Carefree: That describes Michelle Spigarelli, creator of Painting Petunias, to a “tea!” Tea towels are the canvas for her whimsical paintings, which are popular gifts for countless occasions.
Michelle Spigarelli embraces the artsy fartsy, crafty, crazy side of life, and her painted tea towels emulate her personality with flair and originality. The idea came about after her life journey led her to a particular place in her imaginative spirit.
With a goal of becoming a fashion illustrator, she attended Lynchburg College in Virgina and The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City for a brief time.
“I discovered there were other plans out there for me, and got married and had three boys,” she says. “When they were little, I painted murals on walls in their rooms and other children’s rooms and repurposed anything I could get my hands on. This was all well before it became popular!”
She has lived in Lee’s Summit for 15 years and spent much of those lugging painted furniture around to various shows. That is when she decided she needed a more manageable way to showcase her one-of-a-kind art.
Several years ago, after remarrying and with her boys grown, she found herself homebound for a bit with a foot injury, searching for some way to pass the time. She needed a gift for a friend, which sparked her imagination. So, she came up with painting on tea towels.
“That gift was very well-received, so I decided to see how far I could go with this newborn hobby of mine. Through the support of my family and friends, I created Painting Petunias,” she says. “To me, the name is carefree and encompasses a whimsical approach to the art I was trying to express. Art on a towel!”
The concept became clear to her, and she saw it as an alternative to a greeting card. Each towel is wrapped in a cellophane bag with a cute bow, all ready to give as a gift. She feels this type of greeting will be cherished and not thrown away. All of her towels can be personalized, and people can custom order towels for such occasions as weddings, parties, baby showers, birthdays and girls’ get-togethers.
Michelle’s first retail exposure for her towels was at Good Looks in Downtown Lee’s Summit and then The Dotted Chair. The owner of these stores had a positive influence on her at this point in her career. Although The Dotted Chair is closing his doors in March due to retirement, Lee’s Summit customers can order directly from her by connecting on Facebook or via her email.
Her Painting Petunias tea towels are also available at Genevieve’s in Blue Springs, Missouri, By B! Boutique in Shawnee, Kansas, HMK (Hallmark) on the Country Club Plaza and Hallmark at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kansas. She also sells to stores out of the area.
“It gives me great joy to see the spread of my art to different homes,” she says. “A little piece of me is wrapped up with each towel as I hand paint each one.”
Contact Michelle Spigarelli through her email, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.