When it comes to my automatic outlet for purchasing art, I always find myself gravitating to I Say Grace, an Etsy shop run by Meg Sanders, an indomitable creative force that has inspired me for years. Meg is the person who motivated me to pursue an English degree several years ago, and she has continued to be a dear friend and mentor, despite the fact that she and her husband live all the way in Germany now!
Meg’s mission with I Say Grace is to make art accessible, personalized, and evocative. Meg specializes in watercolor paintings, which is one of my favorite mediums; the marriage of playfulness and elegance in Meg’s watercolors perfectly matches not only her personality, but the subjects she paints.
There’s tremendous warmth and character in Meg’s work, an element that sets I Say Grace apart as a business. Custom artwork is usually pricey, so with I Say Grace Meg wanted to create special pieces that were personalized yet affordable. She started selling her work during college when the need for extra funds (and running out of space to store her art!) set her thinking about starting an Etsy shop.
Since then, I Say Grace has developed into a hearty side business, and Meg has really come into her own style. Meg emphasizes her passion for capturing an essence in her paintings that goes beyond the subject: illustrating people’s important moments and memories, or breathing personality into what would otherwise be a simple object.
This is exactly what I consider Meg’s specialty–I think of it as “Still Life Creative Spaces.” Meg shared with me that her favorite thing to paint is personal work areas that capture a creative process.
One of my favorite things about my interview with Meg was getting to hear her passion for community and artwork. Meg and her husband, Aaron, have been living in Germany for over a year now, and though I know she dearly misses South Carolina, her adventures in Europe are fascinating to follow.
Listening to Meg share about Germany’s mindset with small businesses and community is something I found inspiring, and close to the heart of what Ivy&Branch seeks to develop. When Meg began talking about her philosophy on art and small businesses, I started typing fast, because I knew I wouldn’t want to miss a word of what she was saying:
“Where you buy your art—where you buy anything—matters. If you go get mass-produced art and decorations from Wal-Mart, then you’re just consuming something that’s not unique. It’s not made for you. It takes thought on your part and the artist’s part to make something special. What you buy shows what you value: individuality, hard work, community…local artists are community. You contribute to the community when you contribute to artists–and you know, happiness exists in communities, not consumerism.” -Meg Sanders
Meg is full of quotes like this, which is why I love being around her. She exudes graciousness, creative spirit, and intentionality, and all of those qualities come out in her artwork. She will bend over backwards to make your requests come to life–I should know, as I made an unusual request about a year ago when I ordered some I Say Grace note cards for a friend who loved (of all things!) manatees. Despite the oddity of the subject, however, Meg painted perfect manatees on the cards and my friend absolutely adored them. I mean, where else can you get manatee-themed stationery?
Meg also runs a fantastic travel blog (Experience Is An Arch) where her English major background shines through; the blog is excellently written, and she features the everyday details of life in Germany (or wherever her adventures take her!)
Custom art, whether it’s painted on a canvas or on a set of note cards for a friend, is a true pleasure, and I Say Grace always delivers artwork that is unique, thoughtful, and beautifully rendered. You would be hard-pressed to find an artist with as much integrity and warmth as Meg, and her paintings are a delight. Whether you’re looking for a special painting to hang on your wall, or a customized gift for a loved one, check out I Say Grace on Etsy, and rest assured that you are supporting a vibrant artist who delights in her work.