3 St. Louis Artisans on the Rise: Greeting Cards, Textiles and Candles

 In Guide, Style

Each month, Guided: St. Louis showcases three artisans who bring beautiful, innovative products into the world. Below, the creative minds behind The Busy Bandit, Melaknee Art and Tru Candle Studio discuss their creative process.

Photo courtesy of Emily Gualdoni.

Emily Gualdoni of The Busy Bandit
Illustrator and St. Louis native Emily Gualdoni creates colorful greeting cards that perfectly marry vintage style with modern, punny humor. Perfect for when you need to say, “Quit Robin My Heart,” or, “You Are Sew Cool,” Gualdoni’s cards bring charm to every expression. She has even created a line of St. Louis-specific cards that celebrate the character of individual neighborhoods. 

Guided: How does St. Louis inspire your illustrations?
From growing up in Tower Grove South to buying a home in Carondelet, I have always loved the diversity of our neighborhoods. My greeting cards highlight the different parts of St. Louis with simple drawings of landmarks, followed by a cheesy pun. (I call them my local pickup lines!) The architecture in this city is truly a gem. Drawing house portraits allows me to show off all the old architectural features and styles found here. St. Louis has lots to celebrate—I try to capture it on paper and pass it along.

Photo courtesy of Melanie Pailer.

Melanie Pailer of Melaknee Art
While artist Melanie Pailer’s primary focus is hand-dyed textiles, she also has a background in painting and printmaking. Through Melaknee Art, she brings whimsy and painterly aesthetic to one-of-a-kind silk scarves and hand-dyed decor. With recurring motifs of birds, butterflies and flowers, Pailer’s love of nature shines through across her work.

Guided: Where does a new design begin for you? 
I love to work in a series, so when I begin, I start with a goal in mind: to explore a technique, concept, color palette, etc. I design each piece individually while also considering how it contributes to the whole series. Having some sort of thread that ties everything together helps keep me focused as a designer. Once the individual pieces are complete, I’m able to spend some time curating and combining panels into various arrangements, allowing me to engage with my own work even after it’s complete!

Photo courtesy of Julia Tynes.

Julia Tynes of Tru Candle Studio
A St. Louis-based luxury fragrance company, Tru Candle Studio produces a range of eco-friendly soy candles all poured by hand. With classic seasonal scents like Tannenbaum and Spiced Pumpkin and unique varieties like Avocado Sea Salt and Ginger Tea, Julia Tynes knows how to combine scents that set a cozy, relaxing mood.

Guided: What inspired you to create your own line of candles?
Tru Candle Studio was born out of my love of travel, nature and memories of growing up in St. Louis. Our sense of smell is so powerful and closely linked to memories of our past: an autumn walk, a beach vacation, holidays with family. I was motivated to create a line of soy-wax candles after I noticed that the paraffin candles from the mall stores emitted an abundance of black soot when burned. This consequence is largely due to the fact that paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum. Soy wax is nontoxic, making it a much better alternative for both the environment and your health. It is our hope that when you burn our candles, they evoke fond memories of your past. Our line is thoughtfully and ethically designed in our studio. We use cotton wicks and incredible scents, and our line is always produced by hand.

Featured image courtesy of Emily Gualdoni.

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