Spotlight | Artistic Effort | The Carrolltown woman’s growing business includes more than 50 artisans | entertainment

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EBENSBURG, Pa. – A case of empty-nest blues led Marian Ross to find her artistic passion as the owner of Follow Your Art.

“It started in 2012 when my kids graduated from college, started their own careers and moved away,” said the Carrolltown resident.

“I began breaking glass and repurposing windows into what is now known as ‘Promise Discs.’

“I needed a promising direction to vent my pain when my kids moved away and this name came about.”

Ross said she converted a shed into a pounding glass oasis.

Glass pounding oasis

“I started creating my ‘Panes of Promise’ and it was really a nice retreat after working all day at a job I didn’t love and I couldn’t wait to get home and to create something inspiring,” she said.

“I started telling my family and friends what I was doing, and before I could finish the pieces, they wanted to buy them.”

There is a story behind every part.

“I log and tag them and I know who owns every single piece, up to 73 pieces,” Ross said.

“They were created on large repurposed wooden window frames that I would sand down, but I didn’t repaint or revarnish them because I liked how the window’s history was portrayed. As soon as people knew what I was doing, they gave me windows, and wherever I saw a colored vase or tray, I would grab it and smash it and piece it together into something new.”

She said her designs include everything from flowers to sunrises and dragonflies to fish, underwater and Christmas scenes.

“I went into great detail and they took a lot of time,” Ross said.

mussel manipulation

In 2018, she branched out into the art of shell manipulation, creating her “Timeless Collection” in which she created scenic depictions of nursery rhymes and captured activities.

“I designed glass on window substrates and shells on wooden shadow boxes,” Ross said.

Follow Your Art came about because Ross wanted to get away from attending craft fairs.

“In the fall of 2019, I began investigating other artists who had the same thought process as me, who loved to be creative but didn’t know what to do with their stuff if they weren’t selling it at craft fairs,” she said.

“I was wondering if artists would want to house their art with me.”

coop idea

Ross opened Follow Your Art in May 2020 at 226 W. High St., Ebensburg with the idea that it would be a cooperative where artists could work together to help one another.

The gallery provided artists with a place to sell their art and also facilitated various workshops with local artisans.

“I was there for a year and a half and we advertised on Facebook and people followed and there were ticket sales and workshops,” Ross said.

“We had 1,100 square feet and very little space, but we made it. We had 15 to 20 people that we could do workshops in this space.”

She said every penny made went straight back into the business.

‘Positive place’

“I just wanted a really happy, positive place to work and I wanted other people to come and feel that, and I think they did,” Ross said.

“In the first two years that we have been in business we have supplied over 35 different types of art workshops, so everything from painting to sewing and crocheting to decoupage and glass and shell art.”

She said the business eventually outgrew the space, and in April Follow Your Art moved to the Cambria Office Towers at 313 W. High St., where it occupies the first-floor back suite.

“Having this space, I knew that if my business continued to grow like it did in the first two years, I would never have to move again,” Ross said.

“There are also three free parking spaces right outside.”

Follow Your Art features more than 50 artisans from Cambria, Blair and Huntingdon counties, as well as artists from North Carolina and Peru selling their handmade items.

As art is sold, it is replenished with new pieces at the artist’s discretion.

There are currently 25 workshops on offer including alpaca needle felting, calligraphy and cursive, ceramics, floral applique, jewelry, mixed media, painting, pottery, scrapbooking and tapestry.

New workshops will be added based on interest.

There are workshops for seniors and children.

“We also created Follow Your Art to Littles Landings to keep kids busy throughout the summer,” Ross said.

“So children are teachers, so children teach children.

“We introduce literacy into art.”

A new addition is a Kids Camp, which will be offered from 12 to 2 p.m. from 11 to 15 July.

opening hours

Ross said her hope for Follow Your Art is that people would use the space more often.

“We’re open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. where people can come in and be creative,” she said.

“Now that school is over, kids come in to do projects and they don’t have to do the same thing or have a teacher.

“We introduce them to the art supplies that we keep here, and they can just go into town and use their own imagination to create their own artwork.”

Ross said she never thought Follow Your Art would be so successful and she is grateful for the community’s support.

“There’s so much to do and so much fun to create,” she said. “It’s an inspiring place to come to.”

Follow Your Art is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information call 814-935-7533 or visit www.followyourartinc.com and Facebook at www.facebook.com/fyainc2020.

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