KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Support for South Knoxville businesses has stepped up since the Henley Bridge closed for construction.
So Made in Tennessee headed across the Tennessee River to meet Tea and Treasure's artisan of the month, Bobbye Edwards.
We found Edwards tucked away in a studio at the back of the business at 4104 Martin Mill Pike. Paint, paint brushes, sketches and artwork filled what looked like a former sunroom.
Edwards says she started painting when she was just six or seven years old, but has not had any formal training.
In fact, her last full time job was with Proffitt's department store before the chain shut down in 2006.
You might say she's busier than ever now, even dreaming up new ideas in her sleep. "At 3 o'clock in the morning, I had this picture of a Tuscany tea pot," Edwards said. "I sold it last week."
At 74 years old, Edwards paints almost anything made of glass including: wine glasses, tea sets, ornament and what she calls personality pigs. These are unique piggy banks that come with a personal story.
"I will try anything. I told a friend, you never know what you can or cannot do until you try," Edwards said with a smile.
As an artist, she wants her customers to be happy with the finished product. However, she's quick to point out she has to be pleased with the piece as well. "It's nice if someone else is happy, but if I am not happy it does not stay."
The day we stopped by Tea and Treasures, Edwards was busy creating a children's tea set. She says although it's functional, it's still a piece of art.
As she showed us around the studio, she said, "This is glass paint. I paint with that and then I bake them. We tell people to please hand wash because it's a piece of art."
Over the past year, Edwards has found huge success making Christmas ornaments with hand painted cityscapes. What she thought was just a small holiday display actually turned into a big seller.
After a local party, she had lots of requests for her work. "When the evening was over, it was the biggest high I have had in a long time," Edwards said.
The ornaments are glass and sell for $20 a piece. If you want a specific image on an ornament, she can do that, too. "The day I stop learning I will just hang it up!" she told us.