Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Featured Exhibitor: LB Originals




Linda Banning left her career in the printing industry to pursue her passion for creating full time. LB Originals is a combination of Linda's background in art, her love of colorful graphics, and her commitment to living authentically. She creates each piece by hand with techniques learned from practicing stained glass, and her years in graphic design are beautifully reflected in the colorful and repurposed glass that she chooses. 

 

 

Who are you and what do you do?


My name is Linda Banning and my company is LB Originals. I grew up along the St. Croix River, across from Stillwater, MN. I studied art and have a Bachelor’s degree from UW-River Falls. I make jewelry from stained glass and salvaged glass bottles & aluminum cans.


What was your first memory of making something?


I used to do sand building projects, complete with landscaping, while spending my days on the beach as a kid. I also made my own Barbie doll clothes and puppets with a stage. My grandmother taught me to macramé and my great aunts taught me quilling.

 


Have you always been passionate about art and design?


I was always drawn to advertising art. Whether it was TV commercials or print ads, I was fascinated by it. That’s why I went into Art with an emphasis on advertising design. (they didn’t have Graphic Design majors back then…) You can see this in my stained glass designs with their clean lines and pops of color. And the Upcycled collection lets me use other artist’s work as inspiration for a reimagined design and purpose.


What do you love most about craft show vending?


The people! I’ve met so many interesting people doing this work. I’ve developed years long relationships with customers and artists. I also love to get immediate feedback from customers, especially on a new design.

 


Is this a full-time business for you?


YES, I’m in my 12th year as a full-time artist. I was in the printing/graphic art industry for 15 years before taking The Leap into life as an Artist.


How did you get started in your business?


Due to personal experiences of Sept. 11th, I re-prioritized my life and moved to Montana in 2002. My goal was to live a more authentic life so, in the fall of 2003, I left my long career in the printing/graphic arts industry to study Fine Arts at Montana State University. This is where I developed my interest in jewelry making. I brought my love of glass and jewelry together in 2004 and created a line of beautiful, wearable art. As LB Originals, I began selling my work at local farmer’s markets and art fairs that same year.

 


Why did you start working in this particular craft?


I remembered colored glass bud vases on the window sills of my grandmother’s house. They were like candy and I loved candy! In 2000, because of my need for creative expression, I took a community education class to build a stained glass window panel. I was hooked and the rest is history.


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


“LB” was my nickname in high school. There are still people, today, who refer to me as LB. The “Originals” came to me after being a production artist for a silversmith. I made the same designs day after day. When I started making stained glass window pieces, I wanted to make each one unique. Now, with my jewelry, I take pride in using my own original ideas and designs to create.

 

 

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

 

www.lboriginalsstainedglass.com

 

www.facebook.com/LBOriginals

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Posted by Admin at 4:23 PM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Monday, September 17, 2018

Featured Exhibitor: Ultimate Minky Pillowcases




 Vonnie Folsom started sewing pillowcases after discovering the beautiful, one-of-a-kind fabric that has made the Ultimate Minky Pillowcase what it is today. She understood right away that she had sewn no ordinary pillowcase, and the benefits of the fabric are far greater than being super soft. Her special "minky" fabric means better sleep-- the microfiber keeps away moisture, heat, and is extremely durable. Vonnie and her customers swear by these special pillowcases, and once you convert to an Ultimate Minky Pillowcase, you'll never go back to cotton.

 

 

Who are you and what do you do?


My name is Vonnie Folsom, a/k/a/ “The Pillowcase Lady.” I make pillowcases that are the ultimate in softness and comfort. Minky fabric is the key – Minky is softer than mink and cooler than cotton. Minky is an unbelievably soft split microfiber that wicks heat and moisture away from your body which helps you sleep cool, dry and comfortable. It is extremely durable, doesn’t pill, fade or tear, is stain resistant, launders well, is static-free, fuss-free and more. Even the best bed pillows are upgraded when you add an Ultimate Minky Pillowcase.


What do your customers love most about your products?


Customers want to touch my pillowcases as soon as they see them because they are so pretty, but once they touch them, they don’t want to stop. I enjoy watching their facial expressions and hearing the oohs and aahs at their first touch of Minky. Customers contact me to share their excitement about sleeping better, not waking up to flip their pillow, and not having messy hair in the morning. Customers also love that it is a great gift, no matter the age or gender.

