Amy Zurcher has a keen eye for talent and a nuanced ability to help young artists market themselves. As the co-creator and director of shopSCAD, with retail gallery boutiques in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, Lacoste, France, and online, she seeks the latest stars in SCAD’s artistic community for shopSCAD storefronts. Zurcher also participates in classroom critiques, assists artists with product design and acts as a liaison during collaborations with retailers, such as Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Henri Bendel.
In 2003, I co-created shopSCAD with my best friend and SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) alumna Katie Runnels. She and I met working together in a boutique years before and spent hours dreaming of creating a shop that was wonderfully, beautifully eclectic — a shop that would fuse art, fashion, jewelry and other unexpected finds into one treasure trove of talent. It’s no wonder that, years later, the two of us were beside ourselves with glee when asked by SCAD’s President Wallace to start a gallery shop for SCAD. We, too, were passionate about the incredible artwork and handmade designs spilling out of the classrooms, galleries and studios at SCAD. In no time, I found myself packing my bags to move from San Francisco to Savannah to make the dream Katie and I had talked about so many years earlier a reality. And so shopSCAD was founded with the sole intention of exclusively featuring the work of SCAD students, alumni, faculty and staff.
Photo by Adam Kuehl
Over the years, since starting the shop, I have been delighted to see students’ work take off, resulting in a thriving and exciting career. The shop has created a unique, “hands-on” learning tool for young artists — giving them an opportunity to experiment with innovative ideas, learn the practical points of pricing and
marketing and to get an overall real world reaction to their work — what sells and what doesn’t. I enjoy mentoring students and delight in bringing awareness of their talent to the public through my contacts at national magazines and well-known retailers. I feel blessed to have found a job that I love and feel passionate about every single day. Meeting with artists, creating visual atmospheres that showcase
them, promoting the shop and being surrounded by such a fantastic artistic and creative energy makes every day a fabulous one at shopSCAD. I wouldn’t trade my job for anything in the world!
I had so much fun making a collection of my favorite items from the talented artists at SCAD and am pleased to be able to share this treasury with all of you here at Etsy.
Jennifer Hallsey, a.k.a. LeeOhio, wows me with one of my favorite color combinations: fuchsia and green. These earrings are wonderful with ruby red diamond cut topaz and cascades of chrysoprase and prehnite on antique brass fleur stamps. Jennifer graduated from SCAD with a B.F.A. in painting and is a top seller at shopSCAD with her line of high-end boutique jewelry. I have commissioned her to make custom pieces for special SCAD visitors such as Cornelia Guest.
Does it get any cuter than this? Jay Schmetz, a.k.a. lulunjay, graduated from SCAD with an MFA in
painting and has been a stellar seller at the shop ever since the doors opened. He is well adored for his carefree paintings of beloved pets, doing mundane human things that we all suspect they do when we are away, such as these notecards. I have to admit to loving his work so much that he is currently working on a commissioned portrait of my own family!
Admittedly, I am partial to this artist because she is an endless plethora of magical things. Katie, a.k.a. constantgatherer, graduated from SCAD with an MFA in painting and was co-creator of shopSCAD. She makes sweet vintage-inspired magic that takes the form of mixed media fine art, romantic accessories, and homespun goodness that she calls assemblages. (She is too humble to call them sculptures.) I have chosen to feature one here that delights me with the word HOME, a nice welcome at the end of the day for any entryway.
Robin Miller, a.k.a. moxieindustries, is the director of Visual Resources at SCAD’s Jen Library. He and his wife Kym Hepworth make a super-awesome SCAD art couple. (Check out her Etsy shop, no flying in the house.) Robin takes original imagery from antique books and magazines (he especially favors Victorian novels), and gives them new life by embellishing with pencil, ink or paint and then finishes by making us ponder over his addition of a well-turned phrase or saying. He translates this fine art into the affordable pieces by offering magnets, like this King of the North. Art for the fridge, perfect.
Okay, I can totally see myself wearing this bright green cocoon wrap just about all the time with…everything. Jen Swearington is a master textile artist and makes wearable art, as well as fine art wall hangings that are museum worthy. She graduated from SCAD with an MFA in fibers and has built a successful business with her original screen-printed designs on natural fabrics. She is a favorite at shopSCAD and has many retail accounts in addition to her Etsy shop, jennythreads.
This is jewelry at its finest, most high art form. Mia, a.k.a. OblikAtelier, graduated from SCAD with a BFA in metals and jewelry. Her work exudes modernity with deceptively simple lines and fluid shapes repeating in understated patinaed sterling silver. The pieces she creates are worthy sculptures to be displayed prominently even when not being worn, like this Always in motion-bracelet!
