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When Tony Barsotti was younger, he spent as much time skateboarding as he did building ramps. Later, when he joined a band, he could often be found working on the van. “If people needed something made or done, I was like, ‘Man, let me do it.’ I taught myself to do a lot that way,” he says. After a stint in stained glass, he eventually found his way to getting creative with wood. “I got a computer-operated router that cuts out shapes. I was just kind of learning. I thought, ‘I’ll make a lamp and see how it turns out,’” he says. “I manipulated a machine gun image and basically created a lightbox.” Not long after, We Are 1976 began carrying the lamps, and the rest is history. “Even if you don’t like guns, I think you’ll like these,” he says. But if you don’t need to add to your arsenal, never fear. Barsotti makes furniture, too. “I like making credenzas a lot,” he says. “But I can make anything for that matter.” tonybarsotti.com.
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Working out of a 10-foot vintage trailer in her McKinney backyard, Brandy Evans turns antique taxidermy into works of art. “When I look at an animal, it’s like I can see the story they didn’t get to tell,” Evans says of the taxidermy creatures she buys from garage sales, estate sales, and shuttered museums around the world. “I dress them in vintage attire, and I name them, give them a story.” Professor Tubs, for instance, is a rabbit-turned-bespectacled jackalope who studies weather patterns and favors bowties. Then there’s Miss Tip the raccoon who’s decked out like a dancer. Though her projects are 100 percent cruelty free, she says she has gotten international hate mail from people who don’t understand her creations. Evans says she actually takes great care with her subjects, sometimes spending weeks looking for the proper vintage pieces to complete their looks and tell their tales. The way she sees it: “I’m giving them a new life.” pocketfullofheirlooms.com.
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SHAY OMETZ AND JEFF BARFOOT
Want to hang with the coolest couple in town? Befriend Shay Ometz and Jeff Barfoot, the husband-and-wife duo behind design and illustration company Bee Things. Both have day jobs in the creative industry (she works for Fossil, he’s at RBMM), but after hours, they come together to create colorful and funky screened art prints, apparel, and more. Many of their designs are inspired by nature—their newest prints for spring feature owls and cardinals—and all have a playfulness that’s part of their signature. bee-things.com.