Introducing Gather Goods Co Soy Wax Candles

For about five years I have been working on creating a Gather Goods Co candle line and I am happy to say that after a thoughtful process, they are available for sale in the online shop here. The candles are made with clean burning soy wax and come in a handsome 8 ounce frosted glass jar with a textured linen label that I designed especially for them. They are hand blended and poured here in North Carolina and all of the scents are phthalate free. ⁠Available in the following scents:

  • Happy Place – An uplifting blend of Citrus & Grapefruit
  • Cloud Gazing – A botanical blend of Green Grass & Bamboo
  • Wooded Walk – A refreshing scent of White Pine
  • Peaceful Pause – A serene blend of Green Tea & Lemongrass
  • Cozy Home – a magical blend of Balsam & Evergreen

I hope you love them as much as I do and if you know of any stores where you think they’d be a great fit, please let me know. For now, you can purchase them in the online shop here.

Maker Profile: Illustrator, Kristen Solecki

On Thursday November 7th at 6:30pm artist Kristen Solecki will be teaching an illustration class at Gather Goods Co in downtown Cary, NC. Together, we’ll make a set of 4 postcards to swap & keep of favorite feminist women in a loose portrait style that Kristen is known for. You can sign up for the class here.

Kristen is a recent transplant to the Triangle. Prior to living here she was based in Charleston, South Carolina and grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a professional illustrator she has created work for NPR, St. Martin’s Press, Cup of Jo & the tv show Mad Men among others.⁠

I asked a few questions to Kristen about her process and what’s inspiring here, see below:

What is inspiring you currently? Being outdoors, hiking,  and traveling. 

What is a recent great book you’ve read or podcast that you’ve listened to? Syllabus by Lynda Barry is really excellent, and Normal People by Sally Rooney.

What are your favorite Triangle go-tos? I go to Flyleaf Books on an almost weekly basis, love their selection and staff recs. 

What other illustrators or artists do you like? There are so many but Margaret Kilgallen, and Edward Gorey are two artists whose work I go back to again and again.

What are you listening to lately (music wise)? Loving the new album from the band Better Oblivion Community Center, an awesome collaboration between Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers.

Why illustration? How did you get into it and what did going to school for it teach you?

I chose illustration because I love drawing and storytelling. I also really love the variety of work in the field, each project is different. I didn’t know Illustration was something you could study when I was in high school. I was first introduced to it as a career through an open house lecture. Going to art school taught me a lot of technical skills as well as allowed me to explore a lot of mediums and creative works I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.

Any daily rituals or routines that help with working freelance?

I stick to a pretty tight routine during the work week, especially when I am on deadline. I try to keep normal work hours daily but it usually goes over that. 

You can sign up for Kristen’s class at Gather Goods Co on Thursday November 7th here.

“Brown Girls Meditate & Do Yoga”

One of the current studio tenants at Gather Goods Co is Gretchen Campbell of Grow, Encourage, Empower. She is a therapist who specializes in teens, tweens and millenials.

One area that she feels is underserved but that she often prescribes to her clients is yoga and meditation, specifically geared toward people who identify as a “brown girl” themselves. She wanted to offer something here in the downtown Cary area, where though the population is diverse, there is a perception that you have to find events like this elsewhere. She wanted to create something like this in her own backyard, (or Gather Goods Co’s more specifically where her office is based), so every Friday in October she is hosting a yoga and meditation session aimed at “brown girls” and with a “brown girl” yoga instructor.

Here are pictures I snapped from the first event last Friday. If you’d like to stay in the loop for future events you can contact Gretchen on her website here.

Photos by Michelle Smith for Gather Goods Co

And here is the playlist from that event:


Studio Tour: Katie Berman Textiles

Katie Berman, Textile & Fiber Artist, Durham, North Carolina | Photography by Michelle Smith for Gather Goods Co

A few weeks ago I visited Katie Berman at her home studio in Durham, North Carolina. Katie is a textile artist who will be teaching the upcoming Punch Needle Embroidery Class at Gather Goods Co. in downtown Cary, North Carolina. The first class sold out so we added a second date on Saturday November 9th at 10am. You can sign up for it here.

