Batty4Arts is the creative outlet for Jade and Steve Thorpe. We came up with the idea for our little company in 2008, the same year we were married (a long and epic story). In 2015, after many moves, we bought our little slice of Central Texas, Whanau Farm (Whanau is a Maori term meaning extended family).                                

     Steve is a native of New Zealand, which is reflected in his style, and enjoys combining traditional Maori designs with elements of Celtic and Tribal influences. Bone carving has become his primary creative channel, and he’s enjoying incorporating some Texas inspiration into his designs.  He’s also an accomplished painter with over 15 years of painting in oils and acrylics. The huge Texas landscapes have inspired many more paintings that he is eager to start on as soon as we can build a studio space.

     Jade is a native of San Diego, California. She has dabbled in a lot of different arts and crafts, but she is truly passionate about art dolls, or, as we have begun referring to them as, Multi Media Life Sculptures. Of course, she finds crochet therapeutic, so refuses to stop hoarding yarn!

     When we’re not creating art we’re usually fixing something on the farm (we bought a fixer upper), taking care of our menagerie of animals, or being parents. Steve is also skilled in Tai Chi, and Jade is an accomplished belly dancer; eventually we’d like to find space to teach others our chosen escapes!

     So, that’s the gist of us! If you want the epic love story, keep reading; otherwise feel free to browse our offerings. 

Thank you for your support!


The epic story:

    In 2003, Jade escaped an abusive relationship in her final term of pregnancy. She had her son, and survived with the help of her supportive parents. Eventually, she tried dating again, but without much luck. She resigned herself to being a single mom. She joined an online support forum for single parents and made friends with others in the same situation.

     In 2006, Steve’s marriage of 23 years suddenly came to an end, leaving him a shattered wreck. He had two children, a son and a daughter, and no idea how to be a single father. He, too, joined the support forum, needing support and friendship to get him through one of the hardest times of his life.

     Jade and Steve hit it off right away. When she was 13, Jade had gone to New Zealand on a Student Ambassador trip and had fallen in love with the country. Steve was just amazed she knew where the tiny island was! They soon found out that, despite the 20 year gap in their ages, they had a lot in common. They began a friendship through email and yahoo chat that was as rewarding as it was “safe.” Steve lived in Wellington, New Zealand, and Jade lived in San Diego, California. That, mixed with the 20 year age difference, convinced both that their relationship would never be anything more than friendship.

     Four months after beginning epic daily chat sessions that would sometimes last 6 hours or more, Steve found out that his company was sending him to a conference in San Diego, California.

     It took him another month to tell Jade.

     October 13th, 2006, Jade picked Steve up from the San Diego airport. They had dinner and walked for miles (honestly, they walked much further than they should have) on the beach, and realized they were in love.

     But no! That can’t be! Neither one believed in love at first sight! Of course, they’d fallen in love during all those long conversations. They had had no reason to lie to each other, so they’d been painfully honest and now knew each other better than anyone else. And, as luck would have it, their chemistry together was, ahem, very good.

     The conference lasted 3 days, at the end of which Steve rented a Harley, and they toured the Southwest United States for 2 weeks. Jade almost got hypothermia in Flagstaff, not realizing how cold it would be in October and owning no winter gear (she’s from San Diego!).

     Jade arrived home, and thought, “Well, dang.” (Actually, the word she thought was much stronger, but you get the idea.) She knew she couldn’t be happy away from him ever again, but the idea of moving to New Zealand, leaving everything she knew behind (she’d lived in the same house since she was 4 years old) was terrifying. Not to mention they’d only been together for 2 weeks. The idea was crazy!

     June of 2007, Steve picked Jade and her son up from the airport in Auckland. They were married on a beach in San Diego on October 31, 2008.

     They’ve been through a lot! Steve built on to their house in New Zealand, doubling the size of the house, Jade’s son was diagnosed with Autism, and they’ve moved house quite a few times. In 2012, they moved from New Zealand to America, and tried several places before buying the farm in Central Texas. Steve’s son lives in Australia, his daughter lives in California, and their youngest (soon to be a teenager!) still lives at home.

     Through it all, though, they remain, first and foremost, best friends!