Nestled among industrial warehouses at the end of Northeast 18th Street in Gainesville is a cheerful one-story building with bright yellow trim surrounded by lush greenery.
Beyond the pottery-covered shelves and through the window of Studio TM is a budding scene with the vibrancy of Gainesville’s artist community.
Studio owner and local ceramic artist Sara Truman spent her summer on the potter’s wheel to build up a stockpile. Pots, plates, candle holders and mugs lined the walls, patiently awaiting the first pop-up Studio TM market of the season.
This weekend was the kick-off to fall in the Artist’s Market season for Gainesville makers. Studio TM began hosting its Sunday pop-up last year in hopes of enticing residents to shop small and support Gainesville’s thriving art scene. Yesterday’s event championed all types of creation, with artists from crochet, ceramics, candle making and pen and ink all making an appearance as vendors.
Sara Truman shared her excitement for artists joining the market circuit.
“It’s growing and changing drastically right now, and it’s really exciting to see,” she said.
Truman described the tight-knit nature of the artist community and how they plan to make the most of the excellent weather for a successful season. Collaboration is key — Gainesville Market organizers have established a master calendar of events this year so they don’t overlap and are working to get the word out across the city.
“We all share suppliers; we all promote each other’s events,” she said. “It’s been really wonderful.”
Despite the large number of artists in the community, their relationships have defied hyper-competitive expectations. Booth operators were taking breaks to visit and chat with their friend at the table next to theirs. Many have collaborated on projects to create an even more unique piece, showing the skill and care put into each fruit of their labor.
Jessica Foster, the owner of Design by JessAnne, had many collaboration pieces on display. Everything from candles to scents inspired by his art to kaleidoscopic resin incense holders showcased a joint effort to be creative.
“There’s not this competition of ‘oh, you have to be my client and not their client’…it’s quite beautiful,” Foster said. “The more we do together, the clearer it is that local is a sustainable option.”
This strong sense of community also inspires students to get involved outside of college life and to seek out Gainesville as a more permanent place to live.
Amelia Langford received her undergraduate degree in Microbiology and Cellular Science from the University of Florida. She looks to Florida’s natural environment for inspiration in her science sketches.
“I’ve always liked looking for food,” she says. “And a lot of things that I draw, I also like to research.” His black and white sketches of local mushroom, frog and insect species present a unique crossover between science and art centered around Gainesville’s unique flora and fauna. Being involved in different spheres within the community has fostered a joyful connection to the world and the people in it for Langford.
“It was fun working on different projects and seeing how everyone has a different process for making art and what inspires them,” she said.
The artists’ market scene is also a way for new creators to be supported in starting their business. Reggie Nelson, owner of the Daily Burn Candle Studio, started his business in April 2021.
“I actually worked in insurance for ten years as an adjuster,” he said. “I was content to work 9 to 5, but doing this really opened up a whole new world to me.”
While working from home during the pandemic, he started having headaches from the candles he was burning. Realizing he had an allergy to the paraffin wax contained in the candles he purchased from large retail stores, he decided to embrace the promotion of organic and vegan soy-based candles with fragrances. inspired by his love of music. Surrounded by the scent of sea salt, amber, and oakmoss of “Dream Lover, I Sea You,” candle lit at his fall-themed booth, his easy smiles and funky attitude reflected his new world Vision.
“I’m having a lot of fun,” he said.
Attending events like yesterday has helped Nelson build confidence in his business and in himself. He talked about the community and how he’s met more friends in the last year and a half of running his business than he had in the eight years he’d lived in Gainesville before.
“I owe it all to the support of everyone here,” he said.
The gentle autumn breeze and lazy Sunday afternoon sunshine echoed the sentiment shared by everyone at the event – it was a good day to smile and enjoy art with friends.