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Alpha Art

A Danville crafter’s antique-style letters have Hollywood calling.


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Courtesy of Ari Fry

What do you get when you mix diy art, power words, and fun-house whimsy? Danville resident Ari Fry got a decorative piece steeped in personal meaning—and an unexpected business that draws orders from around the world.

It all started in 2012, when Fry went online and learned how to create the word glory from poster board, foam core, lightbulbs, and red and gold paint. The antique-style letters turned out so well that Fry’s friend Erin Andrews, owner of Danville’s Sideboard cafe, said she wanted her own special word, grace, in lights for her home. Soon after, Fry launched Carnival Letters on Etsy; enlisted the help of her mathematician dad, Randy Fry; and started cutting and lighting words for customers around the world.

The duo built an 11-piece ode to French shoe designer Christian Louboutin, for a birthday bash for author Robin McGraw (aka Dr. Phil’s wife), and their letters were featured on fashion designer Kate Spade’s blog. Not bad for a fledgling business.

“People write to us that the word we made for them brings light and energy to their room,” says Ari Fry. “For us, it’s like sending off a child and watching them bring something beautiful into a space.”

To view or purchase Fry’s work, visit etsy.com/shop/carnivalletters.

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