On our annual family snowboarding trip, we always pass through the same quaint little artistic town of Thomas, West Virginia – a small haven in the hills, housing a bouquet of bright and colorful talent.

It is a family ritual of ours to check out the art and music in this little scene, often times buying more than planned and repacking the car in order to fit everything on the way home. Not the worst struggle to have. This year I had a slightly different experience from the past fifteen family trips, however. As I was helping my family choose a scarf to purchase, which would later serve as a gift for my classy little Grandma, I stumbled upon the gift’s designer, a beautiful young lady by the name of Nellie Rose. This opened a whole new avenue of inspiration for me.

I mentioned my admiration for the Japanese-like pleats in her scarf collection and she began telling me stories of her apprenticeship in Japan, and before long we were nerding out on fashion and travel. A bird from my own nest! After a long conversation about design, she invited me to return the next day to check out her home studio. I couldn’t believe her generosity.

Studios can be such magical places. They are windows into the souls of the designers who inhabit them. Studios reflect personality, passion, curiosity, and creativity. They hold intimate ideas and alluring inspiration!

And for Nellie Rose, her studio is also her home. What a treat to have this opportunity – to explore into this little mountainside gem with Nellie Rose, herself!

Nellie Rose led me into her studio and showed me in the ins and outs of creating her unique designs. She presented her trademark silk fabrics which are to DYE for – pun intended. I got to see a display of how she hand paints her designs onto these silk fabrics, and then the process of setting in the dye. Yes, she HAND PAINTS all of her fabrics!

Once the fabrics are painted, dried, and ready to be cut and sewn into garments, they make their way up to the loft where the construction takes place.

The construction of these garments is totally fun and games for Nellie Rose. She doesn’t normally have a plan in mind before creating these painted canvases into wearable garments. Nellie Rose experiments, rolls with the punches, and has a lot of fun in the process.

Once the garments are complete, they are carried down to the gallery below her studio where curious tourists come and peruse through the local treasures. If the beauty of the uniquely handpainted designs aren’t already enough to pull someone in, the soft organic touch of the silk fabrics will be.

These garments are casual with a luxurious feel. They reflect individuality and confidence – something that is especially important in today’s world. So if you get a chance to stop through Thomas, West Virginia, Nellie Rose is an artist not to be missed! You can find her collections at the Lamplight Gallery. And if that’s just a bit out of your way, you can check out her designs here on her page.

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