Nature Themed Designs | Laurel Magazine

Written by: Marlene Osteen | Publish: June – 2022

On Friday July 8th and Saturday July 9th Sally Eckman Roberts will be at Main Street Gifts in Highlands NC showcasing her wares and welcoming visitors to explore the full range of her works.


In my personal utopia, my house would be filled with flowers and butterflies, plants of all kinds, and in December a wild assortment of Christmas fantasies.

Such is the world of artist and designer Sally Eckman Roberts. A Florida-based product designer specializing in pillows, rugs, prints, pouches, tea towels, dinnerware, and more, Roberts paints images of nature in a traditional way with a contemporary twist. Using watercolor and pencil and her delicate blend of rich colors, she creates designs that reveal that art and nature are one.

On Friday July 8 and Saturday July 9, Roberts will be at Main Street Gifts showcasing his wares and welcoming visitors to explore the full range of his works.

Roberts has worked in art and illustration since graduating from college in 1978, and his career has taken on a most captivating path. From her first work as an illustrator for the Saturday night postshe then worked in a corporate environment as an art director for Simon Malls, then as a creative director at a design firm in Indiana.

It was when her children were born that she decided to start her own home-based business, starting with botanical art and posters. She also found work creating posters and artwork for big events in her hometown of Indianapolis. She fondly remembers the graphic design of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s visit to the city.

It wasn’t long before national companies like Oneida started knocking on his door asking him to license his designs for their products – coasters, outdoor flags, rugs, pillows and tableware. Twenty-five years later, she continues to work for several of these companies.

Now recognized as a national brand, Roberts has achieved national recognition for the nature-themed designer accessories it creates for the home. Her prints of flowers, blooming greenery, Oceana and nature became coveted gifts, featured in catalogs and stores including Pier One and Charleston Gardens.

Four years ago, she launched her own line of eco-friendly bamboo tableware that is sold today in Neiman Marcus and gift stores across the country.

It was a serendipitous and happy coincidence when owners Suzanne and Dan Young met Roberts at the Atlanta Mart last year. Because it was only earlier in the day that they discovered his work. Enchanted by the artist’s wildflowers and botanical renderings, which are so reminiscent of the Highlands, they immediately knew they wanted to “be the space that introduces Sally Eckman Roberts to the world of local home design.” As savvy curators, the Youngs recognize that the richness of color and pattern that explodes on each of the products bearing Roberts’ designs offers balm for our various design itch. As Dan said, “Sally’s vivid designs fit into a multitude of home design schemes. I think true adventurers will want to acquire multiple items and stack them all at once.

Main Street Gifts is located at 366 Main Street, Highlands. For more details, please contact Suzanne and Dan Young by email at [email protected].

by Marlene Osteen

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