Inspired by art and poetic living, Sonja Smith and her four daughters — Sara Ball, Jackie Housh, Sally Cook and Sammie Clark — put their dreams and creativity together to run a studio/gallery at 35 E. Mulberry St. in historic downtown Lebanon. BluClover celebrated the shop’s one-year anniversary in November.
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“At the shop, we have everyone’s art displayed. Each of us have a different take on things, a different aesthetic, and various mediums that we use, so you get quite a variety. We’re not afraid of color. So, for us, here at the shop, we are hoping to encourage people to step out-of-the-box as far as the kind of art they put in their house,” said Smith.
BluClover is not only a place to create art in a studio environment, it’s a place that is welcoming to our friends and neighbors. So, whether you are looking for art to display in your own home, or attending a special event at the BluClover, there’s always something for guests to enjoy.
We spoke with Smith to find out more about what's happening at BluClover. For hours and more information, visit www.bluclovershop.com or check out BluClover on Facebook (BluClover Poetic Living) and Instagram (BluClover Shop).
Q: Tell us about BluClover and what’s been happening at the shop?
A: We are making some changes in the new year. (We're getting back to the basics of a studio environment.) We feel like after a year of having the shop, we have experienced one year in Lebanon. We celebrated our anniversary on November 19. Our hours are going to be more flexible, geared around our studio hours and when we're having special events. We are going to be functioning more as a studio. The reason we started the shop is because we wanted to have a place we could create together. We have done so many commissioned jobs, personally as individuals, we decided we wanted to come together and have a place where all our art could be seen. Our clients who work with us on commissioned pieces can come and get ideas and be inspired. Others, can buy something straight off the wall. So, after a year, we want to focus on being a studio/gallery and doing home design, (instead of offering boutique items like clothing.) As far as our hours, we will update everyone on the website and social media. Guests can also join us on Facebook and Instagram, and find out about the latest news and updates at the shop.
In the studio setting, we’ll have pieces that are in the works, so when people come in, they will see the progression of the different art pieces. We will also be having some events. People like the space, because the surroundings are beautiful. So, it’s a nice place to have an event. We’ll be doing design work for our clients, custom pieces and interior design work, incorporating our art, whether it’s a wall hanging or whether the art is in a home accessory that we have. Our doors will be open when we are in the studio, so feel free to stop in, or call for an appointment.
Q: Talk about the potential impact of the art?
A: Often, when guests come in, they are so refreshed. It's like, 'Oh, wow.' They love the feeling of the art. Sometimes, the color makes people nervous, because we live in such a neutral kind of decorating world now. We feel like our art (adds) a great pop, to enhance that neutralness that everyone has in their homes. Neutral is great to start with a foundation, but (we want) people to have focal points and pieces of art that have some kind of impact in your home, and it's what makes you smile when you walk down your steps and see a piece of art that no one else has, and it's something that you really relate to.
We have original pieces on canvas that we offer. Some of them are abstracts Others are large florals, or oceans. We also have some digital art that is printed on silk fabric. We have cotton canvases that are a mix of hand-drawing and graphic design. We also have some unique pieces that are painted on peg-board, and they are a mix of paint and embroidery/cross stitch. We have some art or wall hangings with quotes mixed with subject matter. That’s a sampling of what we offer.
Q: Can you touch on your background as an artist?
A: I'm a self-taught artist. I sat with my Mom, she was very artistic and creative in all kinds of different ways, and she would take some craft items and put them out on the table, and she would say, 'Today, we're going to make a card. We are going to use these fabric trimmings and make a card for your Dad.' So, we were always being challenged to work with the materials that were there in front of us. I learned a lot from her. As an adult, I delved into different mediums, maybe things that I wasn't introduced to as a young girl. Doing that, I ended up painting for restaurants and things like that, and my girls would be there at my feet while I was painting a mural, so it got in their blood, and they all have their own take on it.
Q: What do you enjoy about being in the studio? How do you and your daughters complement one another?
A: We enjoy spending time with our clients and seeing the expressions on their faces, or having a conversation with them when they walk through the shop. They stop in their tracks. I think BluClover stands out, aesthetically, and it's different from other shops or galleries. I think people are taken back when they first walk in. They walk around quietly, almost like they are in a museum, and then they start asking questions, and want to know all about the artist, and usually it's the artist they are most drawn to. That is fun, because we fill in the gaps and provide something for everybody. When we are working on projects together, we can finish each other's sentences. We are very in sync, and we have a super-tight relationship with each other. And, that is why we are here. We have a longing to create something together…It's such an amazing feeling to see our art come together to see how beautifully it all works together. You could put my art and Sara's art in the same room, and it would be beautiful together. We don't have to have everything looking the same, and that's the kind of thing we want to get across to people. If you like something, and it brings you joy, then that's the kind of art you want to have in your home. You don't want to have something just because it matches your couch. You want to have something that makes you smile, or brings you happiness, or perks you up, or that reminds you of your vacation.
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