Katie went to ECU for college and studied graphic design but somewhere along the line her passion for art turned toward more tactile fiber work. A talented seamstress, her leftover fabric scraps inspired her to repurpose and reuse them into art, and this exploring lead her down the path toward more textured fiber fine art.

In addition to fiber art, Katie also has a part-time job. One of the things we discussed when I went to her studio is finding value in ourselves outside of the traditional expectations of “full time artist” or the idea of wearing just one hat. So often, we see examples of people who seem to have it all doing something aspirational and we don’t seem to recognize that that is just one perspective of a person, and that also, we all have different paths that are most fulfilling to us. Some seasons, it is fully focused on one thing, some seasons, it isn’t, and both can feel equally gratifying and rewarding.⁠

Katie’s goal is to one day have a shared community space focused on fiber arts, until then, you can learn more about Katie as well as create a super fun craft with us in our Punch Needle Embroidery Class at Gather Goods Co. on Saturday November 9th at 10am. You can register for the class here.

Photos by Michelle Smith for Gather Goods Co

Punch Needle Embroidery – Inspired By: Upcoming Punch Needle Class at Gather

On Saturday October 12th at 10am, Durham, North Carolina textile artist Katie Berman will be teaching a class at Gather in downtown Cary, NC on punch needle embroidery. In this class we’ll walk through the foundations of punch needle embroidery and students will walk away with a piece that they can finish up at their leisure at home. Students can choose from one of three custom made designs for this class and will have the knowledge and skills to make their own in the future. You can sign up for the class here.

Punch needle is a technique that is similar to rug hooking that creates a raised textured surface from fiber with a tool called a punch needle. It’s an inexpensive and cathartic craft to take up as a hobby. You can make pillows, wall hangings and more with this process. Below are some inspiring punch needle artworks:

You can sign up for the punch needle embroidery class being held at Gather in downtown Cary, NC on Saturday October 12th at 10am here.

Images: Punch Needle Wall Art by Fall For DIY, Botanical Herb Punch Needle Art by Les Brindilles, Circular Punch Needle Art & Punch Needle Process by Ashley Rae Zibetti, Gray & White Textured Punch Needle Art by Blanc Laine

Studio Tour: Metamorphosis Metals

Sonya Coulson Rook of Metamorphosis Metals | Gather Goods Co

Back in 2004, before Gather, I started an event called The Rock & Shop Market as a place for local makers to sell their wares because there wasn’t anything like it out there for them (or me). It’s kind of hard to remember what that landscape looked like when these days it seems like there is a makers market everywhere you look. I hosted the event for ten years and through it met thousands of maker entrepreneurs aiming to grow their creative business. Sonya of Metamorphosis Metals was one of the original and consistent vendors at my juried markets, and in 2011 when tornadoes came through Raleigh and decimated homes in the Southeast Raleigh neighborhoods I commissioned her to make a custom necklace to raise funds for the Boys & Girl’s Club that was also affected in that neighborhood. She has been steadily growing and refining her business over that time and it’s been cool to watch as the city around us has grown and changed and evolved itself.

Metalsmith Bench at the studio of Metamorphosis Metals | Gather Goods Co
Metalsmith Tools and Hammers at the Studio of Metamorphosis Metals | Gather Goods Co
Geometric Metal Stud Earrings | Gather Goods Co

She’s teaching an upcoming earring making class at Gather in downtown Cary this Thursday April 11th at 6:30pm. It is sure to be a good time and you are going to learn a lot. Sonya has a distinctive metal style and she’s sharing that process in this class. You can register for the class here.

