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Carol's Story

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Carol loves to make stuff

In 1971, Carol bought some clay and a potter’s wheel, built a kiln in her backyard, and taught herself to throw pots. While her kids napped and played on the “clean” half of the basement, Carol made mugs, fondue pots, hummingbird feeders--you name it, she made it.

In 1981, after years of selling her wares at a local artist co-op, small craft fairs, and Christmas home shows Carol brought her collection to the Ann Arbor Street Fair. She hoped to sell goods to adopt a child from Korea. The show was a success and less than eight months later, their son arrived!

In 1985, to add interest to her booth at the Ann Arbor Street Fair, Carol made a few nativity sets (one of which was an Asian set, inspired by her son). Carol’s customers loved the nativities and within a single hour, they all sold.

After the success of the show, Carol realized she had too many ideas to fit into the tiny pottery studio in the basement of her home, so, she rented space in an old warehouse downtown. The big space and big windows gave Carol big ideas and big dreams.

Art Folk is Born

In 1993, Carol opened a craft gallery called Art Folk with a fellow artist. In addition to the two hundred different artists and product lines, the gallery featured Carol's work. Carol created a new line specifically for Art Folk called “arty folk”, a whimsical line of dancing silhouettes designed with colored pencil on a black background. She even made metal versions of the silhouettes for the garden.

After working with clay, colored pencil, and rusted metal Carol decided she wanted to learn to paint. In 1995, Carol placed an order for five hundred cutout stars in multiple sizes—a simple shape to try painting in various patterns. When the order arrived at her door, the number had somehow multiplied into five THOUSAND, forcing Carol to get creative and learn to paint! Once the stars were painted (and amazingly reordered), she started cutting hundreds of different designs out of metal–from cute kids to flowers to dogs and trees—and painting them!

Carol Roeda Studio Begins

During November and December of 2001, Carol opened a temporary store, called Carol Roeda Studio. Within 2 weeks of signing the short-term lease, Carol had the space completely filled. In addition to the garden dancers, the colorful line of silhouettes, and the clay nativities her loyal customers knew and loved Carol filled the store with her newest creations: the hand-painted metal pieces . The joy Carol felt creating her art translated into a joyful store that her customers loved. The two month pop-up was a huge success so she did it the next year too. By the end of the second Christmas season, customers convinced Carol she needed to stay; so in the spring of 2003, Carol opened her store permanently.

In 2004, after Carol’s first two grandchildren were born on the east side of the state, Carol couldn’t stay away. She opened a second store in Ann Arbor, just blocks from one grandchild and a short drive to the other. Located in the heart of downtown, this store gives Carol a yearlong connection with her faithful street fair customers and a perfect spot to meet new ones.

Today

Despite the economy, Carol’s stores have thrived. Carol’s customers love to support a Michigan artist, a Michigan store, and a business that exudes joy and hope through its color, playful patterns, and unique way of engaging the customer.

In 2010, Carol teamed up with DEMDACO to launch Embellish Your Story by Roeda. This line of Carol’s charming magnets, now hand-painted in China, introduces Carol’s art to a wider and wonderful new audience that love the opportunity to create and embellish their own story using her whimsical designs.

The success of this line has given Carol lots of new opportunities for design, which is good because Carol does not like to be idle. Every morning, after a cup of coffee on the love-seat with her husband, Carol makes her way downtown to her old warehouse studio, where she's working on her newest project, Color Out the Darkness.