Matthew Johnson is the new director of The Walker Shop for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN. The Walker Shop offers a unique assortment of award-winning contemporary home and office accessories; artisan jewelry; books about multidisciplinary contemporary art, design, and culture; creative toys; and exclusive Walker products. He has been a privately commissioned painter for various clients and was a featured pet portraitist in Boston Magazine’s “Ultimate Guide to Pampering your Pets.” From 2005-2010, he was the Director of risd |works, an innovative hybrid in the form of a retail store, gallery and design showroom that features an annual collection and changing exhibitions of work by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) renowned alumni and faculty in a variety of media.
In September, my dog Bernie and I moved back home to the Midwest. I actually teared up as I drove through the flatter parts of Ohio. By the time I reached Illinois, the smells made me think of my childhood, my family and all that is dear to me. When I reached Minnesota, I felt I was home. Don’t get me wrong, I loved living on the East Coast for the past ten years. I loved my job, my friends and all of the opportunities given to me while working for RISD. But there’s no place like home and I feel grateful to be back in the Midwest to start my new career at the Walker Art Center. I was honored when asked to be a guest curator for Etsy and immediately knew I wanted to assemble a collection of Minnesotan Etsians.
This stunning Illustration by quantumbill reminds me of my recent journey — bridging my past with my future. The Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge by Siah Armajani is an iconic part of the Minneapolis Sculpture garden, a collaboration between the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board. I can see the real thing from the front door of my new apartment.
These small tumblers by utilemud are unapologetically simple and honest. They are perfect for all of the hot beverages I’ll need during my first Minnesota winter. Also, I will be happy as a yeti if our winter is as beautiful as Tree Line Study by robergliden.
Repurposing is my favorite form of recycling and this Illinois vintage puzzle pin by MichelleAndHerDog honors my home state. I also love how Maverickjune has referenced one of my favorite phrases on this recycled felt applique pillow.
Reflecting Frida’s private obsessions as boldly as she did, dwitt75’s skill captured my attention at first glance. The Victorian inspired Rabbit Girl and Wolf Boy cuff by uniqueartpendants is similarly bold and beautiful, mixed with a playful nostalgia.
Block Bot by williamdohman makes me very happy. Isn’t it amazing how so much emotion is created from blocks of wood, rope, two blue circles and a blue line? The embroidered pendant necklace by septemberhouse makes me want to make things. It’s intimate, precious, and a keepsake.
The Golden Bent Ring by willaburk (left) reminds me of my favorite minimalist sculptor, Richard Serra. It’s so architectural that I want to crawl inside. I also love the living jewelry created by AdornJewelry. It looks just like the the grass circles imbedded in the concrete walkways in front of the Walker Art Center.
I am in love with the idea of a souvenir — a keepsake to bring home for the memories associated with it. These mini Polaroid magnets by paintedfishstudio remind me to hold on to the things I love and remember all of the wonderful experiences I’ve had.