Meet local artist Emily Brooks and learn how her business, Taea Made, is popping up all over town!
What intrigues you about art? And what motivated you to pursue that avenue as a career choice?
I’ve always been drawn to art from a very young age. My parents really supported and encouraged my creativity. I was very fortunate to grow up in Fargo with many resources for arts education over the years.
When I had children of my own, I wanted a career that would work into my family’s lifestyle. When I couldn’t find the perfect fit, I decided to create a business of my own. I’m a really creative person who enjoys art, sewing, embroidery and writing. Taea Made has been the business I dreamed of since 2012.
Talk about the inception of Taea Made and what you strive to accomplish under that brand.
Since the beginning of Taea Made, I’ve strived to make the kind of products that I would want for myself. Most of the projects I work on are custom orders. It’s such a treat for me to help my customer’s ideas come to life. I love the challenge of creating something new, and want my customers to be thrilled with the items they purchase from me.
Where did the name for “Taea Made” come from?
This is the most frequently asked question I get about my business. Many people who are new to my work think that my name is Taea. When I was brainstorming names for my business, I wanted something meaningful. I wrote down a list of words that had significance to my husband and me. After playing around with different word combinations, Taea Made was our favorite!
Why is local art so vital to the Fargo-Moorhead community?
Travel is a huge passion for my family and me. We’ve had the opportunity to visit destinations around the world, and the art in a community truly expresses the heartbeat of the residents. We see it when we attend orchestra performances, view urban art throughout a city, and in museums showcasing local talent.
The quality of art that we have in the F-M area is at the high level of what I’ve had the chance to see globally. We’re so blessed with such thriving local talent that expresses our unique lifestyle. Local art is vital to the F-M community because it is the pulse of our community.
You are currently creating murals for Reese & Riley’s. How were you able to land that projects and what went into that process?
Throughout my years in business, I have mostly depended on word of mouth for advertising. I’m so grateful to my customers for not only choosing me to work on their projects, but sharing my contact information with others for future projects.
My work with Reese & Riley’s Olive Oil & Bistro Bar came through a referral from a friend and customer of mine. Laurel Mahan with RE/MAX is the owner’s realtor, and recommended me to the owner.
You also won a competition to have your angel wings drawn onto the Silver Linings Creamery building. How special was it to receive that honor?
My family has loved visiting Silver Lining when we’re downtown to enjoy some of their delicious house-made ice cream. I had been selling masks at Silver Lining to help combat the pandemic, and found out that they were running a coloring contest for new angel wings on the outside of their building.
I was over the moon to find out that my submission had been selected! It’s such a unique opportunity to interact with the community through my art.
The new Jasper Hotel is a key part of the massive new Block Nine project. You were able to get your art into the Jasper Hotel. Can you describe that project and talk about how big it is for you as an artist?
I was thrilled to be asked to work on custom throw pillows for the rooms in the new Jasper Hotel through a referral from Unglued Market! I really appreciate how Jasper Hotel is incorporating the work of local artisans into their décor. I created three different sample prototypes with a modern Nordic theme for the group to choose from for the project. It was exciting when they selected my favorite out of the three!
Each front panel of the pillows took over three hours to stitch out on my embroidery machine. They feature a natural canvas front adorned with navy thread. A chenille fabric backing in navy finishes each piece and matches the rooms’ headboards. The zippers are adorned with wood hangtags featuring my logo done to match the wood trim in the rooms.
In addition to the honor of helping differentiate Jasper Hotel, this project is an amazing way to create brand awareness as an artist. When customers stay at Jasper Hotel, my work will be seen by people from outside our area giving me much more exposure.
What are some of the biggest challenges to being an artist that readers may not understand?
Some of the biggest challenges of being an artist is that a lot of my work goes into the managing of my business. Along with producing my pieces, I’m managing my accounting, taking care of all of my paperwork, creating invoices, marketing, communicating with customers and managing my social media accounts. There’s so much behind the scenes work that goes into managing a business.
I’m fortunate that my parents owned a business, so I understood what goes into running a successful operation. They have also been an amazing resource for my questions since the very beginning.
On the flipside, what are some of the biggest rewards to being an artist that readers may not understand?
The rewards of being an artist bring so much joy into my life! When I’m able to create a piece of work that truly expresses what my client was hoping for, my heart just soars. I feel that my artistic talents are my gifting in life, and I get so much satisfaction when others enjoy my work.
How can the Fargo-Moorhead community continue to support you and your art?
The community can support me by following along on my social media, sharing my current projects, and encourage community leaders to choose local art. I love working directly with my customers, so get in touch if you have a project in mind. I’d love for you to support the businesses that have chosen to select a local artist for their projects as well!