Booth Sartain McGee is the owner of b.sartain Creative, where she sells handmade clay earrings. She is a co-creator of the Made in Memphis market, a graphic designer by day, a muralist by night, and full-time mother and wife. Basically, she doesn’t have a spare moment in the day, but she was kind enough to sit down with me on her break from painting the murals for Sweet Magnolia Gelato opening up in Crosstown Concourse.
Booth has been a creative person for as long as she can remember. She grew up with parents that encouraged her creativity. Her mother is an interior decorator and her father was a landscape architect, so they worked with their hands on a daily basis. She even says that she couldn’t have been anybody else, she was made to make things. She attended The Memphis College of Arts, which is where she learned how to work with clay, but it has nothing to do with the degree she received for Printmaking. Booth connected to the woman who ran the supply store there and she taught her how to work with the medium. And funnily enough, she didn’t really do anything with clay for another ten years until she picked it back up again and absolutely fell in love, and b.sartain was born.
Booth also loves to weave, hand letter, calligraphy, build furniture, and sew. Because she works with so many different mediums, I asked her if she could pick one to use for the rest of her life, what would it be? “Art,” she said, laughing. “I can’t pick a medium. I love them all.” I can’t blame her. Being able to create anything from anything sounds like an amazing job to have.
Booth obviously loves earrings and I had to know how big her earring collection was. I was not prepared for the answer. “Oh, maybe verging on thousands. Because I keep almost one of everything that I make.” Well, that puts my collection to shame to say the least. But I guess if you make something, you want to love it yourself and love it enough to keep it. She went on to say, “Yes, I have a ton of my own earrings, but, my friend David…is also IV by Davd and he makes beautiful jewelry…and maker friends that I’ve met on Instagram, I have their jewelry. It’s not just me keeping my own earrings, I have a lot of people’s earrings.” Booth loves supporting her friends and other makers, which is how we got to talking about Made in Memphis.
Made in Memphis is a market that started at the beginning of 2022. It happens many times throughout the year at different locations like Overton Park Shell, Saddle Creek, and By the Brewery among other places around Memphis. Booth runs the market alongside her friend Rachel, who is a teacher and a watercolorist. Booth describes the market as “for makers, by makers” because she wants the market to be maker friendly by having a low vendor fee and having flexible dates/locations. She wants the artists to be as visible as possible and make their profits which is a big goal of Made in Memphis. You can visit their website at www.madeinmemphismarket.com or check out their Instagram at @shopmadeinmemphis, where she posts all the info about markets coming up and makers that are going to be there.
The last question I had for Booth was what does she love about being a maker in Memphis. “The community.” She said this with such love in her words, and you can tell that she loves the city that she calls home. She went on to talk about how she and her husband used to live in Nashville, and she hated it. The community wasn’t as strong as it was in Memphis, which she didn’t realize until she moved back here. She said this about the maker community: “Everybody wants to push everybody forward here. And I think that’s one of the lovely things about Memphis is you know one person who likes your work and that person can be like, check this person out. And then two more people are gonna find you…and it builds from there.” Booth started doing markets in 2019 and she said they are the reason why her business blew up and became so popular.
Being connected to the people around is the key to growing outward and upward, especially when you are a maker in Memphis. Booth is proof of that. If you want to connect with Booth, you can find her on Instagram: @b.sartain and on her website: www.booth-sartain.com. It was such a wonderful experience getting to meet and speak with Booth and don’t be afraid to reach out if you are a maker or artist in Memphis. Again, the Made in Memphis website is www.madeinmemphismarket.com. You can fill out an application to become a vendor or you can see all the vendors that will be at their upcoming events. You can also find them on Instagram, where their handle is @shopmadeinmemphis.