Art on the Rivers is coming to Frontier Park in historic Saint Charles on August 27. While we’re really excited to be hosting this event in conjunction with the Greenway Network and Race for the Rivers, it’s out makers, artists, and crafters that make the whole thing possible for us. Shows like this give us the opportunity to talk to the public about our individual makers stories, and also to show that there are artists living and working in the community and making a living from making things by hand. We’re thrilled to be working with each of these exciting artists, and look forward to introducing them all to you!
Today, we caught up with Fine Line Studios to chat about their work, being a maker, inspiration, and mission. Join us as we meet our makers!
Tell us about your first “Maker Moment”
Fine Line Studios was established in 2010, as a part of the national non-profit Resources for Human Development. We offer adults with disabilities an outlet for unbridled creativity and self-expression through visual arts, music, and community involvement. We provide individuals with the tools and materials to create art, and the supports to define themselves as artists. Some individuals who attend our program may have never done art before and don’t discover their hidden artistic talents until they begin exploring the opportunities provided by FLS. Other individuals may have always enjoyed making art, but were never given the chance to pursue their talents or exhibit their work. A perk of being FLS staff is often getting to witness and partake in the joys our individuals experience when they first discover their love for making art!
Where does your making happen?
Fine Line Studios is located in the Bridgeton neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri. The artists who attend FLS make all of their artwork here at the studio, Monday through Friday between the programming hours of 9am and 3pm. Our studio facility includes a large workshop area suited for painting and drawing, a ceramics studio, a printmaking room, a music recording studio, and a room dedicated to sewing and jewelry making.
Tell us a little about what you make and why.
The staff of Fine Line Studios work to inspire participating artists by giving them access to a wide variety art mediums, instructing art techniques, and visiting local art galleries and museums. All of our artists have their own unique interests and passions, which is communicated through their art creations. Staff aspire to stimulate creativity and help each individual artist develop their skills, reach their full potential as artists, connect with their communities, and become more independent through art. In turn, staff are inspired by the talents and perseverance of the artists of Fine Line Studios, and hope to do the same for the artists they serve.
It is amazing the sense of accomplishment one can feel after making something by hand. At Fine Line Studios, we seek to empower individuals with disabilities by helping them discover and develop their artistic skills and talents.
Are there any materials that you have used in your products that you think may be unexpected?
As a non-profit art studio, we are always seeking ways to reduce, reuse, and repurpose materials. From making our own paper out of used paper, to recycling clay, upcycling screen-printed t-shirts into pillows, utilizing various donated materials, and working with found objects in sculptures, we are always pursuing creative ways to use supplies. Many of our participating artists are self-taught and may use materials in nontraditional ways; we encourage our artists to experiment with mixing medias and challenging the status quo. A striking piece of art can be made with a Bic pen on newsprint paper, just as well as expensive paint on a fine quality stretched canvas. The materials our artists choose to use differ greatly from artist to artist, but they are all held in the same regard as accomplishments of self expression.
What personality trait do you possess that you think helps you the most as a professional crafter?
Each artist who attends Fine Line Studios is uniquely skilled and talented, but some common traits many of our artists possess is perseverance and optimism. Despite the obstacles they may face in life, whether developmental, physical, fiscal, or mental, the artists of FLS overcome so much in order to achieve their goals. Being resilient to the hardships they face and creating art in an uninhibited manor with a positive attitude, often seems remarkable.
What do you think differentiates crafting from other types of business?
Artists and crafters must be resilient to criticism and failure, as well as self-motivated and hardworking, but the perks are beyond measure. Creating handmade art and objects builds confidence, independence, and a sense of purpose and self expression.
What do you enjoy most about selling your handmade goods?
Each piece of art created at Fine Line Studios was made with care by an artist with a disability, overcoming their challenges and accomplishing a goal. Every purchase further empowers the artist to continue to pursue their creative expression. Artists receive 80% of all sales, while 20% goes back to material and supply costs of the studio. When we sell artwork on behalf of the artist who created it, and are then able to hand that artist money for their hard work and efforts, it brings us nothing but joy. Through the arts, we enrich the lives of those we serve, and there is nothing more enjoyable than that.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years? 10?
Here at Fine Line Studios, we hope to continue to expand our program and services in order to provide more creative opportunities and employment for artists with disabilities.