JAMES CITY-When Mary Broughman was laid off from her job at Riverside Regional Medical Center in January, the mother of three was looking for something new to do, so she decided to get creative. Broughman, who learned to sew thanks to her mother and watched her father do woodwork on the side while growing up, picked up a needle and a few power tools and began crafting.
Soon, Broughman started her own company, Mary B & Company, selling items ranging from totes, bags, and backpacks to furniture, shelfing, and wall décor. She has her own Etsy store and, since May, she’s been a vendor at the Lazy Daisy gift store on Richmond Road in Williamsburg. Broughman also recently started operating a booth at the 2nd Sundays Art & Musical Festival in downtown Williamsburg with a few sidekicks, including her youngest daughter, Amelia Piatak.
“I’ve always made stuff for my sisters, family, and friends, and I just decided to start selling some of my stuff this year,” Broughman said. “It’s been fun to broaden my skill set. I like crafting because it is like putting a puzzle together. I like trying to figure out how to build something new, even if it is from a picture. The more challenging it is, the more satisfying it is when it is finished.”
Broughman’s daughter is also a budding artist who sells her own masterpieces alongside her mother. Piatak specializes in digital art and pyrography, a medium in which the artist free hands a design on wood using a burning device such as a poker. Her artwork includes stickers as well as jewelry and keepsakes boxes. The Jamestown High School senior has been approached by peers to make custom boxes for them.
“Art helps me keep my mind focused, and calms me,” said Piatak, who sold her digital art stickers and boxes at the 2nd Sundays Art & Music Festival in July. Broughman and Piatak will return to the festival again on Sunday, September 12.
Being a part of the festival, “has been really cool,” Piatak said. “It makes me proud of myself and happy that other people are interested in my art, like maybe I can do this for a living.”
Piatak, 17, plans to study art after she graduates high school. She also hopes to continue to sell her pieces with her mother, which pleases Broughman.
“I love that I get to do something like this with her,” Broughman said. “She is so creative at everything she does. We’ve always talked about starting a family business someday. Maybe this is the start of something.”