Interviews & Tours

Studio Tour: White Whale Studios and Gallery

Greenville, Interviews & Tours, ToursElizabeth Ramos

Today we're taking you on a tour of one of Greenville's most unique artist co-op spaces, White Whale Studios and Gallery. Caroline George Lott is the owner of White Whale, a large house-turned-studios located about a mile from The Pendleton Street Art District. We asked her to share the story behind White Whale with our readers.


Indie Craft: When was White Whale founded, and was it always a dream of yours?

Caroline: Our Grand opening was October 2nd, 2009. Being an active part of the local artistic community was always a dream of mine. Owning and operating a studio was something that became a reality when we purchased a historical house in the Monaghan Mill community. We did not want to "ruin" the house by turning it into a multi-family house or just rent it out. We wanted to to have it live on as a place to serve the community.


One of the White Whale artists hard at work in his studio.

Indie Craft: We love that you turned a house into a group of artist studios. How many artists call White Whale home right now?Caroline: We currently have 7 fabulous artists. Most of the artists are full-time professional artists.


Common gallery spaces are located throughout the house.

Indie Craft: This big white house is such a beautiful and inspiring place. Do you know much of its history?Caroline: Yes, it was built circa 1890, even before the textile mill that is right down the street. It started out as a teacher's boarding house, and has been used in many different ways since. Anything from a boxing training facility to a bed and breakfast.


Indie Craft: What is the significance of the White Whale name?Caroline: The studio's name harkens back to Melville's infamous tale of a determined white whale (Moby Dick) outwitting the relentless Captain Ahab, just as the artists, within the walls of this old white house, battle the odds to pursue their work and life's calling.


You can visit White Whale Studios and Gallery during Greenville Open Studios.

The good news is that White Whale does have an available studio at the moment! If you're an artist in need of working space, you can email your portfolio to or visit the White Whale site to learn more about their mission in Greenville.


Available studio: 12 ft ceilings and plenty of natural light.

Also, be sure to follow White Whale on Facebook to keep up with their resident artists and find out about upcoming art shows.

Meet the Jury: Michelle Radford

Interviews & ToursElizabeth Ramos

Michelle somehow manages to be an art professor, a serious artist/crafter, and full-time wife and mom (soon to be of three). Through all of this she still creates fresh, new works that have a flavor uniquely hers. And her fiber goods, such as her reworked fabric jewelry and pillows, are stunning. If jurors were allowed to have booths at Indie Craft Parade in September, she'd sell out quickly.  

Indie Craft Parade: In your art as well as crafts, you have a tendency to turn trash in to treasures. What's the oddest thing you've incorporated into one of your pieces?

Michelle: I don't know if these would seem particularly odd to people who practice mixed media: a little dutch boy had to give up his head to a brooch, and a little angel had to lose her wings...all for a good cause. I've stitched bones into a piece. The finished products look must less sinister than they sound. My work is anything but Halloween-ish, however.

Indie Craft Parade: The gap between art and craft is continually growing smaller. Is this a trend that you embrace in your own work, or do you think of your fine art work as a separate endeavor from your crafts?

Michelle: My paintings tend to look very different from my "crafts". I could see them merging more eventually, though. I don't think it is very useful or interesting to try to keep the arts and crafts apart if they want to intersect or blend. The most rewarding handmade objects to me--whether "arts" or "crafts"--are thought provoking, meaningful, well-executed, and have a little bit of wow-factor.


Indie Craft Parade: Who is an artist that you currently find inspiring?

Michelle: As far as no-longer-living artists, I always really enjoy looking at the work of Rothko and Rauschenberg. I really like the way they used paint, and how their work makes you think of space, format, and materials. As far as living artists who make objects for everyday use, I'm always really captivated by the things the artists at ShopSCAD make. It's really fresh and fun.

Meet the Jury: Teresa Roche

Interviews & ToursElizabeth Ramos

Teresa Roche's Art and Light gallery is often at the center of attention for Greenville's artist community events. Besides the numerous tasks that come with running a chic art boutique that boasts some of the best finds in town, Teresa manages to produce her own work. She's best known for her whimsical mixed media pieces. Next chance you get, visit her gallery in the Pendleton Arts District. You won't be disappointed.

Indie Craft Parade: You love using found objects as a basis for some of your art. What is one of your favorite finds yet?

Teresa: I love using vintage fabrics and wallpapers in my mix media pieces.  My favorite is a café curtain made from a fabulous 1950's bark cloth. The vivid chartreuse color is my all time favorite color, and it was a total fluke that I found it in a thrift store in New York.

Teresa Folk Tribute 009

Indie Craft Parade: Your gallery is in the heart of the Greenville art district. What kind of growth and development would you like to see in Greenville's art future?

Teresa: I would love to see the Pendleton Street Art's District grow with the addition of a great artsy café and other service businesses that would be open for daily retail hours. That way when customers come to the district they can grab lunch and run other errands within the area. The art, artists, talent and quality is already there. I think that it's so important for small business owners to come together with a concentrated marketing plan and a commitment to spend the marketing dollars and commit to the sweaty equity involved in trail blazing in order to have long term consistent growth.

