ABOUT KELLY ZALENSKI
Kelly Zalenski creates unique hand-sewn appliques by recycling old t-shirts, pjs and sweaters. Each design is drawn, cut and hand-sewn onto onesies or t-shirts. While many of her designs celebrate twins (or siblings) like “milk & cookies”, “rock & roll”, and “OH & IO”, she hasn’t forgotten about “all the single babies” and has many designs for just one. She now has over 125 designs and still LOVES custom orders for birthdays and other special occasions. She works out of her studio in Reynoldsburg, Ohio or where ever her twins take her (one of the reasons each one is hand-sewn!). Kelly is focused on creating fun, unique art for kids (while keeping their parent’s taste in mind) and introducing nostalgic classics with a fresh look to today’s generation.
Q: When did you start working in your medium and why?
I started creating hand-sewn appliques for my twins when they were about 6mo old, so 9 years ago! I got the idea shortly after my baby (well, babies shower LOL) when I didn’t receive any twin gifts or anything that celebrated twins specifically. I went online, and all the ones I saw were poorly designed, bad quality or too expensive and I thought “I could do better!” I took some of my husband’s old t-shirts and cut them up and made my first few sets of twin onesies. Once they wore them in public, I started getting requests to make them for others and it just grew from there!
Q: What does your artwork represent?
My work represents my sense of humor and love of puns while celebrating twins, siblings, and of course “all the single babies”!
Q: What does art mean to you?
Art has always been a form of therapy, expression and joy for me. From a very early age I loved to draw and create and loved the feeling of creating anything. Now that I’m older, my art still gives me a sense of joy and an outlet for expression, but it also now serves as how I wind down, relax and has become very therapeutic for me.
Q: How do you overcome creative blocks?
I have an app, that I love, called “Draw Something!” It gives you a prompt randomly to draw and it usually helps jump start something in me. That, or taking time “off” like exploring a metropark or even swimming, just something outside with no screens.
Q: What’s your favorite part about Art Crawl?
My favorite part of the Art Crawl is meeting new artists each summer that I share my garage with! There is so much talent and I just love how well we blend such different artistic styles in one space, it’s a totally different set-up each summer! I used to live on Whittier St and started doing the Art Crawl years ago and I come back every year to see my old neighbors and customers too. I love hearing how they bought one of my paintings (I was a painter prior to switching to apparel) and how it’s hung in their home or office in German Village. Now I love seeing how their kids or grandkids have grown and helping them pick out a new design for them to try. Art Crawl customers are also very artistic and creative themselves and have inspired many of my most popular designs.
Q: If you could have one item with you on a deserted island, what would it be and why?
Wow, this is always tough, and I’ve thought about it alot. Of course excluding my husband and my twins (they’re not items, right?) I guess I would have a sketchbook with unlimited supply of markers/ink to draw with?