Fine artist Amy Rice has an ardent following built over the years on a deep love for her prints and collages, which harken back to a simpler time. Bees, flowers, puppies, and charming young women populate her work, which Rice formulated after finding an antique sign-press machine, a selection of singular fonts, and an antique atlas. But when she gets “a bee in her bonnet,” as she says, something even more wonderful happens.
As her followers on Facebook know, Rice decided last summer to make all of her hand-printed fabric (originally created for her book Playing with Stencils and as part of a grant she received from the Minnesota State Arts Board) into one-of-a-kind pillows and quilts. “I have wanted to do a make-over of my sweetheart’s old ice-fishing shack and that served as motivation to get it done,” she explained.
Moreover, she also decided to launch “A Nice Nest Press” on Etsy. Here Rice sells her letterpress prints, linoleum block prints, and other “curious” printmaking methods printed on antique and vintage papers and fabrics. Hand painting, hand embroidery, letterpress printing and what Rice calls “faux patchwork” are features of her work, which frequently includes such nature-inflected inspirational messages as “Power to the Pollinators” and “Bee Nice.” Rice’s unique coloring calendars are also available on her Etsy site.
Rice will showcase these craftier art projects in a pop-up shop in her studio on the top floor of the California Building. Her shop launch event coincides with the open studio event California Dreamin’ in the building in Northeast Minneapolis November 11, 5-9 p.m., and November 12, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. One special project she’ll be featuring during the launch is “Camp Nice Nest,” a look-book she created during a two-day installation and photo shoot for “A Nice Nest Press.” The gorgeous, atmospheric photos are of a blue tent in a field, decorated inside with Rice’s pillows, wall hangings and other fabrics. Part Wes Anderson, part nature spirit, it’s pure Amy Rice, ever-evolving into more beautiful artworks and objects imbued with her idiosyncratic spirit.
By Camille LeFevre