Collecting: Katie Runnels

Katie Runnels has become one of my favorite artists, whom I've featured here from time to time as well as she's participated in our December Poppytalk Handmade where she sold her beautiful handmade wreaths and unique dioramas. You can see more of her artwork at her etsy shop, here, read her blog, and more work is available at Here is Katie's post on her beautiful collections:

My collections (not including family heirlooms) are not overly precious. Many of my favorite pieces were uncovered in flea-markets or as it happened- unearthed from a pile of rubbage and leaves in an abandoned backyard. Items seem to constantly revolve or vanish all together as I see fit to use them in my art or as my fickle tastes change.

R. Wood Studio Pottery: (above image)
I was married last October and was fortunate to have received many pieces of handmade pottery from our registry at R. Wood Studio's online shop. Based out of an old produce warehouse in Athens, Georgia, artist Rebecca Woods founded an amazing studio of artists who create colorful everyday and specialty ceramics. In addition to their website, I've discovered several specialty boutiques across the country now stock R. Wood's ceramics. Their website is
I am so happy with the organic feel and heftiness of each piece. They are super sturdy and don't chip easily due to the multiple coats of glazes, which is perfect because I am very clumsy! The colors are brilliant as well! I think they will stand the test of time as they look great paired with my vintage pieces but also look beautiful in a more modern and paired down atmosphere where the individual beauty of each piece can shine.

Vintage Birds:
I'm not sure where or when my love of birds came about, but I do know it runs in the family. My grandmother loved birds, especially Cardinals which she kept as figurines perched all around the house. Her mother also loved birds and collecting bits of nature. I inherited a sweet collage she made sometime during the thirties in which she surrounded photos of her family with birds, leaves and butterflies. I hang it on the wall in front of my desk at the studio for inspiration. I am always looking to add to my collection of what are mainly North American songbirds. I like to keep them all together where I can see them and occasionally I'll work up the nerve to let one go in a work of art.

White McCoy Pottery:
My mother got me started on my obsession white McCoy pottery. She has all sorts of beautiful pieces in her collection and since I've been collecting some of the pieces have gotten too expensive for my thrift store budget. I began buying up the more affordable line of McCoy called Floraline which was originally manufactured from the forties to the seventies for commercial florist's bouquets. I love the clean lines and muted colors of Floraline that work well with modern or country interiors (which is good because I just can't make up my mind!). I also love discovering a
more elaborate piece that has been marked down due to chips or cracks. I'm almost unimpressed when I see flawless antique pieces of pottery. They seem like reproductions or sadly unloved. Chances are good I will accidentally chip or crack the piece so its a relief when the vase shows a little 'wear and tear'.

Birds and Flowers: (flowerwall)
I collect lots of vintage imagery to use in my artwork and rather than forget what I have piled up in a drawer I like to have my favorite pieces out on display. I recently pinned up a grouping of bird and flower related pieces to a curtain of burlap I currently use as a room divider in my studio. The display is an ever-changing collage that rotates as I use a piece or discover another. Some of my favorite sources of flower imagery are old flower and garden catalogs like Burpee's or Vaughans, vintage press-board postcards, antique trading cards, and old how-to booklets on gardening or floral arrangement. I also collect vintage bird or nature guides, including educational books and guides produced for children.

Jan Halvarson


Fiona Cartolina said...

fantastic collection and great pictures

ygm said...

All the things I love. The McCoy pictures with the greenery.....I could look at all day. Beautiful displays.

Liz Demos said...

Yeah! So happy to see Poppytalk has fallen in love with Katie and her work. She is a very special gal.

I am long time fan and friend. Proud to know her, love watching her grow.

Amy Bell said...

wow...I love this artwork and these pieces...I am a big Katie fan and love her work....

Anonymous said...

Katie and I are collection doppelgangers: I also have a cacaphony of bird stuff, and shelves of green Floraline. Love looking at all her great stuff!

neryl said...

Love the birdcage full of vintage ceramic poop!