Thursday, August 22, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: My Bit of Wonder




 

Miranda Rosa makes playful, spontaneous quilted products full of whimsy and vibrant colors.  Her company makes bags, coasters, pot holders, and more!


 


 


 

Who are you and what do you do?

 

My name is Miranda Rosa. I make modern quilted home goods and accessories. A lot of what I make is done using an improvisational method, which makes much of my stuff truly one of a kind. And I make a lot of stuff with cats on it, because cats are awesome.

 


 

What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?

 

I just finished a bunch of new pouches for my shop. A lot of them are with hand dyed Indonesian cotton batiks. Some with cats.

 


 

Will you be featuring any special holiday items?

 

I’m working on some ideas, but to be honest I get distracted easily and really love just improvisational sewing and seeing where it leads me. I am hoping to have some new ornaments and stockings available.

 


 

How do you usually prepare for the holiday season?

 

I giggled at this one a bit. I make lots and lots of pot holders and mitts and coasters and runners. Then I make lots of pot holders and mitts and coasters and runners. Rinse. Repeat.

 


 

What was your first memory of making something?

 

My mom was an artist. She painted in an impressionist style and did a lot of drawing, pointillism sometimes. I loved to draw with her. I made the tiniest drawings of the most intricate things. The first thing I ever sewed was an ugly yellow outfit for the 4-H fashion show when I was 9. The first quilt I ever made was a batik throw quilt at age 15 when my mom out of the blue decided to open a quilt shop.

 


 

What do your customers love most about your products?

 

Vibrant color. Unique patterns. Something they will not find anywhere else. But also something that is useful. The practical should be pretty. I make stuff for you to use. If you want to hang it, that’s fine. I know at least one person who framed one of my runners. That’s cool. But if you use and abuse it, that’s cool too.

 


 


 


 

Have you always been passionate about art and design?

 

Absolutely. I used to help people pick colors in my mom’s quilt shop when I was a teenager. I used to run drug courts and I was constantly doodling and coming up with ideas during meetings and court sessions. I’ve been to museums across the country and in Paris. I sure hope to go to more soon. Buy my stuff and fund my trips!

 


 

What do you love most about craft show vending?

 

I’m an introvert. That does not mean I’m shy but it does mean I’m drained by human contact. Sewing is very amenable to introverts. However, it is nice to occasionally get out and talk to human beings. I might be even weirder if I didn’t. Plus, you get instant feedback you can use.


 

What’s your favorite item that you sell?

 

Patchwork coasters are my favorite. Each are a little piece of art that you can look at and use every day. Or little patchwork pouches. They’re so cute and useful.

 


 

How did you get started in your business?

 

I was burned out in my day job. I had the opportunity to do it on a part time basis and took advantage of that while I worked on the business. I’ve always sewed but saw expanding what I do into a real business as the chance to take a break. I joked for a while I semi-retired. I work harder than ever, truthfully, and I love it.

 


 

Why did you start working in this particular craft?

 

I’ve sewed for more than 30 years if you count my debut at the 4-H fashion show. I can’t imagine doing anything else creative. My drawing and painting are really terrifying. Sewing brings me a peace I get nowhere else. Plus everyone in my life really had enough quilts by this point, it was time to share with the world.

 


 


 


 

What do you think sets your designs apart from others?

 

I’m not afraid of color. I go with the flow. I don’t plan anywhere near as much as people think I do. I overthink plenty in life, but this is one place I really don’t.

 


 

What has been your favorite moment since creating your business?

 

The day I quit my day job! It was terrifying but so freeing.

 


 

How does the city you live in influence your work?

 

Truthfully I’m not sure that it does. I’m in a suburb of the Twin Cities. If nothing else I can get everything I need delivered here and can stay home and keep sewing! Why grocery shop when you can sew?

 


 

What are some inspirations for your work?

 

The work of the Gee’s Bend women is absolutely inspiring for me. No one makes quilts like they do. They are so fearless.

 


 

What motivates you to create?

