1) Introduce yourself:
Good Courage Handmade: I’m a stay-at-home mom of 3 kids. I’ve always loved creating things and I worked in stained glass for a number of years. But I’ve only recently found a way to do something that feels like my own.
2) What is your art about?
GCH: I design, build, and paint “barn quilts,” which are quilt block designs painted on wood panels and mounted outdoors on buildings. Originally they were meant to display on barns, but barn quilts aren’t just for barns anymore!. The barn quilt movement started in 2001 in Ohio and has spread throughout rural America and Canada. I do mostly smaller pieces intended for garages or garden sheds, or as indoor wall hangings.
My work is about adding color to unexpected places.
When the pandemic began, people in our town began decorating their windows with colorful designs and encouraging messages. It was a way to foster a sense of togetherness and community in the midst of isolation.
3) What inspires you?
GCH: I love to see pops of color in unexpected places. Traveling across the state of Iowa, there are barn quilts hung on the weathered old barns of family farms. In the endless expanse of those wide open fields, to me it feels like hope when I stumble across this bright piece of art in the rural landscape. If I can make someone else feel that way, then I’m satisfied. That possibility is inspiring to me.
4) When did you start Good Courage Handmade?
GCH: I started doing this at the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020.
5) What medium do you work with?
GCH: I use weather resistant, professional sign board and high quality exterior paint.
6) What is your art making process like?
GCH: I build the panels from weather resistant signboard, and seal them thoroughly with caulk and a special primer. My designs are done on a computer, then transferred to the panel. Each color in the design is masked off and painted one a time. It’s so satisfying to remove the final piece of tape and see how it’s all come together!
7) How did you think to start Good Courage Handmade?
GCH: When the pandemic began, people in our town started to decorate their windows with bright colors and encouraging messages. It was a way to foster a sense of togetherness and community in the midst of our isolation. I had seen barn quilts displayed on barns across the state of Iowa, and always wanted one of my own. So that spring, I built my first barn quilt and mounted it on our garage. I love to think of barn quilts as a type of public art.
8) How does your business work?
GCH: I sell completed pieces via my online shop. I also love to do custom work. Sometimes people come to me with a request for a design that will match their home. I work with the client to find a design and color scheme that is meaningful to them.
9) How did the pandemic affect your business?
GCH: I think a lot of people turned to art when the pandemic began, as a way to work out our collective frustration and create something beautiful. Art has been such a soothing remedy.
10) Will you expand your business?
GCH: I would love to be able to do some full-sized 8x8 barn quilts for barns on family farms. Right now, I work in my basement, and don’t have the space to do work that size, so I keep it small. But I definitely want to expand the scope of what I’m doing.
11) What hobbies do you do when you aren’t working?
GCH: I’m a homebody, a reader, a gardener. My work is my home and my home is my work. It all runs together for me, as a mother and a homemaker.
12) What about your craft are you most passionate about?
GCH: I love color, geometry, and symmetry. It’s so satisfying to find a new way to pair colors in a traditional pattern that’s been used for generations.
13) What state in the Midwest are you in?
GCH: I’m located near Madison, Wisconsin.
14) Where can people find you on social media?
15) What’s your website?