Artisan Spotlight: Meet Michelle!

The small details in the decor are my favorite part about a room. The pieces that you don’t notice right away but when you do, really make the room special. In a nursery or child’s room, little accents like colored drawer pulls, an embellished lamp shade, and even whimsical switchplates and outlet covers are clever touches that can complete a theme and make a room unique. Today I’d like to introduce Michelle Turek Mittelman who makes these whimsical switchplates and outlet covers (available here) with charming add-ons and then hand paints each one for a true, one-of-a-kind addition to your room. However, Michelle’s talents don’t stop there! She is also an amazing photographer but with a very specific subject; pets! Dogs especially! As a serious dog lover, I wanted to share some of her amazing pet photography along with incredible pottery skills in this interview. So, I invite you to meet Michelle and remember the small things.

How would you define your company’s style philosophy?

Our philosophy is to create a beautiful and unique piece of functional art.

What inspired you to become a designer and start a business?

I have always been creative. Oddly, I found myself in a corporate banking career which really starved me of creativity. I started my company in 2006 in my basement. I am energized by how many people love my pieces.

While still working as a commercial banker, and running my handpainted art business, I was still hungry for more creativity! I started Gray Dog Pet Photography in late 2010.  Capturing the bond between a dog and their people is so incredible and I am honored to provide this in the form of art. I have a camera and will travel outside of Central Virginia!

Why did you choose to design hand painted switchplates and outlet covers?

Didn’t someone once say if you can’t find it, make it and sell it? Well, my story goes something like that. I tried to find a cute switchplate cover for my new niece and nephew’s room and couldn’t. So, I started making them!

What is your favorite part of your daily work when you reflect on the day, what is most rewarding?

I love the shipping part as much as the painting! It is so cool to package these babies up and send them on their way to their new home!!! I also love opening the kiln to see the final product as they look completely different than the way they went in. It is pretty neat!

If you had to pick a favorite piece from your collection, what would it be?

Well, I am a farm girl, so of course I love the cow. 🙂 But, I’d say my very favorite switchplate design right now is the giraffe or the firetruck.

What sets your company apart from other designers in your industry?

I’d say that the main difference is that my CEO and CFO have 4 paws and a tail.

Do you have any news that you would like to share, perhaps about upcoming designs or introductions to your line?

Yes! Long at last, new designs are coming by the end of Summer 2012! Check back!!!!

Here are few more adorable shots from Michelle’s photography! Check out her photography website here

Now…Just for Fun

Favorite Food (plural) 🙂 Ice Cream–Coffee flavored, Peach Pie, Rice Krispie Treats (I do eat healthy, really–but those foods aren’t my FAVORITE)

Favorite TV Show The Closer

Favorite Movie Oh wow….too many! Wedding Crashers, Pursuit of Happyness, The Blind Side

Favorite Weekend Activity Hiking with the Weimaraners, Making French Press Coffee, and a nap

Favorite Band Train, Paolo Nutini, John Mayer

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