Volume One Special Coverage: Pulling Together While Staying Apart


Embracing the Odd

Odd Humyns + Odd Brand Strategy introduce the School of Odd

Rayna DeJongh, photos by Andrea Paulseth

DRAWN TO THE SHELF. Odd Humyns, 209 N. Barstow St., is an outgrowth of Odd Brand Strategy.
DRAWN TO THE SHELF. Odd Humyns, 209 N. Barstow St., is an outgrowth of Odd Brand Strategy.

Serena Wagner and Elle McGee, founders of Odd Brand Strategy and now Odd Humyns – a downtown Eau Claire art store, 209 N. Barstow St. – are expanding their offerings even further with the opening of the School of Odd. The endeavor’s first workshop will be “Write and Publish Captivating Narratives,” featuring an intimate six-seat setting focused on developing narratives which will be led by Elizabeth de Cleyre, a local writer, editor, consultant, and designer. The course will run on Wednesdays from Jan. 16 to Feb. 13.

“Aside from this first workshop, we’re trying to create a school that does a couple of things,” said Wagner, the School of Odd co-founder and creative director. “A space that financially supports professional artists and creatives – by giving them a platform to lead or instruct offerings in the area of their respective expertise – continues intellectual and creative development for folks outside of academia and strengthens our local creative network by keeping them engaged and creating.”

The School of Odd workshops will only expand after the first project, with multiple creative activities such as drawing lessons; songwriting; critiques; art therapy; education about how to work with different art materials; creative panels with local and non-local musicians, artists, authors, and performers; and much more.

After meeting at UW-Eau Claire and pursuing careers in graphic design, Wagner and McGee found themselves searching for creative stimulation outside of their jobs. In 2016, after a few years of design work in office settings and side projects such as the zine collective Twig, McGee and Wagner had an idea to start an accessible, female-led design studio. In 2017, Odd Brand Strategy came to life and the two women created a collaborative design studio focused on visual experience.

Within the last year, the two creatives have opened their own art supplies shop, continued their work with Twig, developed branding for multiple organizations and businesses, and much more, but they just couldn’t stop there.

The School of Odd will be held in a creative space in the basement venue and gallery space of Odd Humyns, now called “The Salon.” The space will offer a variety of workshops, events, discussions, and more on all things creative. This school is intended to lift the morale of all creative minds in the Eau Claire area by offering a space to expand and support the creative community.

Any and all future offerings will be accessible at oddhumyns.com. To learn more about the de Cleyre’s writing workshop, visit cedecreative.com/workshops.

Lasker Jewelers
Lasker Jewelers

Pulling Together Partners

The following organizations are currently supporting Volume One’s work in the community during the pandemic:

Lasker Jewelers

L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire

Downtown Eau Claire Inc DECI

University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

Pablo Group

Wisconsin Independent Network

Middle West Management

Bon Iver

Royal Credit Union

Silver Spring

Evergreen Surgical

Charter Bank

The Murty Henriksen Family

The Larry and Marie Past Family

The Dan and Kerry Kincaid Family

Anton and Rae Schilling-Smets

Brady and Jeanne Foust

If your organization is interested in supporting Volume One during this difficult time, nick@volumeone.orgcontact us.