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Finding beauty in the ordinary: How one mom turned a painting hobby into a destination in Clay County

Stay-at-home mom, Maria Schopmeyer is the owner of The Farm & Co. in Clay County
Posted at 7:09 AM, Mar 20, 2023

CLAY COUNTY — Hidden gems and unique destinations can be found in all corners of the Hoosier state.

And the little community of Bowling Green in Clay County is no exception.

About an hour and fifteen minute drive southwest of Indianapolis sits a storefront farm with white siding and light green doors.

The Farm & Co. is located in Bowling Green
The space was once an old farm building but now houses art and items for sale.

A mini Magnolia Market of sorts, but this Hoosier business boasts handmade artwork, signs, and hats. It's a space for inspirational home goods that speak to the soul.

"I just love bright colors and flowers," owner Maria Schopmeyer said. "I like anything old that you can paint up and make into something."

Maria has a knack for taking old things and giving them purpose, finding beauty in a pile of junk.

"Bryce says I'll paint on anything. He says if I see it laying on the edge of the road, that I'll just bring it home and paint it up and make it into something magical," Schopmeyer said.

A look inside The Farm & Co.
Maria takes old things and makes them new at The Farm & Co.

Maria is a Brazil, Indiana native and met her now-husband, Bryce, when she was just 13 years old at the county fair. The pair were married when she turned 18.

"So typical, country, country kids," Schopmeyer said. The family now lives on Bryce's family farm in Bowling Green. "We gutted his family farmhouse to the studs."

Maria says she dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom and that is exactly what she started doing when her first son was born.

"I loved staying home and that's what I planned to do, was be a stay-at-home mom," Schopmeyer said. "But I was praying like an intentional prayer, that I wanted God to use me, like use the gifts and talents that He had given me to glorify His kingdom."

Maria discovers her passion
Maria works to decorate a hat for her shop.

As Maria prayed for God to open doors for her and her future, she didn't realize that through a playdate with a fellow stay-at-home mom friend, He opened a window.

Maria says she has no formal training in drawing of calligraphy. But one day during a playdate her friend asked if they saved any of the old windows from the farmhouse construction.

And her husband did.

"He had saved the windows to the house and that's what I first started painting on," Schopmeyer said.

Signs of inspiration
Signs of inspiration and beauty can be found all over this family farm.

She started with some snowmen and says she had no intention to sell the designs, or even decorate with them. It was just a creative outlet that she needed as a stay-at-home mom.

Then one day, she decided just to see if she could sell some on a Facebook yard sale page, and then she brought some to the popular Covered Bridge Festival.

She says she was surprised that people wanted to buy her painted windows and designs.

"My phone kind of blew up overnight and things kind of took off," Schopmeyer said.

At first she planned to work during the year to make creations for the Covered Bridge Festival, but then a trip to Waco, Texas and Magnolia Market inspired her to want to do more.

Maria and Bryce renovated an old farm building on their property to a small storefront called The Farm & Co.

"This is what we've always called our house is 'The Farm' and then 'and Company' because with God's company," Schopmeyer said, who now has a bigger storefront in that space full of hand-drawn designs for sale.

Inspiration behind the artwork
Maria finds her inspiration from the Bible and country music.

"I love just finding like random things," Schopmeyer said. "If it's a cabinet door, or people will call and be like I have this that I pulled out of my house, or I'm redoing this, do you want it? Can you paint on it ? Can you use it?"

Maria says she gets most of her inspiration for the designs from the Bible and country music.

In addition to the signs and painted items in her store, she also has a hat bar, which is a showstopper for folks stopping by her shop.

The Hat Bar
A popular spot in the shop is the hat bar where shoppers can customize their own hat to take home.

"So they can come in. They can look up at all the ones on the wall and then they can come over here. They can pick out a band, they can pick feathers," Schopmeyer said.

She also uses a burning technique to draw designs on the hats. If she is in the store at the time she can even make custom designs for customers with names or favorite quotes.

Making the hats
Maria demonstrates how she makes designs on the hats.

The Farm & Co. has become so popular, several years ago, Bryce quit his corporate job to help with the store. He does a lot of the work on their laser and CNC machines where Maria draws a design on her iPad, which gets sent to a graphic designer. That person creates a cut path and sends the file to Bryce who can make custom designs cut from wood or metal, which have become very popular with customers.

Maria also says the demand is more than what she can drawn by hand online, so they also started making prints of some of her designs. The staining and framing still happens by hand on the farm, often with some helping hands from her two boys, so the farm is the only place to buy the original designs. The website has a variety of prints you can order.

They also added and event space to one side of the property that can be rented out for events like baby showers, wedding showers and birthday parties.

Event Space at The Farm & Co.
This space is available for rentals for events at The Farm & Co.

Events at The Farm & Co. are also a huge draw to the property, with many of their seasonal events bringing in nearly 70 vendors from across the area.

But for Maria, the self-taught artist and stay-at-home mom turned entrepreneur, there is no limit on what The Farm & Co. can become.

"I'm a dreamer," Schopmeyer said.

Maria says there is no limit to what they can do
Maria continues to draw each day and create new ideas for thew space on their family farm.

To learn more about The Farm & Co. you can follow them on Instagram and request to join their private Facebook Group. You can also visit their website https://www.thefarmandcompany.com/

This Spring, the storefront is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 to 4, with their next big event scheduled for Mother's Day weekend.