Maker City KC

Kansas City artist Carly Rae Robinson spreads joy with her whimsical watercolor prints

Carly Rae Robinson is the artist and owner behind Carly Rae Studio. In her studio you’ll find whimsical artwork, everyday wares, and household goods that inspire happiness with bright pops of color and nature-inspired patterns.

Robinson started selling her watercolor prints on Etsy and at craft fairs in 2013, while living in California. After moving to Kansas City, she was able to make art her full-time job. You might’ve seen her colorful prints, often made up of tiny watercolor flowers, at Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s and local Kansas City boutiques.

The artist uses her background in education (she studied art education at San Diego University) by teaching watercolor workshops. For more info, check out her website, www.carlyraestudio.com.

Carly Rae instruction

1. What inspires you and your work?

My artwork is inspired by things in life that bring me joy. Nature, patterns, the city we live in, color, flowers, travel and so much more.

2. Are makers doers or dreamers?

You couldn’t be a maker/creative entrepreneur without being a bit of both. Our creations could never be created without the ability to dream or the ability to do — they go hand in hand. It begins with the dreaming, but taking action is what gets something out into the world. It reminds me of the quote by Sarah Ban Breathnach: “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”

3. What invention/product do you wish you would have created?

I love push-pop confetti, created by Kristen Ley of Thimblepress. Her illustrations are also amazing, so simple and so brilliant. I had the chance to actually meet Kristen earlier this year and she was so open, fun and willing to give advice to creatives around her. If you’ve never bought any before, they carry the push-pops at Pink Antlers in Leawood.

4. What is the worst invention/product still embraced by modern society?

Non-recyclable plastics. They seem so convenient in the short term, but are detrimental to our environment. Unfortunately, I just realized that the awesome push-pop confetti comes in plastic, so it’s a perfect example of how much plastic is used in our daily lives.

Carly Rae class
Amy Nix Amy Nix

5. If you could sit down and have a drink with any person in your industry, who would it be and why?

Ana Victoria Calderon, a wonderfully talented illustrator I’ve followed on Instagram for a long time. I find her work so inspiring and she is constantly creating. She teaches creative retreats, so I see this happening in the foreseeable future.

6. What do you love most about the Maker Movement happening in Kansas City right now?

How supportive it is. The makers support each other and the KC community supports its makers. Our city has really shown up at local events and shops to say “Hey, this awesome local maker thing is something I want to see more of.” And that’s what makes it possible to be a maker for a living.

7. Who is another maker in Kansas City that you’re impressed and inspired by?

Sarah Walsh. Her illustrations are beyond incredible and I always feel so much joy and awe looking at her art.

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8. What Kansas City creation/icon best reflects our makers’ community?

The shuttlecock is an icon I’ve always connected with our maker community. When I moved to KC, I was shocked at how incredible our art museum, The Nelson-Atkins, is and I love the giant shuttlecock sculptures that stand out on the sprawling lawn. We are fortunate to have so much great art in our city and I feel that having a museum of that caliber trickles down as inspiration to all of the local artists and makers.

9. If you could ask people to do just one thing to support the Maker Movement, what would you ask or tell them?

Shop local. Attend local craft shows (like The Strawberry Swing), shop at stores that carry local makers (like Made in KC) or hop directly onto local makers’ websites. It takes a conscious effort, but buying from local makers is what makes this Maker Movement possible.

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