Artists ~ Melanie Belhumeur ~ Mapleville

Artist’s name: Melanie Belhumeur
Shop name: The Rhode Home
Instagram: RhodyTravels

1. Tell us about your work
I do mostly Pyrography (wood burning). The majority of my pieces are custom pizza peels, cutting boards and serving trays. I can either make them with stain so they can be used purely for decoration or I can use wood oil so you can use them for food. I tend to do pieces inspired by nature and anything nautical.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your business?
I am a Rhode Island girl born and raised, Rhody is my home and I wanted something that would just give people that feeling that you get when you are going home. I have two sisters, one is in NYC and the other is in Boston. I know the excitement that my parents and I get when they are coming home to visit, but as someone who lived across the country for a few months I also know that feeling you get when you are on your way to your home town. The familiar faces and places that welcome you back no matter how long you have been gone. Anywho… I was at a craft show with my mom, who is a fellow crafter, it was a really rainy cold day and we were just playing around with ideas and the moment The Rhode Home popped into my head it just stuck, it made me feel warm and fuzzy.

3. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I think crafting is in my blood... My memere crafts, my mom makes crafts out of driftwood, we even have a craft night with all of my aunts where we get together and just work on our latest project together. I don't think I had a choice, when you have something inside of you that just always gives you the urge to create something beautiful, you have to honor that.

4. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I do mostly nature and nautical. I love the ocean, so I have many anchors, sand dollars, etc. We spend a lot of time camping also, so I try to look at items in nature and think of how it would translate to wood.

5. What’s your favorite item to create?
I love doing custom orders. I recently did a custom order piece for a musician in NYC, the buyer wanted a pizza peel of his favorite guitar, so I went on his Instagram and found a few pictures for reference. It ended up being lovely and he really enjoyed it. I like to create items that will be personal for someone.

6. What’s your best seller?
Without a doubt my most popular piece is my "love tree", it was the first design I ever did on a serving tray. It is very popular for weddings and bridal showers. It is a simple tree and in the middle of the trunk there is a heart and I put the first initial of the bride's new last name. I have done little additions such as birds in the tree, a birdcage, initials of the couple instead of the last name.

7. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
Born and raised. I left for a few months to explore the west coast, but this is where I am supposed to be.

8. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
I love the sense of community. I like being able to go into Cumbys in the morning for a coffee and small talking with everyone there doing the same thing. I love meeting someone and realizing you know their sister/cousin/mother. I find comfort knowing that if I needed help, my neighbors would lend a hand and they know that they can count on me for the same.

9. Any advice for new/wannabe makers?
Just do whatever makes your soul feel right. If you start working on something and it doesn't make you happy, dont do it. I went through quite a few different crafts before I found the one that was right for me.

10. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
Shop local! Support all your local businesses and farms!


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