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Madison Style: Printmaker launches career with a little help from Dolly

Madison Style: Printmaker launches career with a little help from Dolly


With a bit of help from Dolly Parton, Madison artist Lesley Numbers has created a presence in the local art world and built an Etsy shop selling her handmade screen prints.

Numbers and her Etsy shop, Patchwork Productions, caught an early break when her first print was re-posted on a Dolly Parton social media website. The print features an image with a coffee cup and the line “Pour Yourself a Cup of Ambition.”

“The first print I made after deciding to ‘seriously’ make art was the not-very-serious Dolly Parton print,” Numbers said. “It ended up getting blogged to Dolly Parton’s official Tumblr site right before the holidays, and I’ve been selling out of it since then. I never thought Dolly Parton would be paying for my groceries.”

Numbers said she gained early inspiration watching her mother quilt, an experience that helped develop her style of patching multiple hand-drawn images and text together. After graduating from West High School and studying in New York City and Asheville, North Carolina, she graduated with a degree in art education from UW-Madison.

While on maternity leave from a job at the Monroe Street Art Center, Numbers devoted herself to art and began sketching images. She sketches and letters by hand and creates her screen prints primarily at Madison Area Technical College’s Center for Printing Arts.

“I draw almost daily, but printing comes in waves,” she said. “One week I’ll churn out two editions of posters and some cards and then I might not print again for several weeks.”

Starting this fall, Numbers plans to collaborate with local Polka Press and other Madison and Milwaukee artists. Her work can be found online on Etsy, at craft shows and is on display at 4 and 20 Cafe on East Johnson Street.

“It feels like a good time to be making art in Madison. From the emerging public market, to the resurgence of murals, to places like The Bubbler and Yellow Rose Gallery, there is a lot of potential for artists right now,” she said.Have an idea for a local store we should feature? Email

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