Featuring Artist: Tess Bishop
From A Southern Story.
It all started way back when I was a wee teenager. I was, oh, 15 or so. I met a bunch of people at a Christian retreat called T.E.C (Teens Encounter Christ) that ended up being my best friends, and in that group was a guy named Jeremy. We called Jeremy "Biz" for the longest time. It just stuck... Anyway, Jeremy has remained my friend since then, which I am so thankful for. Especially because Jeremy married a super sweet, creative woman, Tess and had a sweet baby boy named Fable.
Are they not the cutest family ever?
Unfortunately Jeremy and Tess live a few states away from me, but we still connect a bit on the internet when we can. I love following along with her creative work in revamping vintage furniture. She has helped me figure out plans for a few pieces of our ugly furniture that I'd love to re-do at some point. She's got the knowledge and vision for sure! She can turn a nasty old dresser into the cutest shabby chic changing table or vanity!
Tess says: "I really love doing it[re-doing furniture]. Strangly there is a lot of romance in it for me. I often wonder where the piece has been (you wouldn't believe some of the things I have found in the backs of dressers!), where was it used, it's "story." And as I paint it I wonder who this belongs to, who will get it, who it is meant for. And each time I truly hope it finds a home where it makes someone as happy as it made me to redo it."
I asked Tess to tell me a little bit about how she got started re-doing furniture. This is what she had to say:
" I really got started this business by just having no fear to add paint to anything. Growing up, my mom would let me, and even encourage me to be crafty and paint whatever i wanted. I remember being in this "angel" phase (yes the cherubs, it was the 90's) and so i painted clouds all over my bathroom cabinets and then decoupaged some angels on them. Most moms would freak, but she thought it was amazing. She wasn't quite as happy when I used her jigsaw to cut out a doggie door on my bedroom door though.... But I really liked thinking outside of the box.
I started messing around with painting, and checking out every book I could about techniques I could find from the library. When my first couple of things sold, I almost didn't want the people to know I did it, in case they weren't impressed, haha. But I fell in love with it! "
I was wondering where she gets all of her furniture since I had been searching for a vintage style dresser to use as a TV stand in our living room. I couldn't find a darn thing around here that was cheap or free... or even semi-usable. This is what Tess had to say about how she finds her furniture and vision.
"I used to do amazing buying furniture from thrift stores. Every once in a while I will still strike gold, but those days are few and far between anymore. Ever since the flood in Nashville, there hasn't been as great of a selection. I think so many people lost so much, that donations slowed. So, mostly I get things off of Craigslist, but you have to be crazy fast. Jeremy knows at any given moment I might rush him out the door to go pick something up from someone. I used to get so bummed when I would miss out on a piece, but I had to learn very quickly to let it go. It just wasn't meant to be. And the piece I am meant to work on, I will find.
With each piece, I often see it, and know immediately what I want to do with it. Knowing what I want to do, and actually knowing how it will turn out though are completely different things. They often take on a life of their own. It's like I am just the tool. I might think, I am done, and then it just calls for something more... so really, I get a high each time off of seeing the finished product. It's like I too get to be surprised!"
Here are a few photos of her work:
Aren't they beautiful? She does such a great job with every piece.
Check out her site HERE and give her a little love!
Thanks for your story and delightful work, Tess!