Katy's Wheeling :: Her Home Studio
What is your Wheeling?
My favorite space in the world is my home studio. I own and operate a small, handmade business within these four walls and it is truly where I spend the majority of my time. It's messy. Always. I considered cleaning it up a little before we took these pictures but I thought it would be more authentic to show "my Wheeling" in it's truest form: a hot mess. Fabric, thread, yarn, paper, packages, tshirts, and supplies are stacked up and spilling out of every corner. But it's the perfect place to allow my creativity to flow. The art of making is messy, and so am I. It's reflected in my home base, that's for sure.
Are you a transplant? What brought you here?
I was born and raised in northern Michigan. After graduating high school in the 2003, I attended college at WVU and was instantly hooked on the Mountain state. There's something about the spirit and the heart of West Virginia that you can't find anywhere else. How could you not want to be a part of it? While at WVU, I met Bennett, we fell in love over a game or two of beer pong, decided Morgantown wasn't where we needed to be anymore, and moved to Michigan to live near my family for a little while. We only lived in Michigan for about a year before we moved to Wheeling in 2008, and we have been here ever since.
To be brutally honest, I hated living here. Hated it. For a good couple of years. It's hard to be a 20-something year old in a new town. I was working in an office where the majority of my coworkers were ten plus years older than me. I wasn't in college anymore, or working retail with a bunch of peers...it was hard. And it was lonely. It wasn't Wheeling's fault, we just weren't used to life outside of Morgantown. Bennett and I knew that Wheeling is a great place to raise a family, and the only reason we could stay here was by making this our city. We made a huge effort to get involved with everything. We attended as many events as we could, and volunteered our services where we felt they could be useful. And eventually we became so smitten with, and so absorbed by, everything Wheeling that it was obvious we would make it our forever home. With our network of talented, hard-working, ridiculously awesome friends growing every day...it's hard to imagine I ever had that feeling of loneliness. Living in Wheeling is like getting a big, warm hug on a daily basis.
What makes Wheeling unique?
I really couldn't love that Wheeling is an arts community more than I do. Everywhere you go in town, you see evidence of artists growing and thriving and producing art. Even our parking meters in Centre Market are covered in creatively decorated pieces of work. I love that we have multiple festivals (with Oglebayfest, the Arts and Culture Festival, as well as others) that literally celebrate makers in the city. The Artisan Center is well stocked with locally handmade pieces. And we have a life-sized elephant made out of steel, living in a pocket park on a main strip in town. It's just incredible. We aren't a big city, and yet so many artisans are able to be supported by the people of Wheeling. It's pretty great.