Kijsa Housman has been taking Etsy by storm with her burlap pillows, chalkboards, and Verses of the Week. Of course, everyone here at HerKentucky first noticed all the My Old Kentucky home pieces that now grace every single one of our Christmas lists!
Best part? She lives in Paducah and we are totally friends! So, I sat down (actually we stood because that's how crazy busy she is!) with the incredibly talented Kijsa for a quick chat about art, Kentucky, and dual citizenship.
HK: How long have you been doing this?
KH: This art thing? 20 years! I started with large scale murals and a lot of theatrical design. My first studio was in Lexington and I was there for eight years. Some notable projects I did were The State Theater - that was a 10,000 square foot mural I did by myself on 30 feet of scaffolding and it took several months. That was a state commission. I did a painting for The Children’s Theater, The Children’s Hospital, the PBS affiliates, and PBS products.
That morphed in to doing residential murals as well. I did a combination of that. We moved to Paducah about 10 years ago.
HK: Are you from here?
KH: I’m originally from Dallas. I’m a Texas girl. My husband is from here and my children are from all over! One was born in Lexington. One was born in Paducah. One was born in Seoul.
HK: We’ll give you a pass! Did you study art or are you self-taught?
KH: I'm classically trained. Undergraduate BFA in painting then graduate degree in art history then moved to Kentucky. I supported my husband through school on art! That’s pretty much all I’ve done professionally is paint.
HK: When did you start doing the Kentucky pillows and Old Kentucky Home signs?
KH: I moved into the decorative aspects here and there just as filler in between. When you’re the sole income, you get real creative as an artist. I really started emphasizing a lot of the Kentucky stuff in the last few years.
My motto is accessible art and I think the decorative arts is great for that.
HK: Do consider yourself a Kentuckian after 20 years?
KH: You’re asking a Texan that! I will claim dual citizenship.
HK: I know the Verses of the Week are a huge project for you right now. Tell us about that.
KH: The Verse of the Week I started doing a little over two years ago and that has become a very signature thing. It started with a gift for a friend - coming up with something that would be useful and beautiful and inspiring all at the same time. It’s really turned into something that I consider more than work. It’s a ministry.
I’ve had so many people tell me that the simple act of putting the verse on the board made it intentional. I even offer my signature writing on a decal so if you already had a chalkboard you can put it on there. It’s the simple act of making it intentional.
HK: Any advice to aspiring artists?
KH: Lots of caffeine. No sleep. And work 28 hours a day!
Kijsa is giving away a Verses of the Week vinyl so you can create intentional art in your own home!
Enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below. The contest runs through midnight on Wednesday, December 18th.