Friday, December 2, 2011

Interview with Melinda Byrd of Byrdcall Studio

Melinda Byrd is an artist I met in the past year and while we haven't known each other forever, I have so much admiration and respect for her and her work. She has been running Byrdcall Studio full time for nearly 13 years now and her business is a beautifully oiled machine. Her quality of work, her dealings with customers, and her passionate connection to her work proves everyday that Melinda chose the right path for herself.

Melinda, a former Park Ranger, carries that love of nature throughout the broad spectrum of her work. While most of her works are carved woodblock and linoleum prints, she paints murals, glassware, floor mats among other things. The breadth of her work is amazing! It seems like there is nothing she is not good at.

The hand printed t-shirts are what Melinda mainly sells at shows, and let me tell you, having helped her at shows from time to time, there are Byrdcall Studio t-shirt collectors out there! Her shirts are awesome! Each one is so special. Whether its cats you like, or dogs, or beer, or the blues, or fishing or you are just an environmentalist....there is a shirt that you will feel was made just for you. That's because it was. Each time Melinda inks up that hand carved woodblock and set it to a shirt, she is spending quality time with it. Then each shirt is hand signed. Each one, a work of art.

Be sure you check out her website at and her etsy store to see all of her amazing work for yourself!

After the excitement of The American Visionary Art Museum's annual Bazaart Holiday Marketplace this past weekend, I had a moment to talk to Melinda about her take on the show. Here is what she had to say...

How many years have you participated in Bazaart?
 This year was my fourth year at AVAM's BazaART and I'm already looking forward to next year.

What do you think sets Bazaart apart from other shows you do? 
Most shows where I set up my hand-printed woodcut shirts are geared to be attractive to "the masses" where beauty and interest are expected but maybe only in predictable "socially acceptable" ways.  The BazaART is different because everyone exhibiting their work has thought out of the box and created art that amazes the visitors.  There is humor, skill, simplicity, and a connection with things that are more meaningful in life--to me personally anyway.  The patrons of the event spend time with each artist knowing that there is something special within each booth and each artist.  Patrons of BazaART really appreciate the work that goes into my shirt-printing...and they buy which is so appreciated.  The BazaART is a wonderful alternative to the Black Friday craze.

 As an artist myself, I know I always have a favorite piece I have made. Do you currently have a favorite piece of your own work? 
While I tend to focus just on the hand-printed shirts when I do a show--so as not to confuse visitors which the multiple art forms I enjoy--my favorite individual pieces are probably not the shirts.  I mean I take the shirts for granted since I wear them every day.  What really excites me is anything new I am learning at the moment.  Like right now, I am fascinated by with pastel paintings I have been working on.  I'm learning new techniques which are very exciting.  I also love each floorcloth I make, but they go off to a new home as soon as they are done, so it is pointless to fall in love with them.

I know you didn't get too long a time to walk around but did you have a favorite vendor from this show? 
I wish I had picked up a card from the birdhouse maker.  A couple created the most beautiful birdhouses in lots of gorgeous colors.  The thing I liked most was that they were made to really go outside and last many years.  Metal work surrounded the cavity holes so gnawing creatures would not destroy them.  They were very artistically created...and did I mention colorful!?

Are there any exciting up and coming events for Byrdcall Studio that you would like to mention?
 Well, yes.  Next weekend, Dec. 3-4 I am participating in the Carroll County Artists Studio Tour both days from 10 AM -5 PM.  This is the first time I've opened my studio doors to the public (without appointments).  There could be a few people at a time or there could be dozens at a time.  I'm making cookies every other night to have enough to offer to my visitors.  The special thing for me is that I do so many artistic creations that few people know about because I don't take them on the road so to speak.  people in my studio will see the effects of a busy artist playing without limitations among papers, canvases, glass,shirts, and lots more.  I'm going to be straighten up all week, but surely the studio will retain its "workshop qualities."  Check out the Studio Tour map .  And check out my web site while you are at it.

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