Just be you

I’m infatuated with America’s Got Talent. I watch it every summer. It’s my go-to show during the slow season. Not only do the performer’s talent draw me in, but their stories even more so. I’m fascinated by what they’ve been through. I’m drawn in by their circumstances, as well as their talent. Who knew such normal, everyday people could be so inspiring. And I think, what if they didn’t take the chance to take the leap and try out for the show? What if they didn’t show their talent to the world?  We would have missed out. And they would have missed out too. 

I think about such things as I create my art. Why am I doing what I’m doing? It isn’t the deep desire to chase after fame – or become an Influencer to the world. It isn’t to showcase myself. Basically it boils down to just being me. 

I’ve spent a lot of time this past year immersed in information about finding my strengths and talents. I had a vague idea about my strengths, but I really wanted to dig down and find out what was at my core being. Along the way, I sometimes sought out the information and sometimes it came to me. For instance, a volunteer coordinator handed me the book Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath. It identifies one’s leadership skills. It includes a test and helps identify 5 top skills for each participant. I always knew I was a people person, but the book identified me as a Woo – one that loves to meet new people. So after the evaluation results came in, my volunteer coordinator put me at the entrance of the event to meet and greet the guests as they arrived and to help put them at ease and get the event off to the right start. In turn, she used each volunteer’s strengths to make the event the best possible. 

Throughout the year, I dug further and borrowed books from the local library and downloaded more for my Kindle. In the matter of months, I gleaned additional information and had some ah-ha moments of discovery along the way. I took quizzes online and I encouraged friends to do the same. I met Bijoy Goswami at my art show and read his book, The Human Fabric and learned that I was a Relator – which could also be called the Connector – the one who relates well with others and brings them together. 

My research was also amplified through my church when during a sermon, we were invited to list out what we could do to serve the world around us – and I simply wrote “use my gifts and talents.” 

Those words have now become my motto. It’s how I live my life. I strive to use my gifts and talents – what I was created to be – for the benefit of those around me. This inner desire, to use my gifts, has become so intense, it has started to feel more like a calling than a invitation. 

I’m so glad this life of creativity has found me. I’m so thankful that I get to spend my time connecting people with talented creatives and helping those in need during a time of crisis. I feel it benefits us all. The artists are given the gift of sustainability to continue to do what they were gifted to do. Interior Designers obtain the benefit of finding the perfect piece of art for their client. And our neighbors enduring breast cancer treatment get a little extra help during their time of need.

Through this cycle of connecting people, my hope is to inspire others to do the same. My hope is for others to live a life of simply using their gifts and talents to serve the needs of those around them. Just by being whom you were designed to be.

Thank you!

What began in 2017 as a way to give back to the community through coastal home decor and gifts, has now emerged into fulfilling the needs of Designers and Retailers across the Gulf Coast. 

Many thanks to all I’ve met that have made this dream come true! I couldn’t have done it without you and I couldn’t have done it without helping you with your custom design projects. I feel so grateful that I get to participate in making your projects a success. While at the same time contributing to helping local artists remain sustainable. I can’t imagine a better way to live than living this purpose filled life I’ve been blessed with.

In Gratitude

So I’m out meeting with clients and showing samples when all of sudden a new client responds “I’ve seen your work @...” “I recognize your style.” I don’t think I’ll get tired of hearing that compliment! 
Thanks!

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Filling the Gap for Designers

When starting this business as a coastal home decor site, I never imagined it would be so much more. Isn’t it funny, the path we make isn’t always the path we take?!

Life has it’s own way of morphing and changing. Seems my business is following suit! Allow me to share this story: Through my many meetings with retailers and professional interior designers, I’ve discovered there is a problem out there. A need, you can say. Actually two - but I’ll get to that in a minute.

So the need I’ve discovered stems from my experiences in procuring art and accessories for an ASID Designer. We contracted to stage new construction model homes and set the color scheme and then off to the races we went meeting deadlines and budgets while obtaining the needed decor. Sounds fun, right!? Yet consistently, I would have challenges finding the art. I’d visit local, high end stores, and turn away empty handed because the theme color wasn’t the current trending color of the season. I’d scour the internet for hours and hours searching for high quality art without avail. I’d visit local galleries and gift shops, but find the sizes were too small for the space I needed to fill. Size and color and budget specifications were limiting my ability to finish the design commitment and causing me untold frustration in getting the job done.

Then fast forward to now. I’ve been so fortunate to cross paths with some unbelievably talented artists. From all different backgrounds and interests and experiences. Some contemporary, some not. Interestingly enough - all of them share a nature-inspired theme in their work - and all of them share the desire of sustainability. The desire to live out their truest, deepest calling to live the life of a creative. To share their work with others. To contribute to the beauty of the world. 

So by pairing the two, I’ve met two needs in one. At the same time I get to help resolve an issue and fill the gap of need and to do it beautifully. I’m honored I get to be the connector. I feel privileged that I get to share the talents of others with many. And I feel humbled that I get to do it as a “job.” It’s the most fulfilling position I’ve ever had. And I feel blessed I get to share it with you.

So get ready to see some NEW exciting COASTAL DESIGNS coming your way! I’ll post pictures of sample projects as soon as they are available. And email me, if you want them sent directly to you. I can be reached at FriendsCallMeKitt@gmail.com. 

