Thursday, August 9, 2018

Featured Exhibitor: Avant Garden Studio


Artist Terra Rathai has a unique perspective when it comes to her work as a photographer; she loves to highlight the beauty of everyday subject matter, but it's anything but ordinary. Avant Garden Studio has everything from traditional fine art prints to lovely home decor and stationary products that feature Terra's reverence for the natural world. Her eco-friendly materials of choice are salvaged wood and recycled paper, and once her stunning nature photographs and special quotes are added they certainly take on a new life. 



Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Terra Rathai. I am a Minneapolis-based fine art and garden photographer. I create work that expresses the extraordinary beauty and interest in ordinary, everyday subject matter. In addition to traditional fine art prints, I offer a line of home decor and stationery products featuring my original photographs, often paired with inspiring quotations and bits of poetry. My product line is earthy and eco-friendly utilizing salvaged wood and recycled brown kraft paper.

What do your customers love most about your products?

My approach to photography is unique. My customers often comment on the calming effect of my work or the way that my vision helps them to see beauty in their own everyday world. That’s my favorite compliment! People like my wood photo blocks; they are a unique way of presenting photography and, because they are handcrafted from salvaged wood, every block is unique. Many customers also love the quotations I incorporate into my cards and journals.


Have you always been passionate about art and design?

Short answer: YES! But, I quickly gave up on the idea of being an artist. I chose, instead, to major in Art History. I now see how studying art and being exposed to thousands of images has influenced the way I see the world. It’s a big part of how I make my images.

What do you love most about craft show vending?

I love meeting customers, hearing from people who have purchased my work before and, most of all, seeing how people respond when they walk into my booth. The best reactions are a sort of gasp, followed by a big sigh and comments like, “I want to live here!”. It’s also fun to work directly with people to help them find the perfect gift or grouping of images.


What's your favorite item that you sell?

My favorite item would have to be my handcrafted wood photo blocks. I love them because they are a cool, unique and earthy way to present my photography. But more than that, I love them because my dad makes them! It’s been an incredible blessing to have my dad’s help, expertise (he’s a retired carpenter), enthusiasm and massive generosity. Dad enjoys salvaging wood; he’s made blocks out of everything from old knotty pine we found in a dumpster, to an old door from my house, to ripping boards from fallen trees in his yard. His creative sourcing and skilled craftsmanship make each block truly one-of-a-kind.


What motivates you to create?

My process evolved when I committed to a 365 project in 2010 and started a blog ( where I published a photo every day throughout the year. I developed a way of being present and actively seeing my environment. I’ve grown to love the meditative nature of this process and the challenge of recognizing beauty in familiar subjects. 



Check out more of Terra's work online, and be sure to stop by her booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 2-4, 2018 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

Posted by Admin at 9:47 AM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS

CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors
Be the first to leave a comment.