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On a trip to Key West several years ago, Morgan Overcash had an artistic epiphany.
Overcash, 20, was gazing at storefronts while on vacation with her family in 2006 when a few pieces of furniture caught her eye. She stopped to examine a cluster of elaborately painted Adirondack patio chairs, called Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville chairs. A budding artist, Overcash was fascinated with the designs painted on the furniture and knew immediately she wanted to do something similar. That’s when her business, Bohemian Lily Designs, was born.
Overcash, a lifetime Lancaster resident who had graduated from Lancaster High School and was attending Winthrop University as a music major, had always been interested in painting and designing. She was also an avid knitter and crocheter, and enjoyed a variety of crafts. Confident in her artistic talents, her family encouraged her to start a business as a way to express her love for art.
“My dad said, ‘You could do that for a living,’ ” Overcash said. “So, I created a Web site one day. Suddenly people started looking at it and people got really interested.”
On her Web site, www.bohemianlilydesigns.com, Overcash offers a variety of items she builds, creates or paints. There’s everything from chairs and stools to glassware and ornaments. She also enjoys working with paper, offering handmade greeting cards as well. She accepts special order requests from customers, though those items take a little longer to create. And as her business has developed, she’s learned how to work in several new mediums such as enamel paints.
“I learn by teaching myself,” she said. “I do it for the love of it.”
Her signature items are those patio chairs that first inspired her. To craft those pieces, she buys chair kits from craft stores and works from there. Often it can take her the equivalent of a full day to finish one chair. First she assembles the various pieces of wood, primes it and applies a base coat of paint. Then comes up to three hours of drawing the outline of the design, followed by detailed painting. She finishes with two coats of sealant.
With the downturn in the economy, she has repriced several of her items, hoping to make them more attractive to prospective buyers. Her decorated chairs start at $150, while painted stools cost around $20. Other items include painted drinking glasses at $15 and Christmas ornaments for $5 a piece.
Out of the many pieces she has created, there are several projects that stand out as her favorites. There was a painted stool she made for a customer that featured her first attempt at painting dogs and a Parisian-themed coffee table she painted with scenes of the Eiffel Tower. She said her best work, though, was a detailed chess set she created as a gift for her grandfather. Crafting the pieces from clay, a medium she had never tried before, she based the set on the rock-’n’-roll icons, the Beatles.
Overcash is looking forward to branching out. The newly engaged artist, whose boyfriend, Andrew, popped the question on New Year’s Eve, said she hopes to one day become an expert interior decorator and also plans on managing her own specialty gift shop.
“I guess I try everything,” she said. “I don’t like to be limited in what I can do.”
Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at email@example.com or at (803) 416-8416