Voices of HP: Annabella Boatwright

Annabella Boatwright, owner of Neon Tumble Weed Studio in High Point, NC,stands on a front porch with a stained glass window in the background.

Annabella Boatwright, owner of Neon Tumble Weed Studio

As the product of two artist parents, Annabella Boatwright practically grew up with a pen in her hand. With the lifelong inspiration of her parents, Annabella discovered printmaking in college and fell in love.

“I love how I still get to draw for design purposes, and a style comes out during the carving process of the linoleum,” she explains. Today, she works prints across a variety of mediums, including making custom-print fabric handkerchiefs. As one of the resident creative artists in High Point, Annabella sat down to give us in an inside look into her creative work in our city.

Q. What was the journey of getting to where you are today?

A. Like any journey, it’s had its ups and downs. Freelance has a lot of moments of doubt! But there are more moments of clarity than doubt these days, and I am grateful for that.

Annabella Boatwright leans over her artist's workbench and measure cloth.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about what you do?

A. Those moments of clarity I was just speaking of. I don’t often get to know the life of a piece I make after it leaves my hands, so when people reach out and tell me how something I made has had a positive impact on them, it reminds me that maybe I’m doing the right thing.

Annabella Boatwright, owner of Neon Tumbleweed Studio in High Point, NC lifts up one of her stamps from a piece of fabric

Q. What has been the most challenging part about your job?

A. Drawing lines between what’s responsible work to be making, what is valid, what is important. Figuring out what art could be useful and meaningful to people around me. And also trying to not take myself too seriously!

Q. What do you wish you knew when first starting that you know now?

A. It will take time and vulnerability.

Annabella Boatwright sits smiling in a chair in front of a stained glass window.

Q. Who or what has been your biggest inspiration? What about that person or thing inspires you?

A. The kindness of people around me. Observing the kindness of my neighbors really pushes me to move that way through this city and in my work.

Q. Best career advice you have ever received?

A. Relationships matter. Seriously the truest advice. I know people find success by using the right hashtags and gaining worldwide followers on social media, but the most meaningful connections I’ve made are from showing up and having conversations with the people who live right here. And it’s more fun!

Annabella Boatwright stands at her workbench. A mirror hangs over the bench and you can see her smiling in the reflection.

Q. What makes you feel like you’re doing what you were made to do?

A. Honestly, I’m not always sure I am doing what I’m “made to do.” It’s a constant exploration to get to that point, and I’ll probably still be searching for that truth when I’m really old. But it is always fulfilling to hear how an image I created has meaning for someone.

Q. What is your proudest achievement to date and why?

A. Pride is an interesting concept. I don’t think about it too much. I’m always striving to be a better person and artist. There’s always room for improvement in both of those areas.

Annabella Boatwright leans over her artist's workbench and presses a stamp onto cloth.

Q. Where’s your happy place?

A. Driving back roads with my mom. Love a good field.

Q. Your favorite book?

A. Wuthering Heights. Unbelievably moody and dramatic. Nothing like it. I love the relationship the landscape has to the plot and characters, it’s something I think about a lot in my art. It has great 19th-century insults too. I made a list if anyone’s interested.

Annabella Boatwright sits smiling on a porch.

Q. Favorite guilty pleasure music?

A. No guilt here! Eighties new wave hits have been getting me lately. And Bonnie Raitt.

Q. What’s one thing you can’t live without?

A. My sketchbook. It’s always with me. It’s kind of a visual journal. I’ll take notes of anything that pops into my head—just one word or snippets of an image. It helps me keep track of my visual impulses.

Annabella Boatwright leans over her artist's workbench working.

High Point Favorites

Q. Where do you like to grab a cup of coffee?

A. 83 Custom Coffee. Always happy to see which friendly face is in the truck, and I’m excited about their new indoor space too.

Q. Restaurant you can’t get enough of and favorite dish?

A. The Dog House has my favorite fries. I love how that place feels. Also Magnolia Blue if we’re being fancy.

Q. Local business you think is doing everything right and why?

A. Friendship Plant Co. The Blackerbys are so dedicated to bringing folks together in the spirit of giving and making people feel welcome here in the High Point community. And they do exactly that. They definitely had a huge impact on how I interact with this community. I may be a little biased, but I really do admire them.

Q. Where do you go to unplug?

A. I love taking walks around my neighborhood. It keeps me in touch with my neighbors and the changing seasons in the landscape.

Q. Local charity you love to support?

A. The YWCA of High Point is awesome. I love their mission, and they provide a lot of amazing resources for women and folks in the community.

Q. Where would you tell a first-time visitor to High Point to go and why?

A. When it’s in season, definitely the High Point Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. The farmers’ market is full of our growers and makers offering what they have to their community. What could be better than that? I look around me and see all my neighbors just hanging out and contributing things grown with love and think, “Wow these folks are taking care of me.” And everyone is welcome! It’s a great way to get to know the spirit of High Point.

We’re proud to have an artist with such a unique, creative perspective as Annabella in our city. And we’re thankful that in a way, her art is taking care of us too. You can find her work and link to her Etsy shop on Instagram, @a.boatwright.art.

Voices of HP is a series where High Point Discovered asks questions to High Point business leaders and entrepreneurs to share their view. Consider it a peek into the heart and soul of our local businesses. We hope you will be inspired to investigate more. Past guests have included Shane Key and Lori Teppara.

Keep Discovering our High Points,

The HPD Team

Photography by Maria West Photography