Featured Artist: Pam Archer is a furniture painter with a love for color

Jonathan Roberts • Jul 17, 2019 at 11:28 AM

An East Tennessean through and through, Pam Archer has called Kingsport home since 1971, though she hails from Knoxville. 

She’s been painting since she was a child, but only recently started her furniture-painting business, The Colorful Cottage, in 2015. Since then, she’s gone from having a booth inside of a traditional brick and mortar store to operating her business from home. 

What started as a hobby for her quickly became a passion — especially after she found what she truly enjoys: painting things she wants with bright, vibrant colors that show off not only her artistic style, but her personality as well. 

Archer briefly: 

Favorite color: Anything in the blues, but I love them all.

Favorite type of furniture to work on: No favorites; anything that is a good canvas or has a good shape to it.

Favorite Tri-Cities restaurant: Aubrey’s.

Go-to music: Most creative when listening to Abba or the Beach Boys.

Artistic inspirations: “I have people that I look up to, but I don’t even really do their style.”

What got you into furniture art? 

I started painting furniture when I was 9 years my old. I painted everything — whatever I had, but that wasn’t the same as now with all the specialty paints for furniture. Four years ago, my neighbor was moving and she had some pieces of furniture to sell and I’d seen on Pinterest different chalk-painted furniture and I thought that was interesting so I bought a few pieces from her and painted them and had a yard sale, not intending to sell that furniture at that point. But then people saw it and said ‘my goodness, you need to have a booth or something’ so that’s what I did. 

How do you decide what types of furniture you want to paint? Are there certain types you favor or some that are better than others?

Both. When I started out I would buy anything and everything, but as I advanced my skills more, I found that I really wanted only solid wood, quality pieces — not that all the pieces I buy are in great shape, they aren’t always and I try to rescue things. I try to now focus on pieces that have character and that have shape, not just a rectangular dresser. I don’t buy everything that I see anymore, I’m pretty picky with the things I search for and what people offer me.

When you’re looking at creating a new piece, what comes first: the material or the design idea?

The piece comes first. Every furniture artist will tell you the exact same thing: If you stare at a piece long enough, it will tell you what it wants to be. My most recent piece, I painted it seven times and it just wouldn’t take. I would walk away from it for days at a time … I tried all different kinds of things to make it look like a color palette I had seen and then one just as subtly as can be, I walked by it one day and it was like ‘get that color, get that color, get that color and do this’ and it was just as happy as it could be.

What makes your art unique? 

I think what makes me unique — like any furniture artist — is your own style. You’re not copying anybody else, you’re not trying to paint exactly like somebody else did... you get inspiration from others, but you have your own style and your own ideas so you can look at my furniture and say ‘I know who did that.” without ever seeing the logo or watermark on it. It’s much like regular art. 

What’s some advice you’d give to an aspiring furniture artist?

Get in some groups on Facebook. There’s lots of furniture-painting groups on Facebook with people who have years and years of experience who are willing to help others. That’s how I learned, and that was the biggest help to me.

You can find Pam’s work on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thecolorfulcottage/, on Instagram @thecolorfulcottage2324 or on her Etsy page at www.etsy.com/shop/colorfulcottagestore. She also says that prices will be lower if you contact her directly at [email protected].     

The Press is always looking to highlight new artists, if you have a suggestion for a Featured Artist, email Jonathan Roberts at [email protected] or Brandon Paykamian at [email protected]


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