 

Improving my mood probably the most. If I’m feeling anxious, all I need to do is sit down and sew something. Money helps too!

 


 

Where do you see your business in 3 years?

 

Hah I don’t know. You’re funny. You think I plan this.

 


 


 


 

Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting story behind it?

 

Oh it’s a long and kind of silly story. When my mom opened her shop, I wanted her to name it Seven Day Wonder. It didn’t make any sense as it really is about fleeting interest. But I was a silly teenager with purple hair and didn’t care about making sense. So for my shop I used the word, Wonder, in homage to that, plus I kept the name generic in case I changed the direction of my business. It kept my options open.

 


 

Have you had any major failures?

 

Sure, baby quilts. I clearly don’t know what people like in baby quilts. So, I quit making them!

 


 

If so, what were some important insights gained?

 

I learned I was glad I didn’t call my business I Love Baby Quilts. I eventually sold most of them. Not everything is going to work. You need to throw a bunch of balls up in the air and see what sticks. And mix your metaphors…

 


 

What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

 

My parents had a few forays into self-employment, so I’ve seen how much work it takes. I knew how much fun it was to do the books and pay quarterly taxes. I knew that there were some really boring parts of the business you need to deal with.

 


 

What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

 

Why not? It’s not very fun to have someone else be your boss! I can take a day off and take my son to the museum on a Tuesday. That’s kind of fun.

 


 

What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

 

Do you. Don’t copy anyone else, it won’t be authentic. Keep a side gig until you are more settled.

 


 


 

 

Check out more Embellish by Sandra products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

 

mybitofwonder.patternbyetsy.com/

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CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Monday, August 19, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Vandalia Glassworks




 

Bryce Borkhuis creates one-of-a-kind blown glass works of art, and has created space for other artists to learn and practice this ancient artform.  

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 Who are you and what do you do?

 

 

My name is Bryce Borkhuis and I am one of the owners of Vandalia Glassworks. My business partner and I operate a public glass  blowing studio located in South Saint Paul, MN. We currently offer bench time to local glass artists in the metro to create and sell their own work. Along with providing space to those local artists we have recently started focusing more on our own product line.

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

What was your first memory of making something?

 

 

My first memory of making something out of glass was actually at our old location located in the Midway area. I remember watching these artists work with sheer amazement and fluidity and wondering how in the world they weren’t burning themselves. Then it was my turn. Ha. I was tripping over my own two feet trying desperately not to let the glass fall off the end of the blow pipe.

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

What do your customers love most about your product(s)?

 

 

I think my customers love the fact that the piece is 100% made from scratch and no one piece is made to be duplicated. Glass has been around for 1000’s of years and it is often times a forgotten art form lost in history.

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

Is this a full-time business for you?

 

 

This is a full time business for me. Vandalia Glassworks started off more of a hobby, but quickly became something much bigger. I think every maker can relate to that. I think we quickly realized the potential that we had and hope to share the knowledge of glassblowing with everyone willing to listen.

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

What motivates you to create?

 

 

Honestly, I think what motivates me to create is the challenge of working with the medium. Of coarse there are other factors, but the challenge of working with molten glass when temperatures are exceeding 2,000 degrees and using heat and gravity to create specific shapes, is a huge factor. It is also extremely rewarding creating a custom piece for someone’s home and seeing it displayed for the owners or their guests to see.

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

 

 

Obviously creating and selling your work is important but I think it is crucial to never over extend yourself. When you first start out your general mindset is to make everything for everyone but that adds even more stress to the already stressful job. It’s okay to say no or to extend your timeframe to get jobs done.

 

 


 


 

Check out more Embellish by Sandra products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

 

vandaliaglassworks.com/

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CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Friday, August 16, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Embellish by Sandra




 

Embellish by Sandra creates inventive and beautiful items for parties and dinners, utilizing wood-burning and engraving techniques.   

 

  

 

 

Who are you and what do you do?

