The Wishing Bag – Spring – Number Three – Interview with TessAndIvy – Handpainted Wood

Spring Shops Banner copy

Spring is in the air so I went to see TessAndIvy

Hand Painted Polka Dots – Wood Bowl – Leaf Dish – Green, Lime Green, Yellow Green – Mid Century Modern Monkey Pod by TessAndIvy

Hundreds of tiny dots, nestling together in a wooden bowl. Many different colours, each individual and a perfect circle.They remind of the impressionist paintings I have seen hanging in a Paris museum.  Thousands of dots, each painted one at a time, the colours shading into one another. Up close it looks a mess, but stand back and it comes to life . I love many forms of Impressionism and Pointillism in particular. Paul Signac is one of my favorite artists. I have postcards of his paintings pinned up on my pin board (I mean a real board sitting above my desk).

In the spring is easy just to see the colours of the flowers, rich and yet gentle, across fields, trees and windowsills but stop to look underneath and there is the green. Hundreds of shades of vibrant dancing greens: on the leaves, stalks and in the grass. This piece from TessAndIvy reminded me to looking past the flowers, kneeling down on the ground and observe more closely. I always feel that nature is the most balanced palate of colours you’ll ever find and proof (if needed) is in the green: the perfect colour for setting off the multi hue flower heads.

Tess And Ivy opened summer last year and it’s owner and designer Cathey hails from Texas USA. Her shop is full of vintage wooden bowls (in all shapes and sizes) that have been given a new life with a layer of paint. Cathey hand painted the hundreds of dots, matching colours and patience to create these works of art . As well as an artistic statement these bowls also talk of recycling and the importance of re-using things – I have a friend who loves to paint old pieces of furniture. It’s always surprising what a layer of paint will do for something.  The images below say just that. Catehy’s products will make perfect gifts for anyone, no one can ever have enough containers after all. A perfect housewarming or hostess present too. 

In Spain we don’t really have the four normal seasons. Just a long dry summer and a wet (and slighty colder) period. Most of the trees are evergreens and the ones that do lose their leaves, do so in the summer when they are shriveled into dust by the sun.  Spring lasts about a month, just after the rain and before the hot sun. It’s beautiful. Hillsides covered in wild flowers, sunny barmy picnic weather, bees, sweet fragrance. Even though it’s at least several weeks till Spring, I decided to celebrate my favorite time of year with a series of shops.  Everyone has their own way of viewing their art, colours and feelings on Spring, so I look forward to all the different answers.  Lets see what Cathey says!

Interview with Cathey

Hand Painted Polka Dots – Heart Wood Bowl – Spade Tray – Ring Holder Dish – Brown, Tan, Yellow, Cream, Taupe – Mid Century Modern Monkey Pod by TessAndIvy

What led you to painting on wood and your art?

Painting runs in my family. My grandma was an amazing oil painter and my mom paints scenes with acrylics. I decided to try my hand at painting and quickly realized that working on canvas was not my cup of tea. So I started eyeing my collection of vintage monkey pod pieces. I grabbed a scratched up bowl, started painting, and never looked back!




Hand Painted Polka Dots Wood Bowl – Wooden Diamond Dish – Turquoise, White, Tan – Mid Century Modern Monkey Pod – Ring Holder Dish

 What’s your favourite or most rewarding part of your process?

My absolute favorite step in each piece is adding the varnish. Before varnishing, the pieces are matte and slightly dull to look at. But once the varnish goes on, they come to life! They take on a beautiful, shiny, and vivid appearance, and I love seeing the transformation.





Ring Holder Dish – Hand Painted Polka Dots – Wood Bowl – Apple Tray – Red, Brown, Tan – Mid Century Modern Monkey Pod


My inspiration comes from a few places. I have always loved Pointillism paintings by George Seurat. I loved seeing how hundreds of tiny dots combined to form a beautiful picture, but his work takes a level of skill I don’t possess.

While visiting the koalas at the zoo one day, inspiration struck again. The walls inside the koala exhibit were decorated with Aboriginal dot art. I absolutely loved the way the bright dots popped on the black background. While the use of designs and patterns was beautiful, I discovered that I much more prefer a free and random approach to my dots.



Hand Painted Polka Dots – Wood Bowl – Pineapple Dish – Purple, Lavender, and White – Mid Century Modern Monkey Pod – Radiant Orchid Decor by TessAndIvy

Are colours important to your work? If so which are the ones you use most and why?

Colors are extremely important in my work. I have numerous sheets of black paper that I experiment on. I work somewhat obsessively on color combinations, experimenting over and over again until I’m completely happy with them. I started out painting more multi-colored pieces, but over time I’ve gravitated towards more monochromatic color schemes. I still love painting both, but I think the monochromatic pieces are more striking.

My current favorite colors to paint with are turquoise, green, and purple, but it’s always changing!



Do you have a favourite product in your shop?

My favorite piece right now is my turtle.  I love his unique shape and how his slightly lighter color compliments the bright greens. I’ll definitely be sad to see him go!

Hand Painted Polka Dots – Wood Bowl – Turtle Shaped Dish – Green, Lime Green, Yellow Green – Mid Century Modern Wooden Tray by TessAndIvy

What do you like best about Spring?

I love Spring! I adore seeing everything come back to life around me. There’s nothing more beautiful than watching the Red Buds, Bradford Pears, and Peach trees start blossoming in gorgeous pastel colors, the flowers blooming in vivid hues, and my yard suddenly becoming a playground for fluffy baby bunnies. It’s such a happy and hopeful time of year, and I look forward to it every winter!

Thank you Cathey from TessAndIvy!

That’s it for the second in this series.  Don’t forget to check out the Shop and you can also find TessAndIvy on Facebook.

Check back next Saturday for the next shop in this series!

Have a creative day!




8 thoughts on “The Wishing Bag – Spring – Number Three – Interview with TessAndIvy – Handpainted Wood

  1. meg says:

    I love Tess and Ivy’s work. The choice of colors and dots, which I LOVE, has caught my eye in the past. Appreciate learning a little more about the artist and her work. Thanks!!

  2. Black Raven Creations says:

    I love,love,love Tess’s work. I think each and every creation is amazing!!
    Thank you so much for sharing with everyone such amazing shops and shop owners from our Handmade by me team!!!

    • MaatSilk says:

      I love her work too! I am really glad you liked the article. I love being able to feature handmade shops. I am always on the look out for new shops to add to my list.

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