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Beth S. Macre Studio: Art with Heart

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Beth Macre was creative from the beginning.

The native Arkansan remembers hearing compliments on the creative things she made from her early elementary school days. She was always a quiet child who sat alone, completing arts and crafts.

An early maker’s spirit

With her childhood easel as the first canvas, Macre enjoyed regular access to art supplies that made it easy to try new things.

Since a standard art class was not part of the curriculum in her junior high, Macre took a mini-course with an art emphasis. In high school, that all changed; she took advantage of every art class offered and helped friends who asked for assistance with their assignments. Upon enrolling in college, she realized there might be something to her artistic talent.

Before the internet and social media, it was hard to make money “just doing art.” As a college student pursuing a fine arts degree, Macre had a moment where she second-guessed if she could make a living. She tells me practicality kicked in, and she shifted her studies to art education, keeping all her coursework intact but adding the “typical” career component.

Being an art teacher worked out for Macre. She taught in the Blytheville, Arkansas schools for 25 years. In 2014, she retired and moved to Northwest Arkansas to be closer to her family.

Teacher to business owner

Painting was Macre’s favorite medium, and she spent her time learning to do it better. Along the way, drawing became a byproduct of painting principles. Another teacher introduced her to colored pencil drawings, which piqued her interest and consumed most of her artistic time. But while teaching and raising a family, it was hard to make space in her life for hobbies, especially since each piece takes a long time to complete.

Working with clay was always a favorite lesson for her students, and while preparing for that each year, Macre practiced moving and manipulating the material. In an art education magazine, she saw clay houses as a new idea for the classroom. Her first thought was, “I can do that!”

Macre turned that thought into reality. As Etsy became a more popular site for creatives and makers in 2017, she started selling her handmade clay houses through Beth S. Macre Studio. A customer approached her about custom tiles that brought a three-dimensional relief technique to the details. Macre transitioned those details to her little houses, expanding her customer base. “Etsy is a great resource for creatives,” she tells me. “If you can get your products online, your customers can find you.” Hers did.

Three years later, a woman who curates craft fairs in Georgia reached out to Macre through Etsy and asked her to consider joining their exhibitors. The craft fairs gave her great experience and allowed her to expand to a face-to-face customer base.

She participated in the War Eagle Craft Fair and The Little Craft Show in Northwest Arkansas. She expanded her offering to small clay figurines, pumpkin houses, small dishes and ornaments.

The craft-fair circuit came with the challenges of travel. When her husband had heart surgery, she worked on expanding her offerings and staying home to be with him.

After one tough fall season, Macre took advantage of people’s love for their dogs and started offering customizable dog-bone ornaments. Her business expanded again. Other Instagram accounts started sharing her content, and her exposure grew exponentially. Collectors of tiny items found her houses and figurines, and people looking for unique Christmas gifts found her customizable selections. Her followers on social media offered feedback about new items they would be interested in buying.

Beth S. Macre Studio built and expanded on those early techniques of playing with color, understanding composition, and being agile for a new market. That’s what sets Macre apart and has helped her succeed in the balance of being a creator and business owner.

Some of Beth Macre’s most popular items include:

Macre releases seasonal collections multiple times a year, and her followers often snatch up the early releases before she can even get them to the public. As a result, each collection has a slight adjustment to the previous year, and she finds that repeat customers display their seasonal discoveries like a small village.

She operates her studio with the motto of “art with heart.” Her Valentine’s House collection directly reflects that, but her rainbow houses and snowmen send a similar message of comfort and celebration. After seeing her work at a local craft show, the Fayetteville Visitors Center asked to keep “Go Hogs” Ornaments in their gift shop year-round.

A Therapeutic Livelihood

Another hard season came in 2020 when Macre was diagnosed with colon cancer. She says her art was helpful therapy, and having something to get up and keep her busy made the hard days bearable. Having a reason to keep fighting helped her beat cancer and enter remission. Her family became the studio’s expanded workforce, with her daughter and husband pitching in after work and during their free time.

It’s been a delight to watch the characters of her snowman collection come to life this winter season. I’m anticipating a new collection of Valentine’s Day houses with rose bushes, flower boxes or a hidden heart. I can’t wait to see what Macre thinks of next.

Connect with Beth Macre

Newsletter subscribers get the first updates.
Follow on Instagram.
Shop on Etsy.
Learn more online or on her blog.

All images used with permission from Beth Macre

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Keisha (Pittman) McKinney lives in South Arkansas with her husband and sweet Boxer, Bailey and one-year-old son! Keisha is passionate about connecting people and building community, seeking solutions to the everyday big and small things, and encouraging others through the mundane, hard, and typical that life often brings. She put her communications background to work as a former Non-profit Executive Director, college recruiter and fundraiser, and Digital Media Director at a large church in Northwest Arkansas. Now she is using all of those experiences through McKinney Media Solutions and her blog @bigpittstop which includes daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats, the social justice cases on her heart, and all that she is learning as a #boymom!

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