Finding Gifts – and Plenty of Inspiration – at My Muses

Step into My Muses Card Shop on Main Street in the heart of Carrboro, and you’ll probably notice that you immediately feel a sense of calm come over you. Your shoulders will relax a bit, and your mood will lighten as you peruse the bespoke merchandise.

Abhi Sivadas opened My Muses in December 2019. When he lived in India, he was a graphic designer. But he also had a business degree, and he wanted to combine his business knowledge with his artistic expression.

Upon moving to the Triangle, he noticed that “when I wanted to buy art supplies, I had to go to Michael’s.” That gave him the idea to open My Muses, which is about creating community as much as it’s about selling merchandise.

“I didn’t want to open just another business,” Abhi says. “I kind of knew that the community would enjoy this concept. It’s a really artsy community here.”

He’s been limited by space, but that will change this summer as he takes over the adjacent portion of The Station and nearly doubles his square footage. This will allow him to expand his teaching space and add an art gallery. My Muses has offered classes since 2021 – on watercolor, calligraphy, bookbinding, neurograhic art, paper making, Mandala and Yantra, and more – but they’ve been using the retail floor and holding the gatherings during early weekend hours, before the shop opens.

Abhi has four employees – one full time and three part time. With the expansion, he will add another full timer. My Muses became certified with Orange County Living Wage in June 2022.

“To me, a living wage is a basic human right to food, shelter, nutrition, health, education, and overall well-being of an individual,” Abhi says. “It is an employer’s ethical obligation. I strongly believe that paying a living wage creates an economy that works for everyone.”

Abhi with the Elizabeth Cotton card he created.

My Muses is known for its wide range of gift offerings, which is especially useful to shoppers during this busy season that includes Mother’s Day, graduations, weddings, and more. Many shoppers buy journals, tea towels, candles, coloring books, jewelry, stationery, and art supplies for loved ones. Local vendors include: Fireside Farm (dried flowers); Bee Wise Hives (honey); and Cavebear Apothecaire (soaking salts). Not to mention the many local makers who stock greeting cards and handmade paper. (Check out My Muses’ YouTube channel to watch interviews with many of the local artists.) Abhi sells his own line of watercolor cards in the store, including a card depicting Carrboro’s own folk and blues legend, Elizabeth Cotton.

Other suppliers who aren’t local are ethically sourced. Abhi is committed to supporting fair traders.

In June, Abhi will launch weekly painting sessions at a designated location within the community. Artists can bring their own supplies but paint together. These sessions are intended to provide inspiration and a support system – another way for Abhi to nurture the inner artist in all of us while building community.