handcrafted decoupage glass trays featuring original art & inspirational messages

Hello. I'm Sheree.

Sheree Burlington - Wing+Tree Creative Business Blog

Designer. Creator. Seeker.

I started my professional design career in 1985 and spent the next 18 years designing interiors & in particular, kitchens. I loved my work completely. Every kitchen was my new kitchen, every home - my personal remodeling project. I did exactly what I'd do if I were designing my own place and my clients loved it. I've had dinner in many of my kitchens, seen them published in a number of magazines, one book and on the side of a really big truck.

In 1998, I walked into a local paint-your-own-pottery studio and became completely obsessed (my future ex-husband could only shake his head and lament "Crap. We're getting a kiln.") I decided I was having a place like that, only way better. It took almost four years to find the courage to leave a job I loved, but once the decision was made, I gave my six month notice (wicked big shoes to fill) and started designing a business.

In 2002, a friend (and former kitchen client) and I opened "You're Fired - Paint Your Own Pottery and Mosaics." By 2005 we owned and operated three successful studios. As Creative Director (a title I just made up, just now) I was in charge of the visuals at YF. I designed the interiors, the in-store marketing materials, the advertising. I also painted most of the store samples. I taught myself to paint by studying the work of the designers at Droll Design and artist Laurel Burch. I'd hold classes at the center island on Ladies Night and teach people simple techniques that made them look like pro. They thought I was a Fricken Genius.

One day I stepped into a scrap booking store and walked out with a set of foam alphabet stamps. Every letter was a different font. I made my first wedding platter and gave it to the soon to be married manager of our Bedford store, Nicole. I showed it to a few people first. They thought I was a Fricken Genius. I totally bought into the genius thing, sold my share to my business partner and started Museware Pottery.

Three months later, I rented studio space in a historic mill in Manchester, NH. Fifteen hundred square feet of exposed brick walls, ancient & scarred natural wood floors, cool, rusted pulleys mounted to the ceiling. And No Heat. I showed up with a bunch of paint, some brushes and my alphabet font. I froze my ass off that winter. 45* on a bad day. 60* on a good one. Summer was whole new hell. I was down to my underwear by 10 am and was psycho by the end of the day. {Insert really long rags to rags story here, then fast forward 10 years} In spite of a series of really poor business decisions including saying yes to everyone for everything, we kept the doors open and even survived the 2008 banking debacle, which practically obliterated the gift-ware industry and nearly put us out of business. We finally learned to say No, streamlined our process and grew into a strong little company with a growing & loyal following. 

In January 2009, I signed with MHS Licensing, an art licensing agency in Minnesota. Within a week of our agreeing to work together, my agent, Marty Segelbaum, introduced me to the creative minds behind a major home textile and decorative accessory manufacturer, C&F Enterprises/Gallerie II. They introduced my first Holiday & Everyday collections at the 2010 gift show in Atlanta. Look hard enough and you'll find my design work on pottery, t-shirts, aprons, checks, coasters, greeting cards, home textiles and other cool stuff in stores - somewhere. I'm still waiting for fame. I even bought sunglasses.

On August 20, 2012, I lost my 19 year old son, Neal, to a motorcycle street racing accident. As you can imagine, it totally kicked my ass. It also changed me in unexpected ways. The angry, snarky, OMG people are idiots me was smoothed into a kinder, softer Sheree. Enough pain can either piss you off at the whole fucking world - or cause you to fall in love it. I can't explain the transformation how but know that compassion and forgiveness, however attained, make a heart less heavy. Perhaps Rumi said it best: Keep breaking your heart until it opens. 

Nearly 6 years later, I'm back from the emptiness of loss and have created a new life. I'm a designing, storytelling, forever seeking creator. I'm happy, have rediscovered my creativity and am at peace with my giant, noisy, funny, intelligent non-physical son, Neal. 

That's my story so far. Since I'm in the process of designing the next Big Me, there's more to come. XO Sheree