Quilling Artist Griffin Carrick Strolls and Scrolls

Griffin Carrick in a black tanktop and blue jeans, standing outside in front of green bushes, holding a large scale white paper quill design.
Quilling artist Griffin Carrick with one of her large scale quill designs

Griffin Carrick is a paper quilling artist born and raised in Illinois. She currently resides in Fayetteville, with her husband, who serves in the Army, and their three children. She studied architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and earned a master’s degree in interior design from the Savannah College of Art and Design, followed by 10 years working in the interior design industry. The demands of motherhood and military life led her to paper quilling as a creative outlet. Quilling is the folding, rolling and configuring of paper strips into decorative motifs. Unlike traditional quilling that attaches strips of paper to a backing, Griffin removes that substrate and relies on the structural potential of the quilled paper to create her wall hangings and quilled collages. Her practice is greatly influenced by textiles and experiments in the three-dimensional potential of paper quilling. 

Carrick’s current work: vintage denim with quilled paper from yearbooks.

3 Things making your life richer & why:

I have always gotten so much inspiration out of visiting antique and thrift stores. Fayetteville and Sanford both have a handful of shops I visit regularly. I particularly love Mid-Century Modern furniture and decor as well as vintage textiles and books.

I love seeing great art in person; the North Carolina Museum of Art is one of my favorites because it has a beautiful art park, which I find is a great spot to wear my kids out before I drag them through the galleries inside. They always put on beautiful special exhibitions and have a great combination of old masters artwork and contemporary artists on display.

Getting out on a walk (by myself) while listening to a good book or podcast is one of the easiest things I do to get inspired, and I’ve made an effort to prioritize it. In the past any free time I had automatically went to making stuff in my studio, and I’m trying to remind myself that this time away from the studio, moving my body, is also part of a strong art practice.

Local artist you admire: I enjoy the work of local artist Katie Crawford and was happy to see she recently wrote a children’s book. I love an excuse to expose my kids to art and it’s even more enriching for them when the person that made those beautiful pictures lives in their hometown.

What is one of your current artistic experiments? I recently started quilling with vintage college yearbook pages and combining it with bits of recycled denim blue jeans to make tapestries and wall hangings, I love the patina of the worn denim, the snippets of text and photos seen in the quilled yearbook pages, and the fact that these materials are recycled. It has been a goal of mine to use second hand materials in my practice and I feel like I have landed on materials that I find aesthetically and personally meaningful, so I am excited by all the possibilities of this combination!

How did your art practice change during the pandemic? During the pandemic I can’t say a lot changed since I make art here in my home, however the dedicated time I had to make art was limited, because my kids were doing online school. While they did their school work in my studio, which helped me squeeze in some art making, I mostly found myself retrieving snacks, distracting my toddler, and trying to keep them focused and motivated. I am definitely grateful to have some dedicated and undistracted time back in the studio these days!

Carrick’s home studio, including pup under desk

Where do you practice your art? Describe your work space. We have an extra room in our home that I use as an art studio, having this space means I pop in there and work throughout the day. I have a nice large table to make work with a large bulletin board where I pin up samples and inspiration and a pair of shelves that holds supplies, including my main materials, paper and glue, as well as stacks (and stacks) of old work.

How do you find your subject (next piece, idea, voice)? Having a background in interior design and architecture I came to my art practice with a pretty strong sense of my own design style and I think about art like an interior designer would, meaning I think art should enhance the space it inhabits. For me that means the artwork sparks conversation/consideration, adds texture and dimension to the wall it sits on and expresses the material(s) it is made of beautifully. So I started quilling paper wall hangings because they embodied the kind of art I wanted to see in a well designed room.

Advice to newer artists in your genre. Just start making stuff and don’t be afraid to experiment and follow ideas/inspiration. Even the bad ideas or pieces I have made taught me new skills, led to better ideas or helped me identify what it was I wanted to do with my art. If it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill then you have to make A LOT of art and it all won’t be pretty.

Graphic Designer Brittany Cobb Pumps Up Passion and Positivity

by Brittany Gazda Photography

I’m Brittany, a graphic designer and hand lettering artist living in Fayetteville, NC. I was born and raised in Florida and graduated with a BA in graphic design from University of Tampa. I’ve always loved crafting and art so when I got to college, graphic design seemed to be the best fit for me. Straight from college, I worked a couple graphic design positions that I hated and then in 2009, I began designing for a small business in Tampa that sold invitations and stationery. Around 2015, modern and more unique fonts became a huge trend for invitations, so I began teaching myself hand lettering. I was awful at it for a long time, but eventually developed a skill and love for it. I was with the company through multiple military moves (working remotely), until 2019.

I’m currently co-owner, with Karoll Echeverri, of Meraki Creative Agency: a small business downtown specializing in small- to large-scale balloon decorations for events, curated party supplies, event rentals, graphic design, murals, and art installs.

My husband is in the military and we’re both from Florida. After we married, our first duty station was Germany, then GA, and we now reside in NC. We have a seven year old daughter and two dogs.

Brittany with her traffic box wrap beside Huske Hardware on Hay St.