Jewelry Making Stations at the Studio of Metamorphosis Metals | Gather Goods Co
Making Metal Jewelry at Metamorphosis Metals | Gather Goods Co
Sonya Coulson Rook of Metamorphosis Metals | Gather Goods Co

Photos by Michelle Smith for Gather Goods Co

Inspired By: Geometric Metal Jewelry

Geometric metal jewelry is a trend that I don’t see going away any time soon. There is something earthy and beautiful about the juxtaposition of raw metal shaped into new forms. Make your own set of beautiful geometric stud earrings at Gather in downtown Cary on Thursday April 11th at 6:30pm with metalsmith Sonya of Metamorphosis Metals. In this hands-on workshop Sonya, a twenty year jewelry making veteran, will be teaching how to cut, shape, hammer and solder. Hope to see you there. You can register for the class here.

Images: Geometric Totem Shaped Earrings by Rare Bird, Brass and Silver Earrings & Brass Moon Earrings by Undergrowth Studios, Geometric Stud Earrings by Metamorphosis Metals, Brass Arch Studs by Kiki Koyote,Large hoop earrings by Annie Costello Brown

Bullet Journaling

Bullet Journaling is a specific method of journaling that has taken the creative world by storm in the past few years. Lucy Kagan will be teaching about it as part of our Creative Journaling class at Gather on Thursday night. You can register for the class here.

Bullet Journaling as a concept was created by Ryder Carroll a designer who realized his particular method of documenting his projects was unique. Essentially bullet journaling is where you categorize your thinking into different lists and reference them by a table of contents but one of the main philisophical tenants of the method is that it is an analog way to document projects in a mostly digital world.

It has been a method that has worked particularly well for me. In addition to lists you can add all sorts of interesting things and ideas that you want to track and catalog. The beauty of the system is that once you have a grasp on the basic framework (which takes some digging in and applying) it is really customizable and logical. It’s a great system if you like things both organized but also have an abundance of creative output.

I especially love seeing how others use their own bullet journals and could search endlessly for how others are using them.

Here is a page found on wellella that helps her stay on target with mental health and wellness by tracking her gratitudes each day.

Here are some example lists from bujo.auslife on the bullet journaling site.

Of course this method appeals to me so much that I even created my own analog “goal tracker” about ten years ago that I still sell here. It is a simplified version of goal tracking and was created before the bullet journal method was a thing. What I love about the bullet journal though is you can have all sorts of lists and you can be as colorful, neat or messy as you want, the interpretation is half the fun.

Will I see you in Thursday night’s class? In addition to workshopping your own journal that we’ll provide you’ll learn three different creative methods: Bullet Journaling, Creative Journaling and Graphic Novel style Journaling. You can register for the class here.

An Enchanted Wooded Garden Space

It seems only natural that given Lucy Kagan, instructor of Thursday night’s Creative Journaling class at Gather in downtown Cary (register here), would have a penchant for drawing fairies, plants and nymphs given her family home. Growing up with a long line of gardeners, her environment seems to have made a strong impression on her and I can see why. There is something about being surrounded by thousands of living things, then nurturing, cultivating, observing and documenting them that conjures a certain magic and applies itself to your life.

Hellebore’s or Lenton Rose flowers shown here are one of the only flowers that bloom in winter and early spring. They prefer wooded/shaded spots and have colors ranging from purple to pale pinks and whites. They are perennials so they come back year after year and like many flowers look especially good in large clusters.

A gravel patio area at the back of the home holds a charcoal grill and some seating for dining al fresco as well as extra firewood. A vine covered trellis leads to a greenhouse attached to the side of the house which holds plants in progress, pots and other gardening implements.

Sticks from the yard have been collected over time and are being turned into a wattle fence which is done by weaving together branches into a basket pattern forming a natural and artistic edging and barrier. Beyond the fence is an enclosed compost area.

A cold frame shown here keeps cool season plants such as lettuces and greens incubated and warm during cold nights. You can see more of Lucy and her parent’s home here and her work space here. You can register for Thursday night’s Creative Journaling class taught by Lucy at Gather here.

Photos by Michelle Smith for Gather Goods Co