At this time last year, Ashley Cassens and Nicki Turner wouldn’t have imagined working on an art collection together.
The couple met in March through a mutual friend and on June 10 will launch their collaborative “Florescence” collection in Winter Haven at the Summer Nights Market hosted by Babes in Business Florida.
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“Over the last year or so when I started my business, I visited different markets,” Turner said. “Ashley and I talked about this collaboration and we thought, as a vendor in that market, it would be a great opportunity to do a soft launch there as well.
Cassens describes art as “functional”. The collection includes two paintings, each associated with its own set of earrings. Cassens will paint the earrings designed by Turner in the paintings.
“I feel like the collection is beautiful and has a vintage vibe, a bohemian feel, very eclectic with patterns and colors,” Cassens said.
When a customer purchases a pair of earrings, they will receive a small copy of the original painting.
“I think it’s an innovative and awesome way to give people creativity in their daily lives,” Cassens said.
Turner loves being able to create art that accentuates what Cassens created without dominating Cassens’ work.
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“The colors and patterns Ashley chooses are really exciting to me,” Turner said. “I don’t think we realize how much we are affected by color and I think it invokes joy.”
Turner earned both a bachelor’s degree in social work in 2009 and in May a master’s degree in human services with a focus on children and family from Southeastern University.
She is a wife and mother of three daughters. Turner loved her middle name so much that she decided to name her business Cori Rose Handmade when she launched it in July. This month, she’s moving from working at Southeastern driving students to spending more time at home and growing her business.
Although her academic background is not in the arts, Turner says she has always been creative, loving to draw and paint.
“About 3 years ago I started making donuts with my daughters. I loved it, we made pandas and different things,” she said. “I realized that people were making jewelry out of clay, then last summer I started Cori Rose Handmade.”
Cassens has one daughter and teaches art at Trinity Oaks Elementary School in Pasco County. Cassens earned a BFA in Drawing and Painting from Florida Southern College in 2006. In 2017, she earned an MFA from Florida Atlantic University. She launched her eponymous business in October.
“I mostly do oil paintings, I can do other things,” Cassens said. “I love oil paintings so much.”
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Having only known each other for three months, the women enjoyed their journey together creating the “Florescence” collection.
“I think it’s been really great actually. Nicki is really cool to work with,” Cassens said.
The Summer Nights Market is free and will feature local women’s businesses. The event will take place on June 10 from 6-9 p.m. at Venue 650 located at 650 Sixth St. and Winter Haven.
Breanna A. Rittman writes stories for The Ledger. Send your feature ideas to BRittman@gannett.com.