It's been a while since the last studio tour and I am insanely pumped to be bringing it back today because I have an INCREDIBLE space to share: the workspace and gallery of Erin Kate Duininck, also known as The Orchard Art House.
I have known Erin for well over a year now and although we've never met in person, she is one of those people that I feel like I "know". She is beautiful inside and out- a total talent with a clear passion for the arts. And I am really excited to be sharing her jewelry line, studio, and gallery here today...
1. Let's start with the basics...how would you describe your work in 3 sentences or less?
My main objective is to create pieces that are empathetic and sincere. My most life-giving projects are custom pieces for women working out real life issues and choosing to memorialize or mark an event, epiphany, or person. I also try to create pieces on the opposite end of the spectrum with levity and a touch of the idiosyncratic. Balance in everything, yes?
2. And same question (only this time for the gallery)…How would you describe The Orchard Art House?
The gallery is a mixture of selfishness and an attempt to be selfless, as most of my prayers and petitions are. I am surrounded by my favorite artists' work every day and am blessed to experience that beauty free of charge. And the goal of the gallery is most definitely to connect my favorite artists with the right audience without taking a commission from their hard work. I grew up with parents who had to literally "sing for their supper" so I am acutely aware of the monetary challenges involved in artistry as vocation.
3. Where are your studio and gallery located?
The Orchard Art House used to be a ramshackle guest house on our property. My husband gave it to me for my 30th birthday and we tore it apart and then employed an artistic builder to completely give the place new life. It's located in a sweet throwback of a small town, Excelsior, but just outside of Minneapolis. Our property is right on a small lake and it's a couple acres, so visiting the Art House is (hopefully) like a mini retreat. Get the address and super cute map here.
4. The photographs of the gallery and your workspace are stunning, but its difficult to tell from the photos whether your workspace is actually a part of the gallery. Is that the case or are they separate? And if they are in fact in one in the same, how do you balance your workspace with the gallery and keep everything organized and presentable? It looks amazing!
The Orchard Art House is divided into three spaces; the front is the gallery, the back is my studio, and the loft is where I try to convince out of town friends to come stay. Keeping things tidy is not my strong suit, but I do make a concerted effort to keep the gallery section looking bright and clean. The struggle is always my workspace, as I'm completely artistically A.D.D. and tend to throw things around. My clients are so sweet and appreciative; we joke about the colorful clutter.
5. Back to the photos for just a second…You mentioned in one of our past conversations that the photographers behind the lens at this shoot had a super cool project to share. Can you tell me more about it?
Oh, man. I am so obsessed with Paper Antler. They are the cutest couple you've ever met and so sneaky talented. I'm thrilled to partner with them and to shout from the rooftops about their amazing idea: wedding photography + social justice = the fifty nifty! And the video is totally worth watching as well. Watch the video on YouTube now.
6. So cool! Thanks for sharing those links to Paper Antler. Before we start to wrap things up, lets get back to a few more questions I have about you... How long have you been pursuing work as an artist and gallery owner?
As I find a way to mention all too often, my parents are professional artists/musicians so it's been a lifetime thing by default. They found me a silversmithing apprenticeship when I was 14 and had me onstage singing songs I'd written the same year. I got serious about my music a few years back and started playing out a lot and then as my life circumstances changed and I needed to be at home more for my daughter and new husband (and keep regular person hours), I ramped up the jewelry and sewing. The Orchard Art House opened a little less than a year ago and was a reaction to my granny (and great friend) dying and that age old realization of the brevity of life; the seemingly obvious epiphany that nobody else is going to make my dreams come true and that, truly, clocks have wings.
"...nobody else is going to make my dreams come true...clocks have wings."
7. Now, I love asking this next question because each one of us defines success in a different way. So, here it goes... What has been your most exciting / noteworthy event or happening in your work (or the gallery) recently that you interpret as a success?
Honestly, every time a new person walks through the door I have to pinch myself. It's exciting over and over again. But getting my work into The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis is the one thing that my mom can tell her friends and have them know what on earth she is talking about. That was a great moment!
8. What artist or artisan would you most like to work with on a project in your lifetime? And why?
Sabrina Ward Harrison's body of work is exceptional. She is raw and honest and has such integrity. I value those traits in beautiful artwork above all else.
9. What advice do you have for other artists who may be just starting out or are struggling to be seen?
My advice is to be your truest self and to let everything else go. Think of others first and don't try to control outcomes. Be a very, very hard worker and radiate love. I know it sounds like I grew up in a hippie commune (I kind of did), but I think it's the most practical advice I could give. What goes around comes around.
"Be a very, very hard worker and radiate love."
Love it! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Erin. Before we go, as promised, I have a ton of photos of your gallery and workspace to share (photos c/o the lovely folks at Paper Antler)...
Thanks again Erin for showing off your amazing space and answering my questions! Please visit Erin at her jewelry shop on Etsy and The Orchard Art House. And if you pick up anything from Erin's Etsy shop, be sure to use the code "heymrpostman" at checkout to receive FREE SHIPPING on your purchase.
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