Dig Baton Rouge

At the Heart of Art

What if you could make a living doing exactly what you love? Baton Rouge artist Tori Peterson has found a way to earn a paycheck doing exactly that.

Peterson is an expert in everything from wall art to woodwork and even interior design. Peterson’s brand “Heart Over Harvest” stems from her desire to live her life doing what she loves.

“I just want to enjoy what I’m doing rather than worrying about making money, because as an artist it’s just really hard to keep something steady, and it stresses me out a lot,” said Peterson.

“So I just have to keep reminding myself to love what I’m doing in the moment, and then the harvest will come from it.”

What Peterson is doing changes from one moment to the next, as she’s well-versed in so many art forms. She makes furniture, jewelry, home decor, and so much more. She said the brand is intentionally broad to cover all her artistic trades because she doesn’t want to settle on one thing.

The “Jane of all trades” is up to par on one of the latest artistic trends, macrame. Peterson even teaches workshops on the knotting craft.

Macrame involves tying knots in cords to create an intricate woven pattern. She got her start in macrame by making a back for an old broken chair. She found the beautiful chair at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Baton Rouge. The always-inspired artist decided to learn how to macrame so she could restore the piece.

“It had a really jacked up back. The whole thing was decaying, but it was falling apart,” said Peterson, “So I decided to take it home and macrame a back on it.”

Peterson said she googled how to do some of the basic knots and just started doing it. She called her macrame method experimental because she doesn’t use a pattern. She said she just starts knotting, and if it doesn’t look right, she takes it out and tries again.

An experienced woodworker, Peterson has created a variety of pieces from a coffee table made from a piano to hanging wood wall art. She also uses the small scraps left over from larger pieces to make necklace pendants, so nothing goes to waste in her shop.

Working at Sherwin Williams as a design consultant inspired Peterson to delve more into interior design. Now she enjoys helping her clients pick pieces and design an entire space from start to finish. She really likes designing on a budget, as much of her own home is refurbished pieces she got on sale and made her own.

“Just making everything flow more and opening it up, cleaning it up because I know people get really cluttered with their spaces and they don’t realize it,” said Peterson, “I like a lot of staging and decorating aspects of it too.”

Turning her artwork into income has been a challenge. Peterson said she’s not so great at marketing herself, which is a big part of building your own brand. Graphic design has helped her with that since she gets plenty of practice marketing for other people. The hard work paid off , and now freelance graphic design enables her to travel with her husband since she can work from almost anywhere.

Peterson is putting those skills to good use online by getting her name out there. It’s even helped her to book spots in local events like White Light Night. She has a beautiful website and is very active on social media. Her work can also be found in her Etsy shop of the same name. To find Peterson’s one-of-a-kind pieces, check out heartoverharvest.com.

Images: Sean Gasser

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