Sitting by the warmth of her electric fireplace, Carrie Moran-McCleary works on a new piece of beadwork for one of many upcoming events where she will display as part of her unique brand, Plains Soul.
“We’re not quite finished yet. We still have a ways to go, but right now it looks a lot better” Moran-McCleary says with a chuckle.
However, to the untrained eye, the studio with its immaculately designed layout, never ceases to amaze you the more you look at it. Everywhere you look, every single piece of the studio has a story to it. Much of the studio's decor features vintage luggage, furniture, appliances, and suitcases, each of which have their own unique stories and backgrounds.
While some of the furniture in the studio is new, it is the newly reupholstered chairs that Moran-McCleary made out of furniture well over 100 years old that truly catch one's eye. No one knows where they came from or their backgrounds, but now that they have made their way to Two Leggins, they have found a most wonderful home and a very bright future.
The vintage look may not be the image for some, but how it is presented makes the difference. Alongside her own incredible creations, Moran-McCleary also features many historic beadwork pieces collected over the years, such as tipi bags, tobacco bags and containers, most of which range in age from 100 to 150 years old.
With such carefully curated spaces, one can easily get lost in appreciating the artistry it took to plan it all so elegantly. From the trim on the walls, to the sewing table, to the love seat, Moran-McCleary speaks on how long the process took to create the studio, gather the materials needed to fill up the studio, and how her family is at the focus of the entire project.
“I had so much stuff stored in so many places, it was insane,” says Moran-McCleary, “If it weren’t for my kids, I don’t think I could have pulled it off.”
With the help of her husband Tim, her two children Katie and Austin and their spouses, Leah and Erin, as well as her grandchildren, Tobi, Nate, and Rio. Moran-McCleary says the entire family all had some small part in creating a part of the studio, and it is a collective “labor of love.”
After making an entire countertop out of an old bookshelf, Moran-McCleary thought to herself “why not?” and began setting about to create several small projects that would fit the Plains Soul aesthetic.
Moran-McCleary, who has also established an online presence with her weekly Bead Night, which started as a Zoom meeting during quarantine about two years ago. Bead Night started as a way for quarantined artisans to stay in touch with each other and offer creative tidbits to each other while also being health conscious and following the social distancing mandates at the time.
Bead Night has since become a sensation, with artists from all walks of life proudly displaying the projects that they collectively worked on with each other over the course of the Bead Night.
With the new studio, Bead Night now can have an even bigger production every Wednesday night, as well as a display space to feature the artist's creations. Whether it be reupholstering a 120 year old loveseat, or taking apart a vintage item due to damage so it can be repurposed for another project, Plains Soul continues to push the envelope further with every strive forward.
Moran-McCleary talks about how some days it was just one thing, piece by piece, but that she is excited in starting to see the hard earned fruits of her labor. There was no shortage of conversations about the entire experience of building the studio from a slab of concrete up, and always had a very loving story attached to it.
Beaming with pride and sharing stories of how the family moved furniture from where it was bought at an auction, estate sale or vintage store, anecdotes of various pieces collected over the years, and the projects both current and future that Plains Soul is tirelessly striving toward.
“The Loft is Tobi’s area, we’re not quite finished with it yet, but she has big plans in store!”
Although the entire studio is not totally finished yet, Moran-McCleary says that once the final preparations have been made, Plains Soul’s home base will be ready to create even more amazing artistry and events, not only for herself, but also as a base for others.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Carrie Moran-McCleary was appointed to the Four Points Media board after the development of this article.
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