You may remember my blog post from back in March about my amazing mom, Miss Jody, well now it's time to introduce you to another one of our teachers, none other than, my sister, Miss Abbey!
Abbey will be the first to tell you, her path into the creative arts field is not as classically “art” as my mom and me. In fact, when my mom began The Art Studio back in 2000, when a class was bustling with students painting, you could find Abbey meticulously cleaning brushes at the sink. For her, sitting next to others drawing and painting while she was creating in a totally different way, made her initially question and even reject a future career in the art field.
As a kid, when I was inside drawing, Abbey was making her own adventures. You could usually find her outside exploring, climbing, dancing, or in a small space thinking, writing, or reading. While artistically she turned away from pencil to paper, she turned towards story telling and developing her own worlds, later which would inform the sets she created.
Some of the many adventures of Miss Abbey from 1997 to 2002.
Upon graduation from Shawnee High School, Abbey attended Penn State University where she majored in Theatre Set Design. It was at Penn State, that Abbey’s artistic talents, vision, both team work and leadership skills truly began to shine the brightest.
By her junior year, Abbey had climbed the ladder through her program and landed the spot of set designer for one of the largest shows of the year on the Penn State Main Stage for "American Idiot." Her complex and thoughtfully interactive set allowed the actors to not use the set as merely props, but as pivotal and interchangeable parts to the story they were telling.
Photos of the "American Idiot" set being developed and completed, 2017.
She moved with such talent through her program that by her senior year, she was moved to the graduate level studio and completing projects next to students working towards their masters' degree. It was this year that Abbey designed her intricate and duly interactive set design for "Argonautika."
The set of "Argonautika" being developed and completed, 2017.
In very classic Abbey fashion, she finished her degree early, and rather than slow down, she sped up (if you know my sister, you know she is early nearly ever where she goes). Moving from Penn State to New York City where she landed a coveted internship with DKD working for David Korins designing model boxes, getting behind the scenes on broadway shows, and having her “Devil Wears Prada” New York City assistant moments. Abbey took her internship in stride and capitalized on her strengths resulting in a job offer and freelance work with DKD upon the conclusion of her internship.
"Diary of Anne Frank" model box, 2018.
Once again, rather than slow down, Abbey pushed on and received a position as assistant set designer at the MUNY in St. Louis, Missouri. The MUNY is the largest outdoor theatre company in the country and puts on massive outdoor shows, the likes of which rival the best Broadway productions. After finishing her first summer, Abbey has been asked back year after year securing herself as a fixture of the summer set design team.
Opening night of "Kinky Boots" from 2019.
Today, Abbey is embracing her many talents and freelancing in many different fields. You primarily can find her at West Elm in Philadelphia and The Art Studio and Gallery, right here in Medford Lakes.
In my opinion, my sister, is the perfect representation of an artist who’s talent is not bound by paper and pencil, not even by the sizes of the spaces she is given to create within, but only by the hours in a day. Abbey’s personal aesthetic is modern, sleek, and timeless with vintage elements, but when it comes to her helping others achieve and bring their vision to life, she listens deeply to what they need and makes it happen. The same is true when she is teaching her 6th - 8th grade students at The Art Studio. From a theatre set to a nursery, with her design eye, creativity, and innate ability to understand people, Abbey takes vision and makes it a reality.