Val Russell likes to be different -- especially when it comes to her art. "It's cute and creepy," she said.
Russell creates cards and pottery with her quirky drawings for her business Psychic Paper. "Before it turned into a business, it's something I enjoyed doing for myself but wouldn't make the time to do it," she said.
Russell draws inspiration from nature. She grew up in St. Johnsbury and was always out in the woods. "I just think its fascinating -- it's vast," she said. Her style is consistent but she's always finding new inspiration. From paper to now pottery -- Russell turned her love of thrift store shopping into her latest venture. She noticed a lot of castaway dishes... and where some saw junk, she found a new canvas. "The shelves are always full of plates and mugs people don't want so I think decorating them is a way to get them back into use," she said.
She's fascinated by anatomy and bone structure in people and animals. Some might be creeped out, but Russell takes the macabre and injects humor. "I'm putting human qualities on these animals. Some of the owls I'll make really awkward and pudgy," she said.
She studied studio art and painting at the University of Vermont but landed a job outside of art. She always kept drawing in her sketchbook. Three months in between jobs, Russell decided to be bold and turn her passion into a business. "When you have something you love and you're putting it out there it's a little nerve wracking, you don't know if people are going to like it," she said.
But people are digging her work -- Russell says sales continue to pick up each week on the online craft site Etsy.
Creepy yet cute -- Made in Vermont art that is drawing people in.