3 Things making your life richer & why:
Family has always been important to me and I’ve been lucky to have a very close-knit and supportive one! Before I was married, I was never more than a couple hours from my close and even extended family. Through the years, my husband and I have moved a lot with the military (to Germany even), but my family is home to me and I’m always doing what I can to be as close as possible to them.

Color & design. I love stopping to appreciate these things. I’ve always been the type to point out something I like. Whether I’m making a note of it in my head, snapping a picture, or calling someone’s attention to it, I feel that noticing and actually giving time to these things helps with creativity and overall well-being.

Positivity. I’ve always been a worrier and through the years, I’ve gone through highs and lows with anxiety. I’m definitely an optimist, but certain things will really set my anxiety off the charts. Because of this, I like to surround myself with positivity. No news unless it’s good news (hello, Good News Network), no Googling symptoms, and no toxic, pessimistic, gloom-and-doom-filled people surrounding me.

Local artist (any genre, Cumberland County preferred) you admire: My very good friend and business partner, Karoll! I’ve always admired her work around Fayetteville. She’s involved with so many organizations in Fayetteville and she has such a great outlook on life. She’s full of knowledge about so many different things and she has an amazing passion for color and things that fill people with joy. The “color alley” that she filled with hanging umbrellas in downtown Fayetteville in 2016 was what piqued my interest in her work. Eventually, I reached out to her and we worked together on a few smaller design projects. Then in 2020 we decided to really get serious and figure out a way to turn our passions into something new that would cater to both our skill sets.

Karroll and Brittany at Meraki Creative. photo by Brittany Gazda Photography

What is one of your current artistic experiments? I’ve been looking into laser printing a lot lately. Right now, it’s just a lot of researching, but I’m hoping to turn that into a reality within the next year. Another is balloons, of course! Meraki has had a really great year and we’re always looking for ways to go bigger. Everything we know about balloons, we’ve learned in the past year, so as the installs get bigger, we’re able to experiment with more techniques.

What changed about your practice in 2020? Will you keep this change? Really, it’s been a learning experience for everyone, especially small businesses, but it shows the means we’ll go through just to get by. Karoll and I rented the space for Meraki mid-pandemic, so we sort of just figured it out as we went and tackled any issues as if they were regular small business issues. For a while we (and everyone around us) stressed about people not being able to be together for anything, much less a party! But people love to celebrate and they love holidays, so even if the lockdown and/or restrictions continued, we were prepared to find ways to bring joy and celebration into their lives. Thankfully, that has waned for now and I think people are looking for that excitement after more than a year of pure stress.

Where do you practice your art? Describe your work space. I’m a serious introvert, so working remote from home has always been my preference. I have a home office that’s a literal mess of books, craft supplies, shipping supplies, printers and more. I can never find anything I need! When I’m not working from home, I’m in the Meraki shop, which usually tends to be a bit of a (happy) mess due to the two artistic personalities that run it.

Britt designed this “Support Your Local Artist” shirt which Devra always wears on Fridays.

How do you find your subject (next piece, idea, voice)? It’s a constant search to find ways to make others smile. If it’s joyful, colorful, or has a positive message, I want in.

Advice to newer artists in your genre: It’s so helpful to have a variety of creative skills nowadays. Don’t be afraid to try out all different types of artistic expression. From crafting to fine arts, any of it can be turned into a successful business if you’re passionate about it. 

Portraitist Melissa Greco on Music and Meditation

Melissa Greco is “a mom of 3 and wife of a soldier stationed here at Fort Bragg. I’m from California, but this is our second time here in North Carolina so it feels like home. I don’t recall a time in my life when I wasn’t enthralled by art and have been drawing my surroundings for as long as I can remember. I remember asking my parents for a kiln for Christmas when I was 10. Over the years I have experimented with every medium I could get my hands on. These days I typically favor watercolor or chalk pastels. Portraits are my favorite, because I love the challenge of bringing a person to life. My decision to sell my art was fairly recent after family and friends begging me to do so for years.” Venmo @Melissa-Greco-11

Favorite Local Third Place: I’m a homebody so I don’t get out very often, especially since the spread of covid-19, but I do love visiting Rude Awakening for some coffee whenever I am downtown.

3 Things you can’t live without: I cannot live without coffee, my pastel pencils, and music. I often put my headphones on and get lost in a painting for hours. My playlist ranges from punk rock to classical music, depending on what I am working on.

Local artist (any genre) you admire: Linda Draper of Apex is an amazing oil painter who specializes in pet portraits. As a dog lover myself, I enjoy seeing her capture the character of each pet.

A practice you’ve started during quarantine that you plan to continue: I have started taking some time to myself every day to meditate since quarantine and I look forward to it so much that I plan to continue for as long as I see a benefit.

“Veronica” by Melissa Greco

What is one of your current artistic experiments? I am currently working on a multimedia commission that consists of a monochrome abstract portrait incorporated into a movie poster. I am having a ton of fun with it.

Who is someone who encouraged or championed your art work? My sister and my husband have always been supportive and encouraging when it comes to my art.

What advice would you give to new/younger/less experienced artists in your genre? My advice is to get out there and make art. Don’t wait until you’re “good enough to be a professional.” There is no such thing. Don’t compare your art to the art of others. We are all constantly learning on our own journey.