Art & Artists
Masters of the Southwest
art & artists
craftswoman michelle kann
Craftswoman Michelle Kann
December, 2012, Page 26
Photos by Garrett Cook
One day in 2002, Michelle Kann packed up her life in North Carolina, fit it into 10 or so boxes, and headed west to Arizona for a “little adventure.” Ten years later, she’s still here. After obtaining her degree in design and fine arts from a women’s college back East, she was inspired to open her own interior design business in the Valley.
“I’ve always been artsy and into crafts,” she reflects. Whether she was making animals out of shells found on the beaches of her childhood home in Hawaii, or selling jewelry to classmates in high school, Kann notes that art just came naturally to her. Her current focus is on personalized and framed paper creations that commemorate events ranging from weddings to anniversaries or the birth of a child.
“My interior design business lent me an eye for color, balance and texture,” she says. “I started making these pieces and selling them on Etsy, and it just took off.” Kann closed her interior design business in 2010 to focus on her new endeavor, Celadon Home. After toying with a few ideas, she began making her current framed art, and says she sells, on average, 150 pieces a month. “All the guys at Home Depot know me because of my attempts to engineer the frames I use,” she jokes.
The above art is designed as a gift for the parents of a bride or groom. “This one is a generational piece,” Kann explains. The red hearts may include the newlyweds’ wedding date and initials, those of their parents, the mother’s parents and the father’s parents as well. The text hearts are printed with the lyrics to each couple’s first-dance song, with the name of each song represented in bold. They also can be printed with a provided “parent’s thank you poem.”
Her designs include displays of grouped hearts that can be customized with a couple’s wedding vows or first-dance lyrics, or even images and words from a vintage children’s book such as Peter Rabbit for display in a nursery. Kann hopes the framed sentiments “pull on [the client’s] heart strings.”
One of her most popular works is the “guest book alternative,” she says. Guests at a wedding sign individual paper cut-outs sent in the form of a kit, which Kann later assembles into a framed work. “This may be the first original art piece a young couple has,”
she suggests. “Hopefully, that inspires them to keep collecting art.”
Kann notes that much of her inspiration comes from her customers. Some of her products have even developed from their suggestions, she states.
Kann’s next goal? “I want to have a studio where local people can come in and be more collaborative in the design process. And maybe down the road a retail shop,” she muses. “I want to make it as personal as possible.”
From left: In one of Kann’s “guest book alternative” pieces, each paper butterfly is signed by a wedding guest and displayed in a frame. • This piece is made of 100 small folded hearts that are placed to create a textured look. They are printed with a choice of song lyrics, poem, wedding vows or a personal letter.
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