Words and photos by Olivia Bauso
It’s no secret the Rochester community is full of young creatives supporting each other’s hustles. But for Kelsey Schmid, growing up in Rochester didn’t seem as cool as it does now.
Longridge Elementary Art Teacher and handmade paper goods maker Kelsey Schmid has lived in Rochester her whole life. She wasn’t in love with the idea of staying in her hometown for college, but was drawn to Nazareth’s Art Education program. After earning her Undergraduate and Graduate degrees from the college, she opted to stay in her native city as she began in find a place for herself in the local artist community.
kelseyschmidart is the product of Kelsey’s personal journey to find herself in her work again. After being hired for full-time work right out of undergrad and taking a part-time position at her church, Kelsey felt like she lost herself in the routine of her life. She says, “There was a stretch of time where I felt like I left myself. I didn’t realize how much I needed to be creating art.” After making this realization, Kelsey would sit down each night and carve a stamp, or make something that was just for her. Ironically, her friends began to notice, and asked for custom creations for themselves, too.
It’s been almost a year since Kelsey attended her first craft show, where she sold 300 ornaments on her first try. In addition to seasonal goods and some ceramic pieces, Kelsey primarily sells custom-designed cards and prints made by hand. Each card or print is made with hand-carved stamps and is hand-printed onto the paper. Everything else is hand-painted or hand-lettered by Kelsey herself. “I don’t do anything digital,” she laughs. She explains, “I took graphic design classes in college and I just hated sitting in front of the computer. I love active making, so even if I did do graphics I would just draw and scan them in.”
Kelsey has always loved getting her hands dirty with her work. Her primary medium for most of her career has been ceramics, though she discovered her liking for printmaking in college. Her first mentor was actually her ceramics teacher in high school, who was the first person to really encourage Kelsey to pursue art education. “My dream job is still to teach high school ceramics,” Kelsey tells me. She adds, “The art room was always my favorite place to be. I want to create that type of community for my students.”
Hanging out in the art room is still Kelsey’s favorite place to be -- metaphorically, that is. She says, “The Rochester community is so encouraging and amazing. There are so many shops and shows and people that I feel connected to. My favorite part of selling at shows is getting to know the artists around me.” Kelsey hopes to continue nesting herself into the local art scene as she delves deeper into kelseyschmidart.
This season, Kelsey aims to make 1000 ornaments to sell at 8 upcoming holiday craft shows. She will also be rolling out a line of Christmas Cards, including a holiday version of her best seller, the Genesee Beer print. Customers will even be able to order cards from her in bulk, in lieu of grabbing a box of blanks at their nearest drug store. Kelsey creates new designs for her work based on the holidays, seasons and her surroundings. Some of her other recent designs were inspired by sitting at Rochester Brainery, looking at the variety of plants. Kelsey says, “Most of my designs are nature inspired or drawn from what I like. I hope other people like them, too!”
Kelsey’s paper goods can be bought through her Etsy shop, where you can request custom orders, or by private messaging her on Instagram. Her cards and prints are also sold at Little Button Craft in the South Wedge and at Fred Homemade Wares in Buffalo.
Want more kelseyschmidart? Here’s where to find her this holiday season:
- 10/14 Rochester Brainery Bazaar
- 10/20 Stamp Your Own Pillowcase Class at Little Button Craft
- 11/4-11/5 Mayday! Underground
- 11/11 Rochester Brainery Bazaar
- 11/18 Pop-up Shop at Little Button Craft
- 11/25 Roc Market @ the Armory
- 12/9 Holiday Brainery Bazaar Sponsored by Yelp Rochester
Kelsey Schmid will be joining us and tons of other great artists at this month’s Brainery Bazaar. Stop by on February 10th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to buy from Rochester’s art community. As always, the first 25 attendees will receive a FREE Rochester Brainery tote bag stuffed with goodies from our talented vendors.