As the owner of Smartfish Studio & Sustainable Supply, a new art materials shop in Over-the-Rhine, Alisha Budkie wants to ease the sourcing struggles she encountered as a design student at DAAP. “It was often difficult to track down materials that were sustainably produced close to home,” says Budkie, who opened Smartfish Supply in a sunny storefront on the corner of Main and 13th streets last fall. Now, items like recycled paper, organic cotton muslin, enviro-friendly pigments, and U.S.-made scissors are within easy reach of students at DAAP, The Art Academy, and The School for Creative and Performing Arts.
The store’s name is inspired by a common rumor about the humble goldfish: that their little memories last for only three seconds, rendering them incapable of understanding cause and effect. “We are aware of our surroundings and impact,” Budkie says, “and should be mindful of both.”
Smartfish Supply is also the design lab for Budkie’s line of handmade footwear. As an industrial design student, she was immediately drawn to shoe design. A lifelong runner, she did internships with New Balance and Adidas, both of which schooled her in manufacturing practices she wanted to avoid. All of Budkie’s shoes, most of which are custom made, are created from sustainable ingredients like hemp canvas, jute, natural latex, and recycled sheet rubber. As she says, “I’ve always loved the making side of things.”