 

 

 

My name is Sandra Pohle and I own Embellish by Sandra. When I first started my business, just over 2 years ago, I was making wine stoppers. I still make the wine stoppers and now I also wood burn and engrave unique designs on all types of products. I have mostly worked on wooden spoons, wine glass toppers, coasters and cheese boards. I love adding fun and creativity to items we use every day.

   

 

 

 

Will you be featuring any special holiday items?

 

Many of my items make great stocking stuffers. I will also incorporate some holiday themes into a few of my items, in particular the wine glass toppers. I have some ideas of fun holiday sayings that will be perfect for those holiday gatherings.

  

 

  

 

 

What do you love most about craft show vending?

  

I love that I get to be creative and make products that people can utilize. It makes me so happy when my items put a smile on someone’s face. It’s such a great feeling knowing that I make something that people can take home and enjoy.

 

 

What’s your favorite item that you sell?

 

My favorite item would be the wood burned wine glass toppers. They’re unique and they serve many purposes. They are great for keeping the bugs and bees out of your wine while sipping outside. You can also use them as a mini plate on your wine glass for snacks and appetizers. Perfect for those holiday parties so you’re not holding a separate plate and your wine glass.

  

 

 


How does the city you live in influence your work?

 

My husband, Rick, and I have lived in the Twin Cities area for about 4 years. I have been so grateful for the opportunities that are offered for local makers and artisans. There are so many local shops and people who put on events and markets that give businesses like mine the chance to sell our items and gain exposure. It’s pretty amazing!

  

 

 

What motivates you to create?

 

I’m in my happy place when I’m creating. I find it therapeutic, if I’m not under any tight deadlines. I try to come up with new designs or products frequently to keep it exciting.

  

 

 

 


What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

 

My husband and I left the corporate world 3 years ago. We started a business in an industry with my husband’s background and I started Embellish shortly after. While we learned a lot over the years in our corporate jobs and we probably wouldn’t have been able to start our own business without that experience, I’m very grateful to be self-employed. Like the saying goes, ‘Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid a 40 hour work week’.

  

 

 

What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

 

Believe in yourself. As many of us do, I often struggle with self-doubt. Take compliments to heart and be grateful for the small wins.

  

 

  

 

 

Check out more Embellish by Sandra products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

 

www.etsy.com/shop/EmbellishBySandra

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CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Jam's and More




Jam's & More works closely with both Amish and Mennonite families to bring their home made Jam's, Salsa's and Pickles to your kitchen!




Who are you and what do you do?

 

One of the most unique things about all of our products is everything we do comes from or is taught to us by the Amish! We work with Amish families throughout the year on a variety of items. From Spring Flowers, Fall Mums, Jams, Salsa, Pickles, Rugs, and other specialty items. We truly value their expertise, hard work, and dedication in everything they do!




What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?


We are so excited to have started our Amish Large Glazed Donuts! I was personally invited into a home and was taught first hand from an amazing family in Iowa. She has 17 children and wow could they cook! Working side by side with them, learning and baking with them was something I will never forget. In today’s world, we have equipment that allows us to work faster and easier. This was not the case with baking in the home, everything was done by hand, which really made you appreciate the final product!




What do your customers love most about your products?


I really believe that individuals like our story. So many times we are asked questions about the Amish. We are asked the 5 W’s, Who are they? What are the Amish like? When did you start working with them? Why/How did you start working with them? We love sharing our story with everyone. And of course no matter what product we sell, spring flowers, house rugs, jams, salsa, pickles, and our glazed donuts, the quality is amazing!




How did you get started in your business?


Back in January 2018 we began our story with spring flowers and finding the BEST and most knowledgeable people we know, the Amish families. We talked, visited and learned about their processes for growing flowers. Not only are the Amish families amazing farmers, but their cooking is absolutely fabulous! We began sampling their jams, salsa, and pickles! Now we have begun sharing these products with you! We are attending local craft fairs/shows and we couldn’t be more excited!




What has been your favorite moment since creating your business?


It all goes back to meeting and learning from the Amish families! It reminds us and teaches us what our ancestors did and how in today’s society we take everyday tasks for granted.

