Melody Webb is a local artist and mom who moved to Charleston in 2020 from her hometown of Richmond, VA. She creates gorgeous keepsakes with dried flowers (And any other mementos you have!) with her company Lonely Pine Preservation. Her work ranges from dainty jewelry to ornaments to full floral arrangements pressed in glass. Melody has also had her arrangements featured in several publications like Charleston Weddings and Richmond Bride.
Creativity seeps through so much of her life as she goes between her work in preservation, gardening, handcrafting her own cosplay outfits, illustration, and painting. Melody and her husband welcomed their son, Gus, in July of last year. I got to chat with her about how motherhood has altered her relationship with art, the process of sharing her creativity with her son, and the challenges of running her own small business with an infant on her hip.
Moms to See in the 843: Melody Webb
Let’s start by having you tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up living in Charleston.
I’m a native Virginian, born and raised in Richmond, VA! My husband and I met after both attending college at VCU. He went to medical school shortly after, and we moved to Charleston in 2020 when he matched into a residency program at MUSC.
How did you get into floral/nature preservation?
I get this question a lot and I never know how to answer it because the truth is a bit sad quite honestly! In 2014, I lost my grandfather; he was the first person I really knew who passed away and I did not handle it well. At my therapist’s suggestion, I ended up adopting a dog. On our daily walks, I found so much peace and joy in nature and in the little things I would find and pick up along the way. Over time those things started accumulating and I began researching ways I could incorporate them into my artwork. Lonely Pine Preservation started there and spiraled out into what it is today!
What made you decide to turn this passion into a business?
When I first started Lonely Pine, it was mainly just making jewelry for my friends for fun, and one of those friends convinced me to sign up to sell my work at a local event. Imposter syndrome is so real and something that gets, unfortunately, ingrained into you when you go to art school. So seeing people actually enjoying, buying, and wearing my work was really uplifting and encouraged me to keep at it.
What has been the hardest part of running a small business out of your home and being a mom?
Boundaries! Having my studio space in my home blurs the lines between work and home, so I’m never really “off” from either. When I’m working, I’m nervous I’ll wake up the baby or bother the babysitter. When I’m not working, I worry I’m falling behind.
What has been the best part?
Seeing my son grow and learn each and every day has been a true joy. Each day he learns something new and I’m so so lucky that I get to witness it all as it happens.
Out of all the beautiful products you offer through Lonely Pine, what is your favorite to create?
That’s like asking a mom of more than one who her favorite kid is! I tend to go through phases of what is most enjoyable to me. Currently, I’m really into my collage works that incorporate special details like stationery, lace, photos, etc.
You have also done some work as a children’s book illustrator, is that right? What was that process like?
Yes! The process varies by author, some of my book projects were traditional publishing contracts and others were self-publish. For all of them, I worked closely with the author to get a feel for the energy of the story, come up with a color palette and compositions to suit that energy, storyboard each page of the manuscript, and then individually illustrate each concept one at a time. Once the illustrations are complete and the author is happy, they go off to publishing to be formatted and printed. I mainly focus on my preservation work nowadays, but truly just love creating art of all kinds and love the fact that I get to share some of my art with children like my son!
Has working in preservation and capturing moments/memories for others had any impact on how you view motherhood?
I would say it’s the other way around — motherhood has impacted the way I view preservation. Before having a child, it was easy for me to let go of things. Now I find myself wanting to save every little thing so I can remember each tiny detail. It’s given me a new appreciation for the work that I do, and a deeper respect for the fact that people trust me to preserve their special memories.
Do you have any favorite ways that you incorporate art and creativity into activities with your son?
Being a former art educator, I love love love finding great adaptations for everyone to be able to make art — and babies are no exception. My absolute favorite is soaking a natural sea sponge in baby-safe paint and letting him go to town smacking it onto the paper! I also put drops of paint on a piece of paper inside a Ziploc bag and let him squish it around for a mess-free option.
As a new mom, what do you like to carve out time to do that’s just for you?
Now that spring is here, I’m getting really into my flower garden again! I try to spend at least 10 minutes each day in the garden. Last year it got away from me as I was very uncomfortably pregnant, so I’m excited to get it back on track and growing some beauties!
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