fences, golden hay bales, blue skies, stacked wood, glossy manes. These varied textures and saturated colors are integral to my work. The studio is definitely the heart of our home. During the day, I am a one-woman show, but once school and work are done, everyone ends up in the studio. We intentionally created a bright and colorful multifunctional space where everyone feels comfortable, including the dog who has claimed the bottom shelf of my paint table as his bed. The peaceful, natural beauty outside my studio and the messy, joy-filled togetherness inside cannot help but infuse my artwork with its signature happiness.

 

Check out all of the products featuring Emily’s art here!

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The Power of Pretty – Embellish 2017 | Volume 2

a letter from Tamra Bryant, Senior Vice President of Product and Merchandising  Tamra in Harper tunic

I’m personally thrilled to finally show you all of the new items Creative Co-Op is introducing in our latest Embellish catalog. A home is happiest when it is an extension of who lives inside, and we feel the same about the new Embellish clothing pieces. We want these to be an extension of each and every customer’s personality. Simply put, we want the customer to feel pretty! The power behind a woman that feels pretty in what she wears is undeniable! I’ve learned through the years that pretty doesn’t mean fancy. Embellish is about enhancing the individual characteristics and personalities within. We want you to be able to truly live in what you are wearing and feel special too.

Our items are made from all natural fibers that are woven and hand-dyed specifically for our clothes. We’ve paid attention to details like arm length, buttons, contrasting stitches, pleating on the sides to make the dress hang just right, and slits that are not too high but just high enough. And did I mention pockets? Wherever possible we added pockets! The pieces we’ve chosen for this release are amazing, everyday basics with unique twists. Many are inspired by my own struggle to find what I felt comfortable living an active, casual life in.

We truly have taken a personal approach to this new launch and thought long and hard about “the power of pretty.” As often is the case with these journeys, this led me to feel profound gratitude for the privileges that we have each day. We felt it was important to spread that power as best we could as a company. Therefore, a part of the proceeds of all sales from the Embellish clothing items will be donated to charity to help educate and empower women.

We hope you find our expanded clothing line as exciting as we do. We wish you so much success and deeply thank you for your business.

—  Tamra

Lily dress     dresses on hangers     Brooklyn dress

 

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Recipe File: Height of Summer BLTs with Roasted Poblano Aioli

The best parties always leave the host time to mingle with their guests and RELAX. If you’re the host, all the more reason to try to stick to that rule!

set the table for your Summer Party

For your next summer shindig, come up with a menu that lets your guests build their own dinner. Setting up stations where your friends and family can tailor their meal to their tastes is key. Pretty glasses and lemonade with some sliced strawberries and a few spirits mean the grownups can make a cocktail that’s theirs alone. Kids (let’s be honest, not only the kids) will love scooping their own ice cream for dessert, adding some sprinkles and syrups on top.

But the star of your meal – especially if you have at the ready these summery plates– will be the BLTs. Not just any BLTs, mind you. These have an added oomph that will bring smiles all around. This easy to make Roasted Poblano Aioli might just make the best BLT you’ve ever had.

BLT prep

It all takes just a little prep work, nothing too arduous. It is summer, after all. Roast the poblanos, cook the bacon, slice and toast the bread. Slice up those delicious tomatoes – sort of medium thickness – and wash the lettuce. You’re practically done! The aioli comes together quickly in a food processor.

After the party, if there’s any left, the poblano aioli can be served alongside grilled pork chops, stirred into corn and tortilla soup, dolloped over your morning sunny-side up eggs. IF there’s any left.

Happy summer!

Roasted Poblano BLT

Height of Summer BLTs with Roasted Poblano Aioli

Good crusty bread
Best tomatoes you can find, either heirloom or even better, home-grown
Bibb or romaine lettuce
Thick cut bacon
Salt and pepper

for the aioli:
2 egg yolks
1 clove garlic
¼ bunch parsley
1 TB lime juice
3 poblano peppers, roasted on the grill or under the broiler, then peeled, seeded, and chopped
Salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine and purée the egg yolks, garlic, and parsley in a food processor. Add the lime juice, roasted poblanos, and salt to taste. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, gradually adding more until it’s the consistency of mayonnaise. Check and adjust seasoning.