I was so happy the day I found Laura Cherry’s, a.k.a. lauredesigns, cards for shopSCAD. I just love her illustration style and vivid colors. The stacked suitcase cards are among my favorites, and I almost wish I had the original work to hang as art in my little boy’s room that is painted a mustardy yellow.
Tiffani Taylor, a.k.a. TiffaniArt, is a much celebrated alumna of SCAD with a B.F.A. in painting and an M.A. in art history. Her painterly mixed media work is in the private art collections of celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. I love the sweet poetry that is hidden among the layers of each piece she creates, and Vintage Bird is a favorite of mine.
The animal lover in me loves the philosophy behind Jessica Knapp’s “plushkill”: nobody has to get hurt! You can have the look of a huge trophy head mounted above the mantle with this Forest Spring Buck of embellished stuffed felt. We lost count how many of these have left her shop Cherrybox, but most seemed destined for a child’s bedroom. Jessica graduated from SCAD with a B.F.A. in industrial design.
Irene is a beautiful, sweet woman with the thickest braids you will ever see! She is an established shopSCAD artist whom I regularly commission to make pottery. Her work has been featured in magazines such as Vogue and Cottage Living. All handmade and wonderful, she completes her beautiful vessels in her Etsy shop greenwaredesign with living succulents she gets from a dear friend as shown with this indigo striped dish. Irene graduated from SCAD with a BFA in photography.
I am loving just about anything in the color yellow these days, and if you merge it with vintage and jewelry the deal is sealed for me. These little button earrings by Alison Bear are so cute. I vision pairing them with one of my grandmother’s vintage beaded necklaces. Alison has made countless fabric silhouette cufflinks for shopSCAD that have been sent as gifts to notable celebs, including John Cusack, Harrison Ford and Martin Sheen. Alison graduated from SCAD with a BFA in metals and jewelry.
Megan is currently on staff at shopSCAD Atlanta as the visual merchandiser. Sad for us, her Etsy shop pleasantlyplumpknits is so successful she doesn’t have time to make things for shopSCAD! My babies are too old for these, but what mama could resist such cuteness as her little knit shoes? I am partial to stripes so was torn between this pair and the ones featuring tiny anchors.
I have often described Kathryn Riechert‘s work as a bread and butter line for shopSCAD. We sell her hand-stamped sterling silver necklaces, rings and earrings like candy all day, every day at the shop. Her work resonates for so many with its personal and inspiring words. I love this ring set that proudly proclaims “I am an artist not a waitress.” Kathryn graduated with a BFA in metals and jewelry with honors.
Amanda Schwartz, Anna Frischknecht and Molly McIntosh of Oh Boy Cat Toy are responsible for coming up with these fantastically wacky cat toys. The three of them have fun thinking about all the things that would be hilarious to see carried in a kitty’s mouth. I am completely drawn to the felted toast with huge eyes, and I don’t even know a cat to give one to. Amanda and Anna are both SCAD graduates, BFA fibers and BFA painting respectively. With close to 900 sales on their Etsy site alone, these girls have carved out a great niche!
Cuyler, a.k.a. cuylerhoveyking, is the store manager of shopSCAD Atlanta and also a SCAD graduate with a BFA in metals and jewelry. I find this dollhouse chair necklace to be so amusing with its sweet absurdity, and would look forward to wearing it and the conversations that would ensue throughout the day. She also makes another fave of mine, the demure itty bitty bow earrings.
I thought these underwear were so silly when I first saw them — I had no idea how much the crafty set would love them. We have sold a pile of them to enthusiastic glue gun-toting shopSCAD customers. Steph, a.k.a. heartsandlaserbeams, graduated from SCAD with a BFA in computer art.
I’m personally not too fond of modern furniture, but love this rope rocker by Daniella Pena, a.k.a. elemento. It is seriously comfortable and lends itself to many types of décor. Daniella is a SCAD graduate with a BFA in furniture design. This chair was featured on HGTV and is currently a coveted place to sit at shopSCAD.
I think this is such a cool and unexpected print to have on a clutch! Claire Sanchez graduated from SCAD with a BFA in fibers and quickly launched her own successful handbag line. She has been featured with shopSCAD in several magazines, including Vogue and Country Living. She merges functional bag shapes with quirky fun and sometimes vintage fabrications.
This Beardling by SCAD fibers graduate Caity Pautler, a.k.a. caitypa, made me laugh out loud when I received it as an online submission for shopSCAD. I just love these and cannot wait to place an order to stock the shop for fall.
I really like the abstract paintings of SCAD graduate Laura Terry, a.k.a. studiolmt. She earned an MFA in painting and currently lives in a city near and dear to my heart, Fayetteville, AR. Her work is thoughtful and the color, always the color, pulls me in. This Field Map painting caught my eye.
Do you know of a must-visit local boutique? Tell us about it in the comments below.