Tara Boyd’s pieces make you want to hug a wall – seriously. I first stumbled upon her work at one of Charm City Craft Mafia’s craft shows and instantly fell in love. In that instant I forgot my vow to buy only for others (not to mention my budget) and brought home an adorable wall hanging, complete with air plant.
Immediately I knew Ore + Wool needed to be featured in the just B more Local for the Holidays series. Nothing could just B more cozy this holiday gift season!
just B more: First let me say that I am loving the pieces I purchased from you. The air plant home is happily hanging above my bed and the larger wall hanging is a great feature in my guest room. What inspired you to make wall hangings out of wool?
Tarah Boyd of Ore + Wool: Oh, thank you! That is awesome! I am so happy to hear you are enjoying the wall hangings. The Air Plant Homes are definitely a favorite!
When I was pregnant with my daughter, who is now a little over 2 years old, I was busy nesting her nursery. Part of that nesting involved me creating lots of dream catchers and a DIY mobile. The mobile I was creating required wool felted balls. I was super into making things myself, so I looked into how to create wool felted balls, which requires wool roving. I had a good portion of roving left over after using it for the mobile and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Instead of seeing it go to waste, I began to add it to the dream catchers I was creating. I really fell in love with the material and only wanted to use wool when creating my wall hangings from that point forward… and everything kind of evolved from that. A happy accident, I suppose.
JBM: What an adorable story! Love that. So it seems a little self-explanatory now, at least the wool part. But why the name Ore + Wool?
TB: The name used to be Terra Designs, because that is the business name I use for my graphic design work. It took me months to come up with a name that suited my craft. All I really knew was that I wanted the name to have the word “wool” in it.
My husband and I love playing board games, and luckily so do our neighbors. I would say, perhaps, 5–7 months in to making these wall hangings, Jeremy (my husband) and I were teaching our neighbors how to play one of our favorite (board) games, The Settlers of Catan. If you are familiar with the game, you know that you need to collect different material resources, to be able to build, to win the game. One of those resources is ore. It was that night it dawned on me… the name is Ore + Wool.
The hoops I use are gold-plated iron. And I feel like ore is the perfect descriptive word for that material. “An ore is an occurrence of rock or sediment that contains sufficient minerals with economically important elements, typically metals, that can be economically extracted from the deposit.”
JBM: Very clever, and such a beautiful name. So how long has this been your small business, and what made you take that first big step?
TB: I started to create wall hangings with the intention to sell during my maternity leave from work. My daughter was about 2 or 3 months old at the time, and I just wanted something to do with my time since she was napping the majority of the day and I was often home alone. I only recently began to take on my craft, more seriously, after I was laid off my day job of 6+ years. (I worked for a small local business which was bought out by a larger company about 7 or 8 months after I returned from maternity leave.). I tried getting another day job, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I learned then that I preferred, much more, to work for myself.
JBM: Your pieces are so comforting and cozy (at least to me!) Is it that feeling that helps create your pieces, or is it more nature driven?
TB: For me, it is a more feminine energy that inspires what I create. I am into soft curves and edges and the wool looking lush and full. I spend a good amount of time allowing each piece to hang on the wall, undisturbed, before sharing it on Instagram or listing it on my website, because I like the roving to expand.
I think, too, this feminine inspiration is drawn from my own motherhood experiences.
JBM: Now that you describe it, I can see that feminine inspiration. When we chatted at last year’s Holiday Heap you shared that you also have classes. How often do you hold these and where?
TB: I try to do classes at least once a month. I hold an Air Plant Home workshop at B. Willow in Remington, Baltimore, regularly. I also conduct a double-hoop wall hanging workshop at Trohv in Hampden, Baltimore, every couple months. I have a workshop coming up in Catonsville, Maryland, located at Laura Hodges Studio for the double hooped wall hanging.
I’d love to find a place where I can teach how to create the double hoop wall hanging once a month, but I have yet to find that place.
JBM: That would be awesome. I NEED to find time in my schedule to take a class. Do you have any fun stories from the business?
TB: Ha! Um… I’m not sure if I have any, truly, fun stories… but when I am working on my craft and my daughter is around, she will sometimes climb up on a chair next to me and tell me, “Mommy working. I working too,” and she will proceed to work beside me by rearranging gemstones or drawing. Haha, I wish I had something more exciting to share here!
JBM: That’s a great insight! Small business stories all look different, and it’s cool that she’s “involved.” Haha. I’m in love with your work and know it would make a great gift. Besides the classes, how can people give the gift of Ore + Wool?
TB: My website www.oreandwool.com! I just started selling gemstones and crystals too!
I have a pop-up shop event that I am attending, once in November and once again in December. If anyone is looking to shop in person by finding me at a pop-up shop or as a vendor, my website always has up-to-date info of my events and is a great resource on where to find me!
However, it may be important for your readers to know that I will be taking a “break” for the month of December to catch up with work and life and to create a new style of wall hangings that I haven’t really created before.
JBM: Sounds great! Thanks so much!
TB: Thank you!