Creating Art & Smiles - Bluegrass Mama Creations

Amanda Gilmore

Chelsea Potter hopes one thing, above all else, happens when people enter her painting studio in Russell––that they smile.
“I want them to smile when they walk in this space, and I want them to smile when they leave with something they created,” she said.

Her studio and online business is Bluegrass Mama Creations––appropriate for the Kentucky mom of two young boys who has been creating art since an early age. “I have always loved art and painting. I never went to school specifically for it, but I took art classes whenever I got the chance.”
“Art has always been a stress reliever for me,” she continued. “To be able to have this business is a dream come true.”

Her first creations were songs when she was about eight years old. She grew up around talented grandmothers––one who loved to paint and the other who sewed quilts and other items that she sold at local fairs and festivals. Chelsea first started exploring the idea of making money from art on Etsy in 2015, selling maybe one item a month. But she kept sharing her creations on social media, and in 2017, followed a friend’s suggestion to throw parties where friends and family could gather to be creative.
“It’s been incredible. People come for birthdays, girls’ night, ladies groups from churches – really any occasion,” said Potter, who will also take paint parties on the road. “Before each party, I draw out a design and then cut the wood for them. I provide supplies and help with the writing and final touches if they want, but I really encourage them to use their own creativity. I want them to go home and hang it up, and for it to make them happy when they look at it.”

She also offers a monthly “open paint” session, usually on a Saturday, when people can come by themselves or with a friend and paint whatever they want.
Potter opened her first studio in the Mayo Arcade in Ashland and moved to Russell in 2021. She and her family––husband Justin and boys Hank, 8, and Beau, 4, live in nearby Flatwoods. Justin is a big help on the business side of things, and the boys love going to the studio with mom. “The boys are a big part of this. I started it after Hank was born and I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. They love coming here to draw and make puppets. They’ve helped me paint coats on signs and do some murals. I love watching their creativity.”

The extremely colorful Bluegrass Mama Creations studio includes large painting tables, space for supplies, and an assortment of items for sale, some made by Potter and others made by other artists she knows and recommends. The jewelry, signs, ornaments, t-shirts, mugs, and drink tumblers are also for sale on
A phrase often overheard at Bluegrass Mama Creations is “happy little accidents,” made famous by the late American painter Bob Ross. Potter said she heard it so often that she decided to paint the words and Ross’ image above one of the doors inside the studio.

The outside of the building is adorned with a huge floral mural that Potter painted with help from her boys. She has done many other local murals, including three on the Ironton floodwall, one at a church in Ashland, and another at Meraki Beauty Salon in Ironton. “When I did the mural here (at the studio), I had never painted a wall before. I was kind of petrified being up on a forklift, but then I got used to it.”
Potter has also forged partnerships with other local businesses. She takes paint parties to Creative City, an indoor play and party center for kids located right across the street. She’s also partnered with the BARKer Farm, an exotic petting zoo in Lawrence County, Ohio. “Paint with a Sloth” has been hugely popular. “They get to feed and pet the sloth, and then the sloth hangs out and watches while they paint door hangers. We did a Christmas sloth one, where they painted a sloth hanging from a candy cane.”
When asked if she thinks the painting party trend will wane, Potter said she’s not worried. “There are always people who want to create and need a space to do that. I want to offer them a great environment where they can be together, create and laugh.”
Explore your creativity!
Bluegrass Mama Creations is located at 444 Bellefonte Street in Russell. The phone is 606.694.7478.
Information and events can be found online at and on Facebook and Instagram.