All my best, Kitt

Week Two of West Austin Studio Tour

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Anticipating an exciting week two of the West Austin Studio Tour. Don’t miss visiting stop #185 at Antone’s House of Blues in downtown Austin - 15 artists in one stop - including Dave McClinton voted the top 5 MUST SEE on the tour!! 11-6 on Saturday and Sunday May 19th & 20th!

Coming soon to ArtQuest - Florida

3 NEW Kittridge Laine designs will be available at ArtQuest at the Grand Boulevard in Miramar Beach May 12th & 13th. Come by the members tent to check availability! So proud to be a selected exhibitor in the Cultural Arts Alliance member’s exhibit.

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The 30th annual ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival will fill Grand Boulevard’s Town Center with over 150 exhibiting artists over Mother’s Day weekend. Produced by the CAA and presented by Grand Boulevard, ArtsQuest includes a CAA Member Exhibition, live art demonstrations, continuous live music and performances, delicious food and beverage options, ImagiNation: where kids rule, and an exhibition of the Underwater Museum of Art sculptures. ArtsQuest is open to the public Saturday, May 12, 10am – 7pm and Sunday, May 13, 10 am –  5pm. A $5 donation per person is requested at the gate. A list of artists, the entertainment schedule and other details can be found online at ArtWeekSouthWalton.com.

Available @ The Studio Gallery

Now available at The Studio Gallery in Santa Rosa Beach, FL @ The Shops at Grayton Beach. Stop by soon! Open Monday-Saturday. 26D Logan Lane Grayton Beach, FL 32459

#CreateToGive

Kittridge Laine & Company was founded as a passion with a purpose. Creating nature-inspired pieces for the benefit of others.

Through witnessing a series of friends facing breast cancer treatment, I realized there was a need to find ways to pay for unexpected medical expenses. Not only were my friends experiencing the additional stress of facing a health crisis, but some were also facing the challenge of how to make the budget balance at the end of each month.

So I began to search for a way to help those in need. Eventually, I was led to blend my love for acrylics and texture and started creating pieces inspired by my visits to the beach and hikes among the greenbelts of Austin. I’ve always found nature restorative and a natural stress reliever, so I decided to create from that perspective. And hence, a company called Kittridge Laine was born.

Each art piece is hand designed, with 90% of the materials made in America. As well as a percentage of every sale is contributed to local charities.

May those who take home my nature-inspired creations feel the tranquility and peace instilled into each design. As well as the satisfaction in knowing you’ve made a difference to a neighbor in need.

#createtogive #peaceofnature #friendscallmekitt #kittridgelaine

Symbol of Strength

I’m currently designing a salt cellar for the coastal kitchen. The design incorporates oyster shells from the Gulf of Mexico and enhances the cook’s kitchen décor. So as I’m handcrafting these precious home décor items, my mind ruminates about the oyster and its shell. Allow me to share a few thoughts I’ve had about the oyster.

Through this process of design, the oyster shells have undergone several treatments to prepare them for use in the home. I have to say, I haven’t had to be gentle with these shells. Typically I work with Sea Urchin and other shells, which are so fragile I have to treat them gently and lightly. So in contrast, the oyster shells are a relief to work with on this project. They are so tough and can take a tumble or two.

   Farmers Market, Paris France 2017, Photo by Kittridge Laine

 Farmers Market, Paris France 2017, Photo by Kittridge Laine

Are we like that? I know we all take a tumble or two, but are we tough? Do we have a hard, protective layer surrounding our soft, inner selves? I think to some point I do have resilience and a tough mental attitude that leads me to persevere in challenging circumstances. Yet I can’t imagine that strength comes from me alone. I believe my faith plays a leading role to making it through life’s tumbles.

Also I know I can’t do this life thing alone. I’m not isolated – even the oysters adhere together.  They adhere to undersides of boats or to buoys or to docks in great numbers. Naturally they are found clustered together. Even some of the shells I’m working with have pieces of other shells attached. A confirmation of not living life solo, but in community.

As I work with the oysters, I’m mesmerized not only by the strength of the outer shell but the shimmering beauty of the inner shell. I turn them in my hand and watch the mother of pearl coating shimmer in the light. I also love the touch of violet hue in the shape of a circle. This beauty captures my attention.  Also I see a resemblance of that aspect in people I meet. Friends and acquaintances that have been through a really hard time, yet are so beautiful from the inside out, they too garner my attention.

Speaking of beauty, I recently found a pearl inside one of the shells. Not a perfectly round and loose one, but instead it was attached and buried in the layers of the interior of the shell. It was partially formed and laying just below the surface. Which leads me to think of the irritant which entered the shell and how it was met with resistance and its natural defenses set into play to encapsulate the foreign substance and keep the oyster safe. The essence of how a beautiful pearl is formed from an unexpected encounter. Which makes me look at pearls differently now. I now see pearls as symbols of overcoming. Symbols of strength. Symbols of faith that we can overcome unexpected challenges. We are resilient.

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(For my science loving friends, here is a great article about the adhesive substance that assists the oysters in sticking together in wet environments. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100920142602.htm)