Art studio opening Sept. 6 in Fort Mill

joverman@fortmilltimes.comSeptember 2, 2013 

— Olive’s Mud Puddle has moved out of Indian Land and making a new home for itself on Main Street in Fort Mill. An opening celebration will be held Friday, Sept. 6.

Owner Debbie Whitsett moved from Charlotte nearly two years ago hoping to find a spot for the business in downtown Fort Mill, but couldn’t find the right place. Instead, she opened the clay studio in a small space on Barberville Road in September 2012.

Recently, a Main Street shop became available and Whitsett jumped on the opportunity. Her studio is named after Whitsett’s favorite – and smartest, she says – pet duck, Olive.

“I’ve always wanted to be on Main Street. That was my whole plan,” she said.

“I bought a house near Main Street so I could walk to work. When this came available I was so excited, I just cried.”

Whitsett is one of a growing number of retailers in the downtown area. Local Dish and Pucker Butt Pepper Co. both opened last year.

Her business will be the third art-oriented shop on Main Street, joining The Painted Parrot and United Artisans.

The new shop is more than four times larger than her first location. Whitsett will continue to offer clay and ceramic classes, and space for parties, but will include a gift shop to showcase local artists and her own painted clay pieces.

The new location also will house a gallery.

“It’s been my dream to have this place with a little retail and handmade stuff to help artists in the area get their name out,” Whitsett said.

Olive’s Mud Puddle is scheduled to open early next month. The first gallery exhibit, “Farm and Rural Life,” is being planned, Whitsett said. It will feature artists from the Carolinas, including Steven Mills, a Fort Mill photographer; Dottie Leatherwood, a Charlotte painter; and Annie Hartline, a painter from Asheville, N.C.

As Whitsett has begun moving into her Main Street shop, she already thinking about a gallery crawl or similar event to “liven it up” around downtown, she said.

“It feels like it’s going to be a good place for me,” she said.

Olive’s Mud Puddle is located at 229 Main St., Fort Mill. Call 704-301-2619 or email

Amanda Phipps contributed to this story.

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