Once a month, we partner up with Denton's local, handmade goods shop, DIME, to highlight an artist that is carried in their store. This month, we're chatting with Cassie Arnold about both her fun items for sale in the DIME store and her fine art work that she has on display in various art shows and galleries. Make sure to check out The DIME Store on South Locust, and read on to hear all about this month's featured artist.
For this month’s DIME featured maker, we caught up with Cassie Arnold and her eclectic collection of found-object art. The DIME Store carries Cassie’s line of inventive fiber “creatures”, but this girl has so much more up her sleeve. Read on to learn about her handmade critters, unusual assemblages, and how she balances her two feet in the two sides of the art world: craft and fine art.
What all kinds of work do you make?
From found object assemblages to hand knitted fibers, I dabble in a little bit of everything! I love the challenge of exploring new materials, and there’s nothing more thrilling for me than deciding whether I will work with clay, found objects, acrylic, or fibers for my next body of work. Storytelling is a key feature in my art, so whatever medium best narrates my experience at that time is what I use.
What draws you to the types of materials you use?
I’m a believer in second chances, so naturally I am drawn to all things rusted and worn. There’s something magical about breathing life into objects that would normally have been forgotten. I like to think of myself as a collector of “things,” and I love waiting for just the right moment when I can reuse an item and make it shine in a work of art.
What originally drew you to the overall "handmade" community?
I grew up in a big family full of writers, artists, needle workers, and avid crafters. By the age of five, sewing on a button was as natural as tying my shoes. I thank my mother for my love of creating because it was her who first taught me how to craft and sew. As an adult, I am not only drawn to handmade items but also the person who made it. I love hearing their story, learning where they came from, and discovering how they perfected their craft.
What do you love about the fine art community?
That last word…COMMUNITY! I love being surrounded by unique, crazy, enthusiastic people who are lovers of life and art! It’s refreshing living in Denton where people not only respect the arts but support it as well.
How do you balance having one foot in the handmade market and one in the fine art market?
To be honest, I’m not quite sure I’ve found balance just yet! One day I wake up as, “Cassie Arnold: artist and sculptor,” and the next I’m transformed into a crafter, wanting to create something handmade for the sake of creation itself. The art world can be tricky. People tend to look at you funny when you say that you are an artist while knitting a baby sweater. “Handmade” is who I am at my core. It’s what originally got me curious about the arts and is the reason why I give support and have such respect for local people making and creating.
How did you become involved with DIME?
I heard through the grapevine about a lovely new space in Denton that supported local artists and crafters. Naturally I was intrigued, so my husband, my new baby and I stopped by one night to check it out. I instantly fell in love with the space and the curators. The DIME store is warm and cozy. It’s a space that invites you in like a best friend’s home and inspires you to rush back to your own home and create. After one talk with Miss Rachel, she investigated my work and invited me to be a part of their handmade “home.”
How does the Dallas art/handmade scene differ from the one in Denton?
To be honest, they are a lot alike. Both are all about endorsing local artists, promoting the arts, and bringing awareness to the community about the importance of supporting the handmade. Despite its size though, Denton keeps the small town feel that makes it easier to connect with the community and other artists in the area.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists who are looking to start a business or become an active part of the Denton creative community?
Don’t be scared to put yourself out there! Rejection is part of the job and being turned away doesn’t mean that your creations aren’t meaningful or special. I promise that even the most unique, unusual and creative works will find their perfect space eventually as long as you’re willing to take risks and be patient.