Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Artists ~ Kit Salisbury ~ Providence

Artist’s name: Kit Salisbury
Business name: Off Soundings Design
Location: Providence, RI
Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/offsoundingsdesign
Website: www.offsoundingsdesign.com

1. Tell us about your work
Off Soundings Design offers one-of-a-kind hooked creations that combine the fine-hooking materials and techniques of previous generations with up-to-date versions of primitive and traditional designs to create distinctive and classic items for my clients' homes. My maternal grandmother and great-grandmother hooked beautiful rugs; I hook everything BUT rugs! I offer a number of finished hooked items and collections: pillows, table runners, draft stoppers, tea cozies, trivet surrounds, holiday mittens and stockings. Each design is drawn by hand, without templates, so each is unique. The color palettes vary from item to item as well. Like fingerprints, my designs can look similar but no two are ever identical.

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter?
I've always done fiber arts (cross-stitch, needlepoint, quilting, crochet) but settled into hooking when I inherited my grandmother's hooks and frames. The floors in my grandmother's home on Nantucket were covered with rugs she and her mother had hooked--from primitive maritime designs to complicated Victorian florals. I decided I'd give hooking a try and complete the last rug my grandmother started before her eyesight failed her in her 90s. I found that I really enjoyed the feel of the worn, wooden handle of the hook in my hand, the smoothness of the fine wool strips and the roughness of the burlap foundation cloth. I reveled in the creative possibilities of hooking, but I didn't need any more rugs! Then it hit me that I could create all KINDS of useful, decorative art using this traditional medium. I started creating designs for stockings and pillows for family and friends and went from there. I was encouraged to offer my work on-line and at arts fairs, and it's been great connecting with people around the world. I have pieces across the US, in the UK and Europe.

flying sheep pillow

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I love old, traditional primitive folk art images and take inspiration from my life here in New England: the autumn leaves, flocks of sheep, a drowsy pussycat, the Nantucket Rainbow Fleet. I even have a tea cozy that echoes the motto of Providence by asking "What Cheer?" I like to make useful items--a table runner, a pillow--that will give people a warm, happy feeling, and maybe even a jolt of nostalgia, when they see it in their homes.


What Cheer tea cozy


4. What’s your favorite item to make?
Of course it's always the project I'm working on at the moment! Right now I'm finishing up a draft stopper I was commissioned to make for a woman in London. She loved my "flying sheep" motif and asked if I could reprise that on a draft stopper. I'm especially fond of designing anything with animals on it. And, in terms of the finished products themselves, tea cozies are a particular favorite of mine because I always like to imagine that I'm helping people enjoy a nice, hot cuppa on a cool fall morning or a snowy afternoon.

Autumn Leaf Trivet Surround

5. What’s your best seller?
My pillows and tea cozies are popular items, especially for the custom work I do, but in terms of quantities of a finished item sold, I'd have to say that my winter holiday stockings are the best selling item I offer. They're relatively inexpensive and while I have lots of 'stock' images I use, people can get very creative in commissioning original work. One client commissioned me to spell out her family's last name, one letter per stocking, so she could hang them on their mantelpiece at Christmas.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I've lived in Rhode Island since 2001.

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
Rhode Island is a very special place, full of history, amazing natural beauty AND a thriving arts community. Museums, restaurants, live theatre, book talks, arts festivals--there's always something to do! I've found Rhode Island to be full of generous, neighborly people who have a wonderfully self-deprecating sense of humor. Life in Li'l Rhody is great!

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
I enjoy demonstrating, and talking about, traditional hooking (yes, I AM a happy hooker!) and am available to teach classes for groups of up to ten people.

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