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Ginger Mallard and Kimberly Snowden of Altered Wing Studio

12/05/2013 01:05PM ● By Sandie Tillery

Kimberly Snowden and Ginger Mallard of Altered Wing Studio

Story: Sandie Tillery
Photo: Katie Luther

What kind of business plan invites people to share inspiration, sorrows and joys, and make beautiful things out of old stuff? Creative minds combined with compassionate hearts have laid out a plan that allows Ginger Mallard and Kimberly Snowden to do their art in an environment that invites others to join them. Their business plan includes a diversified approach to pay the bills, while allowing them to continue to create and love to go to work.

“When I get to the studio, it’s more about what is going to happen that day than what I am going to do,” says Snowden. “It’s about who will come into the studio, who’s going to make me laugh and what will I learn. It’s not work. It’s hanging out with my girlfriends and laughing ‘til it hurts. We truly are a place of creativity, laughing, learning and sometimes a few tears.”

Years ago, Mallard and Snowden clicked while attending a group called “Redding Handmade.” From there, a friendship and creative partnership grew until just over a year ago the women opened Altered Wing Studio with a very realistic view of the challenges they faced. The bills had to be paid. They couldn’t just open a studio so they could play with their soldering equipment, sewing machines and paint. So they decided to rent space to other artists, offering a menu of options from long-term space rental to hourly, daily, weekly and monthly “timeshares.” But they offer more than space. They allow use of their equipment and a place to display and sell artwork. Best of all, the women invite sharing of ideas while sharing lives with each other.

Some short-term visitors come with a desire to make something and just need a place to do it. Some request instruction and receive a boost of confidence, as well. Often, groups come in for instruction to complete a specific project. Some drop in without inspiration only to find they need to work out a personal problem as they express themselves creatively. It is a “happy” place, say Snowden and Mallard. Their customers range from four years old to 80-plus. They book baby showers and birthday parties and contract with a local charter school to provide art classes.

The working studio doubles as a gift shop with everything from “upcycled” refinished furniture and home decor to vintage-inspired clothing and jewelry. Every item sold is created in-house. Mallard describes her creative style as bohemian, Snowden’s always with a hint of romance. Other artists’ work demonstrates their unique passion, all trending toward the use of recycled, repurposed, renewed materials. They are also the only distributor north of Chico selling Annie Sloan chalk paint, an environmentally friendly product used in home decor.

Mallard and Snowden travel to vintage art fairs five or six times each year as vendors, going as far south as Roseville and to one of their favorites, the semi-annual Vintage Country Flea Market in Willows. Snowden has partnered with others to produce and promote Roses & Rust Vintage Home and Garden Market in Redding. The event is held spring and fall, with the next event scheduled for March 21-22 at the Redding Civic Auditorium. Roses & Rust has been acknowledged by “Romantic Homes” magazine as one of the top 10 romantic flea markets in America. Shoppers will find French and shabby chic home and garden decor, antiques and collectibles, jewelry, vintage clothing and other repurposed items. Altered Wing Studio will be among the vendors. 

Says Mallard, “I feel incredibly blessed to be able to do what I love. I spent years working and doing jobs that I didn’t like simply because it was necessary. But, finding my bliss...being able to bathe in it every day and make a living at it has humbled me and grown me in such a deep way. Every morning when I open my eyes, I check the clock to see how soon I get to leave for my studio. I no longer say, ‘I have to go to work’...I now say, ‘I get to go to work,’ and sometimes it’s followed by a squeal of delight.”  •

Altered Wing Studio • 810 A Lake Blvd.,Redding • (530) 605-1556 • [email protected]