WAXHAW – The line about opposites attracting seems to fit Billie Colley and her husband, Phillip Ingold, perfectly.
Colley has a heart-on-her-sleeve personality and likes seeing the big picture. Ingold’s quiet reserve complements his attention to detail.
Their artistic ideals also vary.
Colley’s abstract pieces find their base in mosaic patterns while Ingold’s impressionistic work springs to life through colored pencils, acrylics and watercolors.
When it comes to their new business, BBC Enterprises LLC, the contrasting styles blend perfectly as the couple works together to create artistic tabletops that will be ready for purchase in the near future.
“They are artwork,” said Colley who is in the process of getting their portfolio of creations ready. “When you want to show furniture in your home, this is what you need. We want to enrich your surroundings.”
The couple met more than 20 years ago in the architecture program at Kingston College near London. Ingold, who is from Greensboro, went to the school through an international exchange program while he attended UNC Charlotte. It was during his stay in England he convinced Colley to return to Charlotte to attend college.
They got jobs at architectural firms in the area following their graduation and then started their own construction company a few years later. Their passion for art, however, remained a focus.
The mosaic tabletops, in particular, catch Colley’s interest.
Although Colley won’t reveal her technique, she does mention the influence nature has on her color combination. A dreary, cloudy day has Colley leaning toward darker colors. Brighter days bring reds, oranges and yellows. Nature also affects the couple’s artwork through their trips to the mountains of North Carolina. After buying a place several years ago, Colley said the hikes in the woods allow her a chance to find stones and rocks she joins with smoothed glass into the tabletop.
Not wanting things go to waste, Colley developed a style in which she places dried paint chips from the painted tabletops on a canvass backdrop. The assortment of colors represents leaves during the seasons.
“I like the concept of trees,” Colley said. “I am going to do that until I get it out of my system … By next spring, I may be into cars. Who knows?”
Ingold creates his own tables by using a sanding technique that turns the wood into a topographic design. He also makes the legs of the tabletop for Colley by working together in creating an outline before heading to the woodworking area in the garage to cut the pieces. The focus now is getting three designs a customer can choose from, but the decision process has its moments.
“We fight, a lot,” Colley said. “The way we come to an end result is by us fighting and then it’s over with and we get back to work.”
The couple didn’t disagree on where they would live when they decided to move from Charlotte last October. Union County was the perfect place because of the school system for their teenage son and the amount of space they found in a home near Waxhaw. The house also has a large basement that would be great for a workroom. The two put their architectural experience to work by installing a glassed-in area where the tabletops can dry.
“When we saw it, we imagined what we could do with it,” Ingold said. “It wasn’t a surprise. We knew it would be a studio or a workshop.”
In addition to the tabletops, Colley teaches art classes a couple of times a week. She is also creating a line of headbands and necklaces with painted gemstones placed into metal holders. Whatever direction the business goes, Colley wants to remain true to the couple’s artistic expression.
“I want to do something different. Something unique to us,” Colley said. “… Having a signature without having a signature.”
Want to learn more?
Billy Colley can be reached at 704-281-5411. They have an Etsy account and are developing their website, www.bbcexpressions.com.