 

 

Check out more Jam's & More products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

 

facebook.com/jamsandmore

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CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Heavenly Treats




Kathy Leighton Carton of Heavenly Treats handcrafts her toffee thinner, covers both sides in chocolate, and lightly sprinkles walnuts over the top.  Kathy prides herself on the impeccable quality of her toffees, cookies, and caramels.



Who are you and what do you do?

 

I am Kathy Leighton Carton, Founder of Heavenly Treats.  Our company makes excellent tasting products.  We create gourmet toffee (close to 40 years), incredible toffee cookies and creamy caramels.  People are looking for fresh, quality products right here in Central Minnesota and we are able to offer just that. 




What do your customers love most about your products?

 

What our customers love most about our Heavenly Treats Products is the quality.  Our loyal following knows that when they purchase our products they will not be disappointed.  We have refined our toffee to be exceptional.  it's a thin, crips toffee, very easy to bite into and coated with chocolate and nuts on both top and bottom.  We have created many flavors, the two most popular being Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate.  We also don't waste anything, so with our toffee tidbits we create wonderful toffee cookies.  The cookies are becoming as popular as our toffee.  




What do you love most about craft show vending?

 

What I love most about craft shows and events is introducing people to our freshly made products.  I especially like seeing the reactions of people when they first bite into our toffee, an experience of what toffee should taste like.  We have reinvented toffee and want as many people to be able to enjoy it as possible.  




How did you get started in your business?

 

I started making toffee back in 1980, while teaching at a Catholic School.  One of the nuns taught a few of us teachers how to make toffee.  Hence the name, Heavenly Treats.  That small events set me on a path that eventually changed my life.  I became passionate about pefecting our toffee making sure it's as thin as possible, making it one batch at a time using fresh, quality ingredients, and continuing to experiment with additional new toffee flavors.  As the years went on people kept asking for our toffee and it's become more year round than just a seasonal business.




What are some tips or suggestions you'd like to offer to fellow makers?

 

I've been working my small business for quite a few years, becoming an official business in 2008.  I've learned much over the many years and have greatly benefitted from networking with other entrepreneurs.  Being and entrepreneur is really a gift we're given.  It's a way to be able to express yourself through your products or art.  It's really important to surround yourself with likeminded people and to realize that you don't have to do it all.  Seek out people that have strengths that you may not possess and feel free to let go of some things.  Build a solid team around you and your business will grow.  


 

Check out more Heavenly Treats products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

www.myheavenlytreats.com

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CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Friday, July 26, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Willow Tree Jewelry




 
Who are you and what do you do? 

We are a mother-in-law/daughter-in-law jewelry artist team based in Minneapolis. We are proud to design and create pieces that combine a mix of semi-precious stones, gold filled and sterling silver metals, and authentic leathers.

What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?

We are currently working on adding new earrings and rings to our collection with the use of metal fabrication, forging, and metalsmithing. We are also working to include new gemstones in our collection too!

Will you be featuring any special holiday items?

We are working on a handful of gift sets that will be available this coming holiday season.
 
 
What was your first memory of making something?

Years ago, when Brenda was traveling with her son for athletics, she often found herself with quite a bit of downtime. While on a sports trip to Saint Louis, MO, she wound up in a bead store, expecting to only be there for a few minutes. Two hours later, she found herself with a basket full of beads, findings, wire, tools, and instruction books. It was then she knew that she was hooked on jewelry making.

What do your customers love most about your product(s)?

Customers love our quality, attention to detail, delicate and bold designs, and most of all, our custom bracelet size guide - no two wrists are alike, and everyone deserves a bracelet that fits well.
 

Have you always been passionate about art and design?

Brenda's love for art and design started at an early age when she learned how to make clothing. Years ago, fashion was not as accessible as it is today. Many times, the latest fashion could only be found at an expensive department store or in a secondhand shop (still at a premium price). Knowing that she was good with a needle and thread, Brenda began making clothing. From selecting patterns to coordinating colors - her clothes became some of her most significant accomplishments.
 
