Mitch & Shand - deuxième partie (That’s part two in French!)

Mitch Kimball and Shand Stamper are local artists and art teachers at McCracken County High School. Their daughter Wren is their greatest artistic collaboration to date. They opened Ochre last year - a place where local artists can sell their creations. We just couldn’t squeeze all their talent into one week so the second part of their iMeet is today!

Welcome to iMeet again, Mitch & Shand – I think this is the first time we’ve had to make an iMeet into two parts! You’re really a dynamic duo - did you both know you always wanted to be artists and teacher?

Shand: One of my earliest memories (maybe 4 years old) is taking my grandmother's jewelry out and laying it on her bed in rows and "selling" it to her for pennies from her change bowl!

My high school art teacher, by chance, gave me a jewelry making book from the 70s. Had I not been in his room when he was cleaning out the closet I may have missed my big AH HA moment! But the moment I opened that book changed my life: I knew then I had to make jewelry. Every decision I've made since that day has been in pursuit of that! 

I didn't know I would teach, but my entire family is made up of teachers. Both my parents taught and my maternal grands were also teachers. My deep desire to share knowledge and build community definitely makes teaching a natural choice for me. I can't imagine not being a teacher!

Mitch: My third grade teacher told me I was truly gifted in art. Her acknowledgement really empowered me to always pursue art.

I didn't know I wanted to teach until I was in undergrad. Teaching seemed like a good way to give back and to perpetuate the field. I hope I can make a place for students to feel empowered and to feel confident enough to take the next step in their life. 

Tell us about a typical day for you...

Up and out of the house by 6:50 am, drop off our leading lady at school before heading in to work. Our school day starts at 7:30. We get home in the afternoon and like to eat dinner by 5:00 at the latest! Then we spend the evening working on school work and studio work.

We try to split the general household duties and give each other bigger blocks of time to knock out the bigger production tasks. 

What's the best part of your job? What is the hardest?

Shand: The very best part of my job is the kids. Hands down, they are everything. I love seeing their Ah-Ha moments! I have so much to share and it’s so fun to see them transform from being relatively naive to being actually really sophisticated thinkers and problem solvers.

The hardest is the unrelenting schedule. Just finding time to get to the front of the building or use the bathroom can be a challenge. 

Mitch: The best part of teaching is seeing kids realize that the actually can be creative and actually enjoy making art. The hardest part is motivating students and giving feedback that feels positive, empowering, and helpful without discouraging. It’s hard to know what will take the wind out of someone’s sails.  

What do you like to do in your free time?

When we have lulls in our schedule we love spending time together in the kitchen trying new recipes. Our daughter adores it when we have a fancy dinner with candles in the "diamond room."

If we have a full day on the weekend we try to get out of town to explore nearby towns and parks. We also love to hit up True North Yoga if we have an evening that isn't too hectic. It’s not often we get out but that is a family favorite for us.  

The holidays are right around the corner...are you ready? Is this a busy time for you? 

Holidays are so busy - but the best type of busy. Making is what we live to do! It’s so exciting to be a part of people's gift giving traditions. It’s affirming to get to work one-on-one with our customers to make the perfect piece and then get to hear the stories of the reveal!

We are pretty ready I think. I have a preview party the second weekend in December that I'm still preparing work for. I traveled to the International Gem and Mineral show in Tucson this year and I still have some really stunning pieces I want to use to make work with.

Mitch has two more kiln firings before the end of the year. Miles to go before we sleep!

What's your favorite meal this time of year?

Shand: Roasted sage chicken, savory homemade stuffing with nuts and cranberries, garlic tossed green beans. My mouth is watering!

Mitch: Chicken under a brick (it’s something we learned from our Hello Fresh box and is a new fave) and stuffing!

Thank you both for playing on iMeet and sharing a little about your life with us. We love your art and the cute pictures of Wren and her kitty you post on social media. We can’t wait to see the newest creations at your preview party!