Indie Craft Parade: As an artist and savvy businesswoman, do you have any suggestions for start-up artists or crafters?

Teresa: Yes, the importance of a business plan.  It doesn't matter how small or how big you start - without a business plan you can find yourself floundering.  Artists and crafters also need to be very thick skinned, willing to put the work out there and to get professional assistance in the areas they have weaknesses (i.e., marketing, accounting, merchandising, sales). It takes all of these things to run a business. And you have to remember that being a successful artist or crafter is a business.

Interview with our Jury: Barb Blair

Interviews & ToursElizabeth Ramos

Today's jury interview is with Barb Blair, a lady who can do marvels with cast-off furniture. She's made quite a name for herself in both the home design community and the blogisphere, with features in many publications. Her design aesthetic is fabulous, and I'd love to fill my house with all sorts of goodies from her shop. You can visit her studio in the Pendleton Arts District of Greenville or follow her blog, to keep up with all her projects and fun finds.  

Indie Craft Parade: You're contributing to a book coming out! That's super exciting. What can readers expect to see?

Barb: The book is called Design*Sponge at Home, it comes out September 13th. It is basically a large book featuring a lot of the content that makes up the website, and it shows readers how to incorporate the ideas into their homes. There will be lots of people featured in the book, and I will be in the before and after section. My projects will be featured as tutorials on how to transform furniture.

Indie Craft Parade: You exhibited at Indie Craft Parade last year and had such a cute booth. Do you have any advice for this year's vendors for setting up a creative display?

Barb: As far as a creative booth display. I think you should keep your booth consistent with your brand. Incorporate elements that tell your personal brand story without having to say a word. I think another really important thing is to have plenty of product. A full booth sells, and giving people lots of options is key to attracting a variety of buyers.

Indie Craft Parade: What is a quick summary of your creative process for restoring furniture? Do you have usually have a vision for a piece as soon as you see it?

Barb: When I pick up a piece of furniture I am always looking for interesting details that will stand out when painted. Or I look for furniture that I can add interesting detail to, such as wallpaper, stripes, and/or shiny new hardware. I check to make sure the piece is structurally sound and that all repairs (if necessary) are within my means to repair or can be repaired by a professional without taking too much off my bottom line. Once all of the repairs are made and the piece has been sanded and prepped for paint, I get to work executing my design plan. Speaking of design plans, I usually know right away what I will do to a piece when I see it, but there is the occasional piece that sits and stares at me in the studio for a few months before the plan hits me.


Indie Craft Parade: What new and exciting things can we expect to see from your studio in the near future?

Barb: One other cool thing is that I have just designed and had built my first piece of furniture! It will be the start to my new Knack couture line which will consist mainly of wallpapered and highly design intensive pieces. Other than that I am painting away in the studio, shipping pieces all over the country. And I just recently shipped my first international piece to TOKYO!

Interview with our Jury: Kevin Isgett

Interviews & ToursElizabeth Ramos

Indie Craft Parade has the enormous privilege of having a fabulous jury to overview the entries for this year's event. I've been to their shows, visited their studios, and let me tell you, their art has yet to disappoint. To give our readers a little better glimpse into their work, we're posting a brief interview with each of them. We're starting our interviews with Kevin Isgett, a talented artist of many mediums. I did not have the privilege of having him as an art teacher, but any of his students I've know have loved his classes.

Kevin Isgett_bw

Indie Craft Parade: Where are you currently finding some of your inspiration for your art and craft?

Kevin: I find inspiration for my work everywhere. Contemporary jewelry design is one of my major interests. Visually I'm inspired by natural forms... microscopic life, fungus, common detritus and trash. I like the juxtaposition of the castaway object with the precious. Almost anything can be beautiful if presented thoughtfully. I also collect vintage photos. Sometimes on a trip I leave the interstate to take pictures of the backsides of old billboard structures. I love their patina and structure.

Indie Craft Parade:

On the Jury page of the ICP website, you say that you like the "creative weirdness" of contemporary art. Have you worked with a material in one of your pieces that you think is particularly weird?


Yes, I do enjoy the creative weirdness of contemporary art and craft. The art world has become much more accepting of a huge range of working styles and subject matter over the last few decades. I love the ability it gives the artist to work in almost any style or medium. Many artists are capitalizing on the quirky unexpected qualities of found-objects and non-traditional materials creating a kind of visual poetry. Since I have a high threshold for what constitutes weirdness, I'd have to say I have not gotten there in my own work.

Kevin Isgett 1

Indie Craft Parade:

Aside from art, what other hobbies do you have?


Other hobbies?... I enjoy going to junk stores and flea markets, looking for things to use in my art. I must be a one-trick-pony because most of my hobbies center around my art interests. Reading good fiction and poetry is a wonderful escape.