Like Brenda, Christina has always loved art and design. From writing to photography to jewelry design, she has always been fascinated with the idea of creating something new. Joining Brenda in business has allowed her to explore unique aspects of her creativity that she never knew existed, and for that, she is grateful.
 
 
What do you love most about craft show vending?

We love interacting with our customers. It means a lot to us to have the support of our returning customers over the years - it is always a highlight to see a familiar face!

 

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CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Moxie Malas




Moxie Malas is crystal healing and aromatherapy jewelry inspired by the best version of you and created as a reminder that all those qualities already exist within.  Each piece of Moxie Malas is created using genuine semi-precious gemstones and crystals.  The intentions for the jewelry is set with the needs of the wearer in mind and what stones and crystals best support that intention.  

 

 

Who are you and what do you do? 

Jessica Hoch, Owner of Moxie Malas and we create crystal and gemstone jewelry as a wearable affirmation of the energy within.

   

What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?     

We just launched our NEW Moxie Monthly Bracelet Club where you get an exclusive to the club bracelet each month along with a crystal and worksheet on how to incorporate the intention of the bracelet into your life.

 

 

Will you be featuring any special holiday items? 

I will be offering an essential oil and bracelet gift set!

 

 

 

How do you usually prepare for the holiday season? 

Preparation for the holidays usually starts in about June with planning and then the ordering of the stones and crystals will be done in September with making happening in October. 

 

What was your first memory of making something? 

I grew up in an family of artists so I have been creating and making for as long as I can remember. When it comes to beaded jewelry my cousins and I would create bracelets and necklaces at the cabin every summer. 

 

What do your customers love most about your products? 

My customers love the deeper meaning behind each piece we create. Each bracelet and each mala (meditation beads) we create has a specific name and story to explain the energies of the stones and crystals that are combined. When our customers are shopping Moxie Malas they are really looking deeper into what it means to them and what it represents as they wear it each day. 

 

 

 

Have you always been passionate about art and design? 

Absolutely! Growing up in the back room of a flower shop I have been surrounded by color, design and natural beauty since before I can even remember. 

 

What do you love most about craft show vending? 

The thing I love most about craft show vending is getting to really interact with our customers and hear their stories. 

 

Is this a full-time business for you? 

Yes, Moxie Malas is my full time business. 

 

 

 

What’s your favorite item that you sell? 

My favorite item that we sell is the Peace Within Mala - I have been wearing it almost daily for about a year and a half now. 

 

How did you get started in your business? 

I started Moxie Malas really as a way to give meaningful gifts to my friends and family and it slowly blossomed into a business. 

 

Why did you start working in this particular craft? 

Working with malas and with stones and crystals was very intentional for me. I really wanted to create something with beautiful energy, deep meaning and jewelry that would be a vehicle for a greater message. 

 

 

 

What do you think sets your designs apart from others? 

The unique combinations of stones and crystals as well as the stories behind each piece. 

 

What has been your favorite moment since creating your business? 

There have been so many amazing moments in the last 4 years, but the one that stands out the most for me is when a women emailed me saying that she had been meditating everyday since purchasing the mala (meditation beads) and that it had changed her life. That moment really solidified my “why”.

 

How does the city you live in influence your work? 

Being is MN there is so much support and enthusiasm for local makers. It has been integral in the growth of my business.

 

 

 

What are some inspirations for your work? 

My biggest inspiration for my work is people. The whole reason I do what I do is to help people to heal, transform, and step into their own personal power. Much of the aesthetic inspiration comes from the natural beauty of the stones and crystals themselves. 

 

What motivates you to create? 

A deep desire to be surrounded by beauty and to work with my hands.  

 

Where do you see your business in 3 years?  

I see my Moxie Monthly Bracelet Club growing into a thriving online community as well as hosting workshops and retreats all over the county. In 3 year I also see my retailer list growing and thriving. 

