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My "Ball Hog" Buddy

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Kelly Forster, KIS Designs, Silverton OR

Welcome to our TennisAlley Artist Spotlight Series! As we prepare to participate in the 2022 Loveland Art Studio Tour, we'll be introducing our contemporary artists as well as those responsible for some of the vintage pieces in our gallery. It was easy to choose where to start.

Kelly Forster, KIS Designs

The first three things Bob and I did when we were struck with the idea of TennisAlley were to reserve the website; email our creative genius friend Kelly Forster, who had moved out of state; and download the "how to start a small business checklist" from the Colorado Department of Revenue's website. In that order.

Back when our kids were growing up, Kelly had gifted me with a little hedgehog that she'd crocheted. In shades of green, orange, white, and yellow, the fist-sized critter captured my heart and, curiously enough, reminded me of my favorite sport. "Will you make more?" I had asked. "I'd like to give them to tennis player friends who are graduating from high school." A decade later, when I asked her to again resurrect the "ball hogs" for TennisAlley, she gave the same reply: heck, yeah! She is still creating through her company KIS Designs, but now she's 1000 miles away in Oregon.

Within a few weeks, a box of handmade stuffies in a range of sizes and shades of chartreuse arrived on our front porch—our first official products "created exclusively for TennisAlley pro shop & gallery." Kelly had added silver racquet charms and "ball hog" tags, along with lobster clasps for the smaller ones so they can hang on tennis bags. Everything about them was perfect, but mostly that they were so enthusiastically and carefully crafted by our dear friend. (She even performed "surgery" on one who we later discovered had a missed stitch.)

A short time later, another box from KIS Designs appears; it is too flat for stuffies. What could it be?

The ball hogs had inspired their creator to bring them to life in another medium—Kelly had surprised us with an original painting on canvas of a feisty ball hog! The existence of this spirited artwork inspired us as we continued to build TennisAlley from scratch. Today it hangs proudly on our south wall, but it is most definitely NFS. You can, however, buy products featuring reproductions of this image, from modern wall clocks to spiral 5x7" notebooks to cheeky handmade potholders and aprons.

So, that's a little story about our multi-talented and kind-hearted friend Kelly. Here's what she says to introduce herself:

Kelly Forster is a jewelry and knitting designer and teacher from the Pacific Northwest where she lives with her husband, three children, three kitties and one very loony big brown dog.

You can find her online at

Thank you, Kelly Forster and KIS Designs, for being our ball hog buddy...and so much more!

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