Congratulations Melissa, Liz, Lisa, and Brian! Here’s a bit about the four Massachusetts artists who graduated in December and January:
Melissa Chao is the owner and artist behind To Boldly Fold, a source for unique hand-bound books and paper products. Melissa started making books while working on her BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she was disappointed with the quality of commercially available sketchbooks and journals. Since starting To Boldly Fold in 2009, Melissa has sold thousands of books through her Etsy site and in a variety of retail locations. With her A4A funds, Melissa plans to invest in an advertising campaign to help bring her exquisite products to a wider market.
Liz DeMarco, together with business partner Nan Bookless (also an A4A grantee), creates custom design for print and web at the Pittsfield-based design studio BookMarc Creative. In its tenth year, BookMarc Creative has garnered multiple design awards for a range of projects done for clients throughout the northeast. Liz will apply her A4A funds toward marketing efforts and professional development, building the skills that will allow her to stay competitive in a fast-changing design market.
Lisa Garbutt is a graphic designer with a passion for natural fibers, spinning, and color theory. Her Color Wheel Fiber Studio (website in progress) is gearing up to open its studio space to the public at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, MA. Lisa is working on an inventory of gorgeous hand-dyed fiber products and handmade tools for spinners. With the support of A4A funds, Lisa is aiming to build Color Wheel Fiber Studio into a self-sustaining business to which she can dedicate herself full-time. In Lisa’s words, “It’s all coming together — and very colorful!”
Brian Bahia runs the Lowell-based digital marketing company Stellar Web Studios. In addition to professional website design, Stellar Web Studios provides sales and marketing guidance, content expertise, and search engine optimization. Started in 2011, Stellar Web Studios now has a storefront location in downtown Lowell, making it a friendly and accessible presence in the community. Brian will apply his A4A funds toward equipment purchases and some sleeker online marketing tools.