 

 

 

Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting story behind it? 

Moxie to me is really about having a clever perseverance, positive mind and a vision for the future. Moxie is about knowing yourself and believing in your inner hopes and dreams. 

 

Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained? 

I don’t know that I would necessarily call it a failure, but I started my business with a different name and logo. I rebranded to Moxie Malas in 2017. The biggest insight here was the shift from making the jewelry to heal myself to making the jewelry for others and what it really meant to my customer rather than just myself. 

 

 

 

What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business? 

I have been a yoga and meditation teacher for 10 years and have my 500ryt from Devanadi Yoga, as well as Reiki 2 certification. Much of the energy and personal growth exercises and knowledge come from these teachings. I also have a Bachelors’ Degree in Apparel Design and Development which has really helped with the production side of things.

 

 

What made you take this leap into being your own boss? 

I grew up in a family business and watched my mom be her own boss my whole life and it really seemed like the next natural step. I really decided to go full time with it when the finances could support me doing so and when the workload became too great to have any other projects. 

 

What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers? 

Keep following your passions and remember that no one can create what you are creating. Even if it’s the same exact object or thing, they are not you and don’t have your energy or life experience to offer. Trust the process, honor your energy, and take things at a pace that serve you and your life aspirations. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out more Moxie Malas products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

 

www.moxiemalas.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Admin at 3:25 PM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Umbreen Hasan




Umbreen Hasan uses unconventional materials and tools to create unique abstract paintings that resemble rich oceans and otherworldly stones.  She applies these gorgeous images to a wide range of products, bringing a sense of wonder to a room in surprising ways. 

 

  

 

Who are you and what do you do?

 

 

I am Umbreen Hasan; creator of Umbreen Hasan Fine Art, a practicing specialist physician in Minneapolis, an MBA in Healthcare Administration, interior designer, event planner for friends, and most importantly mother and wife to a wonderful family! I started painting in 2017 and my business for corporate and hospitality art installations came into existence in April 2019. Prior to that I was mostly exhibiting in galleries locally as well as nationally in Chicago and New York.
I don’t use any typical art tools like brushes, but paint with my hands, hair dryers, heat guns, canned air and fire from blow torches. Although I use acrylics, oil and encaustics (molten wax with pigments) my interest is in alcohol inks, resin and sculptured artworks using gold dust and semiprecious gems for colors.

 



What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?


I have so many ideas floating in my mind everyday! Although I love making large scale artworks, recently I have started making resin jewelry trays, catchalls from scratch, wooden cheeseboards, charcuterie boards and serving trays with original artwork. I love to combine art with functionality. These generally get sold out quickly as people love to use an original piece of art in their daily lives and not just something which hangs on the wall.


What do your customers love most about your products?


My clients love the fact that my artworks are unique as I don’t use the traditional tools and techniques. Incorporating  metals like gold, copper, aluminum and gems such as  malachite, quartz, amethyst etc makes them a unique, one of a kind product. My artworks evoke feelings of joy, happiness and serenity. That’s what I try to achieve in my work and that is one of the greatest compliment I have received from my previous clients. It gives me immense pleasure to hear that I can convey these beautiful emotions through my artwork.



Have you always been passionate about art and design?


I have always loved art and interior designing but once I entered the medical field, I didn’t have time to pursue my hobbies. I have never been trained in fine arts but always had an inclination towards it.

 



How did you get started in your business?


I was involved in a motor vehicle accident in 2016 and suffered various injuries. One day while I was feeling down, I went to the local craft store to buy supplies for a flower arrangement. I found myself standing in the art section and inquired from the salesgirl to help me pick out some paint and tools as I had no idea how to use them. My first painting was that evening and when my family saw it, they didn’t believe that I had painted it. After that painting was therapeutic for me and my studio was my sanctuary. Soon a magazine heard my story and featured me in January 2018. The rest is history. 

 


What are some inspirations for your work?


My inspiration has always been nature. I lived in New Zealand for a couple of years on the beach. We used to go for walks in the rainforest. These are such precious memories and that’s the inspiration for all my art.



