To make this year shine, I've decided to throw the light on some super talented people that live and work in my area. And to keep it personal, I'm delighted to start with my longtime friend and fabulous artist Caroline Daley. Maker of vibrant mixed-media paintings and imaginative soft sculptures, this girl has magic hands!
These days, one of her biggest passions is felting, a fascinating process of needling tufts of colorful wool until they become beautiful shapes. You can find her hearts and stars at the chic boutique shop 'Edge City' in downtown Jacksonville. They're one of a kind embellished ornaments for all seasons.
She sells out quickly here, so replenishment is on her regular agenda. One afternoon I tagged along to see this Five Points landmark while Caroline delivered some of her latest work. It was so fun browsing the novelties and hearing her reminisce about shopping here as a young teen. LOVE seeing history overlap like this.
Caroline has lived in Northeast Florida most of her life and has rocked the titles of homecoming queen, gallery owner, art teacher, and stay-at-home mom. Early on, when she was exploring her talents, she attended Chatham University in Pittsburgh, and her face lights up when she talks about it. (Apparently this is a must see city). She studied sculpture, bronze casting, printmaking, and more. This formed her strong foundation for bringing her active imagination to life.
Her creative inspiration goes way back. In the bright eyed wonder years of childhood, she adored kids book illustrations and had a deep fascination for the stained glass windows in her church. Once you know this, you can't unsee this influence in her art. Vivid colors, dark outlines, curious symbolism... And the Catholic theme still runs strong today with her rosary-like jewelry, Mother Mary imagery, and shadowbox shrines that I wish I had pictures of. They're so cool!
Her mixed media canvases are charmed by layers—photos, sequins, candy wrappers, rhinestones, you name it! Her collection of sundries is vast—some shopped for, some saved, and some arrive in the mail from friends who know she's always looking for treasures.
When she puts them all together, they create a unique story. Each piece a little festival. The confetti of Life tossed and captured. Her work reminds me to notice the surroundings of my world. Truly, there are always special things floating around—wishes, memories, sparkly ideas—I see all of this and more in her creations.
Caroline's workspace is a feast for the eyes—fantasy creatures, beads, paper ephemera, tiny curiosities, and old letterpress trays filled with all kinds of things that catch the afternoon light.
Each time I visit Caroline, she has many new pieces in progress. Since I consider myself a super slow painter, this fascinates me. She's a glitzy little factory and I wish-oh-wish I could be like this!
When I ask her how she's able to produce so much work, she laughs and says "I have to keep my hands moving." I see this as partly therapeutic, but mostly the desire to create a joyful world. In all my years of knowing Caroline, this has been a driving force with her. A dancing, dreaming, loop-de-loop-in-the-sky force...
And you can't spend too much time with Caroline before you realize her favorite treasures are her family. She lives with her football-loving husband Tom, artist daughter Kate, a super cool pug, and a few precious guinea pigs. From a close knit family with two fab sisters and a mother whom she credits as being one of her biggest influences—maker of dollhouses, costumes, and paintings, her mother started the tradition of creating an enchanted environment and it definitely lives on.
Kate Daley-Parker, Caroline's daughter, creates radiant pop-art, otherworldly miniatures, and did I mention she designed her own retro rocket tattoo? She's definitely one to watch as she grows into her many talents.
Well that's Caroline's world in a glittery nutshell. You can learn more and see more on Etsy, Facebook, and her blog. Hopefully you'll see her on Youtube someday. (If I can talk her into it) She's an awesome teacher and sooooo entertaining. Maybe fun tutorials are forthcoming? I'll see what I can do. :)