It's hard to believe it, but it has been almost a quarter of a century since Dee Harvey and I met, and a few years since our last interview! Both of us had different names and different lives back then. Many things have changed, but the one constant is the friendship we have and the thrill we share for the holidays, decorating and collecting. Dee is honestly one of the most lovely human beings and is a truly supportive and nurturing friend. There are times when months or maybe half a year goes by that we don't get in touch, but when we do it's like no time has passed at all. We met when she was designing for Bethany Lowe over two decades ago and I have followed her career ever since. From making holiday collectibles to being the editor of Better Homes and Gardens Creative Collection, where she helped create and launch Simply Creative Weddings magazine, it's been a pleasure to watch her flourish over the years. Lucky for us, she is back to designing holiday collectibles and now a gorgeous line of handbags and jewelry. Dee Harvey always has another idea percolating, so we can't wait to see what comes next. In the meantime, let's get to know Dee Harvey a little bit better!
So, Dee, probably one of the few things we have never discussed is your family and where you grew up.
Dee grew up in Pataskala, Ohio as the youngest of three kids with two older brothers. Her mom loved to decorate for the holidays, and because of that tradition, Dee has always thought the holidays were a magical time of year. She has fond memories of the closeness of her family, snowy days, sitting around the fireplace and old ornaments, many of which she draws on for inspiration. She also enjoys old black and white photos and old fashioned tinsel, both of which she credits as guiding themes in many of her own designs. As a lover of the changing seasons, Dee figures that even on her death bed she will decorate the 12 trees she puts up in her own home each Christmas season!
Did you ever have a 9-5 job?
What immediately came to mind was the catalog that she created called Holly Berry Hill, which featured handmade folk art treasures. After that, Dee thought outside the box when looking for her next job and googled, "creative jobs," leading her to apply for a position with a magazine. Darned if they didn't call her and hire her right then, basing their decision on her work with her own Holly Berry Hill catalog! Soon enough, she was an editor at the magazine, even without a journalism degree! Many of you probably have one the Santa books she created during that time. In early 2000, Dee found herself another job as an editor at Better Homes & Gardens Creative collection, where she helped create and eventually launch Simply Creative Weddings magazine.
How did you end up designing for some of the biggest seasonal décor vendors?
You can't rein in Dee's creativity. That really should be the moral of this interview, not to mention Dee's life! Dee felt like she was meant to create and share her incredible imagination with the world, so to help facilitate that, a beautiful partnership was created in 2000. She began working with the best of the best, the Bethany Lowe Designs company, where she created her first line of holiday collectibles. It was so fun to hear stories of Bethany and Dee's escapades in China and the Philippines, where they were sourcing and designing for the Bethany Lowe line (some of our personal favorites are from those magical early years with Bethany Lowe!). Dee went on to work with many other vendors and is currently working with ESC and Company to design resin figures dressed in fabrics and crepe with charming embellishments.
It's always fun to hear what other people collect, especially artists, so what do you collect, Dee?
Dee had an amusing response, as she really drew a blank! Some gentle reminders and talks of early shopping days revealed that she loved to collect dress forms, all shapes and sizes.
She also said, "I started looking around my house and I actually do collect several things. I guess I drew a blank because it has been sooooo long since I've actually been out there shopping. Some of my favorite holiday collections include vintage sleds (both large and tabletop), red transferware and vintage children's horses. But I also like to collect white stoneware and demijohns."
So what does the future hold for Dee Foust Harvey? Any fun creative goals?
Luckily for us, Dee constantly has a lot of ideas that inspire her to create and develop things that are out of the ordinary for her. An exciting future endeavor that she hopes to pursue is creating and publishing a Holiday Project Book. She also wants to illustrate a children's book with an original story featuring all new dolls, snowmen, and figures. Currently, she is in the process of creating her own unique (and might I add gorgeous) jewelry line, which should hopefully debut at the end of this year. Here are some exclusive sneak peak photos of her fabulous jewelry pieces!
The question of the year, did you learn anything about yourself during the Covid lockdown?
Dee, like a lot of us, did learn that she is a homebody and has no problem staying in and keeping busy. While challenging, she also found it was a period of artistic blossoming for her, where she got to grow out of her comfort zone and stretch her creative muscles. Lately, she is bubbling with excitement about all of the ideas she has and her renewed passion for creating Halloween designs. She feels like she is really in a space where she is designing and creating things that she really loves. She is currently finishing up her 2022 Halloween reproduction line for ESC and Company, and we are all thrilled that Dee is back and better than ever!
Dee has discovered that she really loves designing her new Halloween collection, but I reminded her how much people still love her archival Halloween pieces, including me! I have a huge collection, some pictured below. A fun thing I wanted to tell Dee is that when we have artist signing events at our store and then go back to my house to have a fun party and just relax after the long day of signing, people always comment on her Bethany Lowe Halloween pieces! Even Bethany herself was shocked at one event to be reminded by how good the pieces she saw in my house were back then! Everyone was laughing and teasing that if they went missing at the end of the night, we would know who's bag to check!
Honestly, like every interview, time flies because there is just so much to talk about! But, I always love to end our conversation with some random facts about the artist that will give you a little insight into the person behind the designs. Here are some fun tidbits about Dee:
RANDOM FACTS ABOUT DEE HARVEY:
- One of her dearest friends and fellow folk artist Nicol Sayre started a pattern company years ago called, "Folk & Whimsy." They displayed their patterns at an international quilt market show in Oregon where they met Bethany Lowe for the first time. Bethany approached them about licensing their designs to her company. Neither Dee or Nicol considered it at the time, but a couple years later Dee decided to give it a try and she is sure glad she did! She designed for Bethany Lowe for several years and really enjoyed working with her company.
- Her husband doesn't like her working or creating her beautiful designs out in the garage anymore, so he is building her a workroom where she will surrounded by all her pretty things and inspiring collections! We see more creations in Dee's future once this room is finished! How sweet is her husband!
- Dee's real first name is Deana!
- Dee wants you to keep in mind that 2021 is going to be a strange year in terms of shipping and receiving her products here in the United States, so be patient and remember there is always next year! Keep checking our site and the What's New page. We update it daily and will always carry any available Dee Harvey line!
- Dee sells her original designs at selective stores and has for decades. Collectors that were lucky enough to purchase one or more of Dee's original designs still stay in touch with her. I think it's because Dee's designs are so charming that people feel like Dee is a part of their family! They even send her pictures of their displays in their homes!
- Speaking of originals, she doesn't get to make as many as she used to because of her licensing commitments. But no matter what, she loves her job because she gets to play with dolls and snowmen all day!
Next up for Dee and I, you might just see us lounging on a beach somewhere or at least in one of our backyards, sipping a Cosmo or some red wine, planning our next adventure! But for sure we will be roaming the Atlanta Gift Mart halls together in 2022!
We hope you enjoyed getting to know and learn a little more about Dee Harvey! Check out her artist page and look out for fun new items coming soon!