Where do you see your business in 3 years?


We have been working on establishing a strong presence as a one stop business for corporate, hospitality and healthcare art installations both locally and nationally. I still work with individual clients as my interior design background can help in choosing the right art for the color scheme, space and the budget.
We have also continued to cater home décor sector with functional art such as charcuterie boards and serving trays.

We plan to expand into art licensing and collaborate with some companies
A range of wallpapers for interior designers is also in the pipeline.


Check out more of Umbreen Hasan's products online, and be sure to stop by her booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

www.umbreenhasan.com

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Posted by Admin at 2:11 PM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Twice Baked Pottery




 Twice Baked Pottery aims to provide high quality pottery at a reasonable price.  Scott Obernberger, the potter, proprietor, and purveyor of  Twice Baked believes that pottery is meant to be used and enjoyed.  “It is functional art, not just to be placed on a shelf, but on your table -- a tool for you to use when breaking bread with friends or enjoying some quiet time curled up with a good book and a mug of coffee, hot cocoa, or tea.  Pottery is meant to enhance, not take over.”

 

 

Who are you and what do you do?

  

I’m Scott Obernberger, the potter, proprietor, and purveyor of Twice Baked Pottery.  Our store is a unique shopping experience — how often can you actually watch and see the very same items you are about to buy being made right in front of you?  I make all of the functional pottery I sell right in the shop in front of my customers.  One of my goals was to give customers a chance to see how pottery is made. Whether it is throwing at the wheel, putting handles on mugs, glazing, or loading kilns, customers get to see all of the love and labor that goes into each and every piece that I make.  At Twice Baked Pottery we offer a personal touch so that everyone’s shopping experience brings back memories of a simpler time — when people greeted each other warmly, service was a priority, and you knew not just where something was made, but the person who actually made it.

 

Have you always been passionate about art and design?

I’ve been working with clay for more than ten years.  Initially just a hobby to escape from the grind of the "day job", I’ve found my calling and am enjoying the next chapter of life -- transforming what was a hobby into a profession.  Having practiced law for more than 18 years, the transition to potter may appear anything other than a natural fit.  My focus for the first half of my life had always been in areas where I used my analytical skills -- from being a Politics major at The Catholic University of America to representing thousands of clients in court and running my own litigation practice in Milwaukee.  Taking up pottery as a hobbyist was an incredible change in how I both thought and saw the world.  Art opens your mind and lets you see things that we miss in everyday life.  Art creates possibilities we don't always see or that we take for granted.

What motivates you to create? 

Constantly expanding his repertoire in clay, Scott looks forward to taking additional classes and learning new techniques.  "There is so much more that I want to accomplish in clay.  It is an art form that allows for constant change and experimentation.  It is the artistic marriage of control and chaos -- you never know what you'll have until it's done.  I don't know yet where this journey will take me, but I am excited to find out."

 

 

 

Check out more of Scott's products online, and be sure to stop by his booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

 

www.twicebakedpottery.com

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Posted by Admin at 9:54 AM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Featured Exhibitor: A.M. Soap Company




 

Who are you and what do you do? 


Bill Smith. I make handcrafted olive oil-based bar soaps and shave soaps. I have been making soaps for almost 20 years and have been selling my soaps since 2009. I have been many things in my life; engineer, chemist, sculptor, librarian, and more, and being a soapmaker is the most enjoyable thing I have done because I get to use many of my interests and talents.


What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?


I’m working on developing a shampoo bar soap formula and a jewelweed soap for poison ivy relief. I spent four years developing a shave soap formulation I was happy with, and ten years for the bar soap formulation I use. Shampoo bars are challenging because there are many factors to consider and balance.


Will you be featuring any special holiday items?


I have several bars that are scented intentionally for the holidays. Orange Clove, Peppermint Vanilla, Frozen, Balsam, Holiday Berries and Frankincense & Myrrh. I will likely also have a holiday sampler set of six half-bars wrapped in ribbon which will make wonderful gifts.