 

 

 

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Notes From The Road / Asia Summer 2016

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As soon as the weather is as hot and humid as possible, our product development team jumps on a plane and heads to Asia! While the weather isn’t ideal, we have such an amazing time meeting with vendors and seeing the sights that we don’t mind. We work with a huge variety of manufacturers all over the world to be able to bring you all a high quality and broad reaching product line every season. Many manufacturers use traditional artisan techniques and often their companies are a small family affair. One example of a unique product and a strong relationship with its manufacturer is our Corrugated Metal and Wood Decorative Awning. We were able to document part of the production of this item below. Just wait until you see the end product!
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This photo was taken in Fujian province, China. We love seeing such beautiful diverse landscapes as we travel throughout Asia.

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This manufacturer has lots on interesting projects in the works. They specialize in larger wood items that are inspired by French antiques.

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This is the frame of the awning being built. After the frame is built, many steps go into making the final product including adding many layers of wood, metal, and paint to add patina.

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So many beautiful future awnings!

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Viola! This is the final product. This awning is 8 feet long. The customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive so far. Imagine it as a statement fixture above a table of merchandise.

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Here is the awning in our Atlanta showroom during the summer market. We think it looks just lovely with the rest of the Botanist collection.

See full product details

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Behind the Scenes / Curated Gatherings

Curated Gatherings was full of firsts. It was our first mid-season release and also our first time hosting a full photo shoot in Portland, Oregon where our product design office is located (not to mention our first time eating Blue Star Donuts… SWOON!). We wanted Curated Gatherings to show new and favorite products together in a light. Unlike our previous releases, the majority of the Curated Gatherings catalog is dedicated to beautiful inspiring images of the collection, rather than strictly product photography. We wanted to show our vision of how these items could be used in the home, and for hosting unique gatherings. In the process, we had a great time styling scenes and photographing in a warehouse space in the inner southeast industrial district of Portland. The space and the light were wonderful and these ladies put in a lot of hours and heavy lifting to make  Curated Gatherings (arguably) our most beautiful catalog yet. See the full catalog here!

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Daffodils for spring.

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Mini Baker Mac and Cheese Recipe

What could possibly be better than gooey, rich, baked mac and cheese? How about mac and cheese in your own special dish? Food just tastes better when it is served in one of our stoneware mini-bakers!

This extra cheesy, undeniably yummy, macaroni and cheese recipe is a perfect late winter meal! I make this recipe often at my house and it is always a big hit. Calories? Well, I didn’t call it low-fat mac and cheese. I don’t eat it every night, but darn it’s good! Leftovers keep well inside the mini bakers. Just place paper or plastic wrap over the baker and then put the lid on top of that. Feel free to make this recipe your own by adding ham, lobster, broccoli, or anything else you love in your mac.

Enjoy!
-Tamra

Mac and Cheese recipe in mini bakers

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The iPad 3 Winner from the Dallas Trade Mart!

Creative Co-Op congratulates Erica of Erica’s Eclectic Mix in Englewood, CO on winning an iPad 3 from the Creative Co-Op showroom at the Dallas Trade Mart!

Erica with her brand new iPad 3!

“Up to my eyeballs in boxes, but my new iPad helps me through! Thanks Creative Co-Op for such a great prize, I look forward to opening all my new goodies and carrying your wonderful gift line,” says Erica. “I am doing a ‘Bluebird of Happiness’ theme going into the holidays, my new iPad really makes me HAPPY! So I’m off to a great start!”

Creative Co-Op is happy for you too, Erica!!

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Smart Retailer Magazine Admires the Creativity of Our Showroom Designers!

Check out what Smart Retailer magazine had to say about our showroom in Atlanta here.

A Christmas Tree shaped display from Atlanta

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Recap from Atlanta in the words of Caroline Simas!

Creative Co-Op was fortunate to have one of our newest licensed artists, Caroline Simas, present in our Atlanta Showroom to help promote our new collection – Multiple Blessings.

The Multiple Blessings collection reflects sentiments of faith and uplifting messages to live by, yet comes in a mix of patterns and colors in a way that is bright and right in so many settings.

Don’t just take our word for it, read Caroline’s recap here!

Caroline Simas with Robert Wang at the July 2012 Atlanta Gift Show

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New Spring Line at WILLIAMSBURG Craft House

WILLIAMSBURG Craft House has updated its look for spring. Thanks to a new partnership with Creative Co-Op, the store has a beautiful collection called “A Garden Story.” Store Manager Joanna Heitz and WILLIAMSBURG Product Manager Liza Gusler share the inspiration behind this new line and invite you to come see the spring assortment. Click below to see the exciting YouTube video.

The Garden Story Collection

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