Artist Amy Rice launches the new retail home for her craft-making side project, A Nice Ness Press, this weekend at California Building.
A mixed-media artist who has been showing her pieces in fine art galleries for over a decade, Rice also has a number of side projects that don't quite fit into her main body of work. So she decided to shift her craft and letterpress efforts to its own website, and now she will be selling it at her studio.
"I do fine art and have had success with that, but I also do other stuff," Rice says. In addition to her art with a capital "A," Rice creates letterpress, textile, and print work. "I felt like I needed to separate that work. When I apply for fine art galleries, it doesn't look good for me when I have stuff that is crafty," she says.
A year ago, Rice earned representation from Groveland Gallery. Because of that, she no longer can show her fine art in her studio in the California Building during open studio events. "I felt like I wanted to be able to be open for those," Rice says, "but not as a fine artist."
This weekend, Rice's studio will be open for business and featuring her A Nice Nest Press brand as a part of the California community.
Rice's crafting game exploded a few years ago after she acquired a bunch of fabric for a licensing opportunity for a stencil book. As part of a State Arts Board Grant that went toward creating a surface design pattern, she ended up having yards and yards of extra fabric. "I wanted to do something with all that and I feared I never would," she says.
So she stored all of the fabric at a property up north in a fishing shack. Unfortunately, a tornado came through and ruined the shack, but much of the fabric pieces survived, so she made them into pillows, curtains, and three handmade rugs. She sells that work on Etsy, which she recently also switched to only featuring her A Nice Nest Press work.
"Fine art galleries are not excited about Etsy," Rice says.
Rice says she definitely sees her letterpress practice -- a mixture of different media styles including stenciling, Japanese screen-printing, paint, and inks -- as more of a fun hobby. Her experiments with lino-print pillows are relaxing and fun for her. "There are artists that work in textiles -- for me I call it a craft."
IF YOU GO:
A Nice Nest Press launch
Friday, from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
California Building, 2205 California St. NE, Studio 602., Minneapolis.