Fun Outings

Activities to bring the community together

Erikah Tully001

ERIKA TULLY is a self-proclaimed dabbler in all things art. She is grounded by an entrepreneurial spirit that inspires her love of making things to sell, something she has done for as long as she can remember. In February 2021, Tully opened Eclectic Dandelion in the region, an events business that hosts Jigsaw Junction puzzle tournaments, art classes, and social painting parties.

Tully opened her first business, an art and craft gallery, in 1994 in Chicago. In 1997, she created a print catalog of the artists’ artwork in the gallery which eventually transitioned to online only.

In 2012 Tully attended her first sip-and-paint party with some friends. Totally inspired, she started her own sip and paint company called Cork and Palette just four months later.

“Some of the artists who showed their work in my gallery became instructors. Local restaurants and wine shops hosted painting parties. I eventually expanded into corporate team building parties and social events for apartment complex tenants,” she recalls.

“Then in 2017 it happened again,” she says. “As an avid puzzler, I attended a jigsaw puzzle tournament. I was hooked. I decided to host puzzle tournaments in addition to paint parties. And Jigsaw Junction was born.”

Around this same time, Tully and her husband PAUL decided it was time to move south. After googling North Carolina towns, Wilmington became their first and only visit. “We fell in love with the possibilities that Wilmington offered – the beach, the small-town feel, the downtown. And WILMA magazine was something that I carried back to my Chicago friends. I was so excited that the city had a magazine focused on women,” she says. Tully moved to Wilmington in 2020 when the couple’s youngest daughter of three graduated from high school.

Tully brought her business along with her. In addition to paint parties and puzzle tournaments, Eclectic Dandelion offers classes in soap casting, mosaic tiling and re-purposed art, and hosts private parties.

“A dandelion is very eclectic. It is a weed to some and a flower to others. Like no other plant, it completely transforms itself throughout its life. It grants wishes and showers luck. It’s like the sun and the moon, and when it’s ready to spread its seeds, the stars. Dandelions represent so many aspects of my life’s journey. Eclectic Dandelion is very representative of me,” Tully explains as she shared her love of repurposing and recycling thrifted neckties, jeans and jewelry into art, purses and pillows.

Tully’s customers range in age from six to 90 and tend to be female, but men enjoy the events, too. Quiet focused teams of two work on 500-piece puzzles for two hours during competitions. A complete opposite vibe satiates the room at noncompetitive acrylic paint parties. Each participant follows the guidance of a hands-on instructor to complete a 16″ x 20″ canvas. “There’s lots of laughter and joy. Imbibing is encouraged,” Tully says. “Both activities are a different way to be social and do something fun. Many customers say they really enjoyed themselves and look forward to doing it again.”

Tully concludes “Be like a dandelion. Take opportunities to shine, leave room for growth and transformation, and share your gifts with others.”

With that in mind, Tully and her husband are opening a wine and beer bottle shop in Carolina Beach. Named Neapolitan after her daughters – a redhead, a brunette and a blonde – the shop will showcase Tully’s art which has been displayed in galleries around Wilmington and be the home of puzzle competitions and paint events.

To view more of photographer Terah Hoobler’s work, go to

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Categories: Culture