After just two months of running her business in the Old Salmon Gums School building at Museum Village, Ker'Arty AWA owner Kerry Dixon said she feels like she is living her dream.
Ms Dixon is committed to creating art with attitude, producing locally made, original and quirky gifts alongside other talented Esperance creatives including Mermaid Leather, IsaDora Designs and Picturesque.by.elodie.
After more than a year of working in her family shed and “stashing” her creations in a tub, Ms Dixon said she knew she needed a retail outlet for her work.
“I have always done some kind of craft work and I am a beach bum,” she said.
“Going on the beach and finding beautiful shells, bits of wood and rocks, which I love, and then needing to go further with them [creatively] rather than just putting them in a corner.
“I was stashing my creations in a tub and it got to the point where I had a fair amount there and was looking at it thinking ‘this is half decent’.
“I needed a retail outlet for my art.
“This opportunity came up and we were very lucky to get it because we’re in a prime position here [in Museum Village].”
All of the art pieces are made right here in Esperance from locally sourced materials, something Ms Dixon said she was particularly passionate about.
For Ms Dixon, it is about being environmentally conscious and upcycling and recycling materials to create pieces that are entirely unique.
“’Ker’Arty’ has always been my art name – it’s art with attitude,” she said.
“Everything is made and sourced locally, upcycled or recycled.
“A lot of the materials used by both myself and IsaDora Designs is from the op shop.
“The four of us are reusing, recycling or using things we find – making something out of nothing.
“What I’m most passionate about is that everything is local, that there’s nothing imported in there.
“Ok, the bead might have come from China but it’s from an op shop in Esperance and it’s been used in Esperance.
“There is so much talent around Esperance, you can find everything you need.
“Those [Tourists] coming off the cruise ships, international tourists, they’ll often pick something up and ask if I made it.
“I also do custom made gifts.
“If someone wants to bring in trinkets that their little kids have given them over the years or something, they can pick out a piece of wood, some extra beads and I’m happy to make it for them.”
For Ms Dixon, creating art is a labour of love – often arriving to open the shop several hours early simply because she enjoys being there.
“I’m living my dream – I haven’t actually worked towards this, it just happened,” she said.
“I’ll arrive and open the shop hours early because I just enjoy being in here.
“I’m just really happy to be in here with the other three bodies.
“We’ve all got something different to offer people.
“People can come in here and just treat it like a gallery, walk around, ask questions.
“They might remember they have a heap of old beads at home and I’ll explain how I do it.
“I just want it to be a shop that’s welcoming, somewhere where people don’t feel pressure to buy something.
“I want them to look, walk around, pick the items up.
“Bring your pets in, too.”
Ker’Arty AWA is open Monday to Friday, from 10am until 4pm and on Saturday mornings and Sunday during the Market Days.
To find out more, or to contact Ms Dixon, visit the business’ Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/fishnfolkart/