 


What was your first memory of making something?


My parents (a machinist and knitter and wonderful cook) always encouraged all five of their kids to use their hands. The first thing I remember making is a scrap-wood fort in the middle of their driveway. The neighbors were not happy with a kid’s eyesore, but it was recycled pretty quickly into more projects.


What do your customers love most about your product(s)?


My customers give my soaps rave reviews for the way it leaves their skin feeling when they use it and the scents I use. Many people tell me how much they love my soaps because their skin is moisturized and not dry and the bars are silky smooth with great lather.


Have you always been passionate about art and design?


Yes. I am trained as an engineer because I love to design and make things. While studying engineering, I also studied art history, ceramics, and sculpture. I have studied and practiced various arts since I was a child.

 


What do you love most about craft show vending?


Meeting hundreds of people and having a chat with many of them. Those that I have met before at previous craft shows often become repeat customers and friends. It makes me happy to make others happy.


Is this a full-time business for you?


Soapmaking is my full-time occupation and has been for about five years now. I sell at about twenty craft shows each year and supply a number of stores in Minnesota with soaps. I also ship soaps all over the United States to repeat customers.


How did you get started in your business?


My wife convinced me to sell soap when her office told her they wanted to by my soaps because they loved them instead of get them for free. I had been giving every member of her office soaps, as well as friends and family, to the tune of about 100 pounds of soap each year so I could make more. I made way more soap than I can personally, and I keep wanting to make more. My soapmaking is a hobby gone wild.


Why did you start working in this particular craft?


Commercial soap was unsatisfying to me and made my skin itch. I’m an engineer. I knew I could make better soap and spent 10 years refining my recipes and techniques.


What do you think sets your designs apart from others?


I use bold colors and bold scents in my soaps. Many handcrafted soaps are rather bland in color and weak in scent, in my opinion. My wife says her opinion is that it’s a reflection of a man making. I also use oils that are better for your skin than many soapmakers. Soap can be made from a lot of different oils, and many soapers choose cheap oils that clean well but strip skin oils and are unsatisfactory in other ways; lather, conditioning, moisturizing.


What are some inspirations for your work?


I try to make every soap bar design be unique and have a rational relationship between the scent and the color. Scent is the most nostalgic sense, and if a scent calls an image or feeling to my mind, I try to design the bars to reflect that.


What motivates you to create?


Curiosity. If a person has curiosity and acts on it they will never be bored. I don’t like being bored and I like to challenge myself. How is X done? Can I do that? Can I do it better?


Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting story behind it?


a.m. soap company is named because when I finally created a soap formula that I though was perfect, I got out of the shower telling my wife that it made me happy in the morning and it was a great way to start the day. Our original image was a sunrise over a lake, and our current package highlights a shining sun.


What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?


I have good skills in mathematics, chemistry and formulation and have good lab skills because I have worked professionally as an engineer and a chemist. These skills are important to being able to create beautiful soaps that perform extremely well and satisfy demanding customers. I am also good at creating specialized equipment and tools I might need.


What made you take this leap into being your own boss?


In 2008 when the economy tanked, I had no employment. I decided that I needed to make my own job if I wasn’t finding one, because doing nothing wasn’t an appealing option. I started this business so that I didn’t sit around unproductively, and so that I would model good behavior for my children. I wanted to show them that we are the masters of our own fate.


What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?


Don’t take on too much debt. I believe it is better to build slowly on a solid foundation than to saddle oneself in large debt quickly to accomplish growth quickly. Cash flow problems are what ruins most small businesses. It takes time to build a business and relationships with customers, and word of mouth reputation takes time to build. Treat customers well, price fairly and keep price points in mind because customers do. Don’t skimp on materials to increase profits. Customers can tell quality and they appreciate it.

 

 

Check out more of Bill's products online, and be sure to stop by his booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 2-4, 2018 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

 

amsoapcompany.com

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Posted by Admin at 4:08 PM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

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