 


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


A simple thing…we have added a grommet to our little Travel/Go Everywhere pillow and it is making customers happy to not risk losing their travel pillow. The grommet makes it easy to hang up or hook to a backpack or bag when you travel. It is a unique and effective solution to the “where’s my pillow” problem. You won’t understand this problem until you have your own Minky pillowcase.


What do you love most about craft show vending?


Interacting with customers, introducing them to the benefits of Minky, and sharing how Minky provides comfort to those with serious skin sensitivities, i.e. chemo-induced baldness, shingles, burns, as well as to children and adults in hospice. And visiting with past customers is inspiring because they tell me what they love about sleeping on Minky so I learn more about my product from them. I continue to be amazed at the magic of Minky.

 


How did you get started in your business?


After retirement I needed to supplement our income and was looking for a product I could make that would appeal to a wide customer base. I have always loved soft fabrics and enjoy sewing so when I was introduced to Minky fabric in 2012, I made a pillowcase and was amazed at the many benefits the fabric offers. It did not take long for my hobby to grow into a business.


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


None. I knew how to make my product but not how to sell it. I slogged through several shows, learning the hard way. I am so very grateful to vendors who recognized my need and mentored me on some basics, recommended shows, etc. and now it is a joy for me to help other vendors. If I had known my hobby would turn into a viable business, I would have planned better, taken advantage of the many free mentoring and training opportunities available, and worked it as a business rather than a hobby. I am blessed that I have a product that sells well and that most everyone in the world can use.

 

 

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

 

ultimateminky.com

 

www.facebook.com/UltimateMinkyPillowcases

 

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Posted by Admin at 11:54 AM  ⁙  9 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Featured Exhibitor: Ellen Diederich




Ellen Diederich is a painter who creates work with love and care in every brush stroke. Her studio, Givinity Press, produces stunning reproductions of her original paintings as cards, prints, and even a children's book. Although she paints a wide range of subject matter, the common elements of light, color, detail, and movement connect them together to showcase Ellen's unique style and perspective. 

 

 

Who are you and what do you do?


I am a Neo-Impressionistic painter who works in watercolor and acrylic. I love color and am told I have a gifted palette, but mostly I put love into my paintings of flowers, architecture, domestic animals, and more recently, landscape. This spring I painted the lakes, boating, and landscape painting as well as my regular subjects.


Will you be featuring any special holiday items?


My painting “Over the Hills We Go” is available as a Christmas card and a giclee reproduction. Several Christmas card styles are available. My blank note cards are beautifully packaged and always make a nice gift. “Samson’s Gift,” a beautiful gold medal award winning children’s book I wrote and illustrated, shares the joy of giving featuring “Samson” an orphaned lamb, is an ideal Christmas story for the whole family to read together.

 


What was your first memory of making something?


In grade school I remember drawing houses with curtains in the windows, flowers, and detailed bushes in front. To draw the bushes, I kept splitting the branches over and over and putting on colorful leaves. Trees, leaves, branches, flowers, and even stems still fascinate me. I didn’t learn how to draw animals until I took life drawing classes and learned to understand underlying bone structures. It surprised me that so many people love my farm animal pieces. I just wanted to paint them, and didn’t really think they would sell. I guess sharing your love is key.

 

Have you always been passionate about art and design?


Yes, my high school art teachers were amazing and gave me a terrific start. Being horribly shy, painting gave me a tinge of confidence that grew. My addiction to creating more makes me work on my marketing so I can keep on making new pieces.

 


What do your customers love most about your products?


My customers tell me they love the color, the whimsy, and the beauty. It may really be the connections between these things as that is what I work on most.


What’s your favorite item that you sell?


That is a tough one. My favorite paintings continue to get a pat on the back every time I sell another. When people remember them and ask for them I know I really have something. Overall, selling the original art is the most fulfilling to me as you meet someone who truly values the work you do and wants it in its most authentic form.


What do you think sets your design apart from others?


When I paint, I want to feel free and not fussy so I use a 1” flat brush which acts almost like a calligraphy pen. On top of that, I make it an effort to not let you be aware of the brush and turn it like I am actually painting on the subject from my angle of view. This is what gave me my personal style. My brushwork is solid in my watercolors even though it blends together, but in Acrylic it really stands out.

 


How does the city you live in influence your work?


I love architecture and flowers. We had vegetables and animals on the farm and didn’t have time or money for flowers. The people in Fargo appreciate that I paint our beautiful city. Buildings mean so much to people, and many personal, historic stories get shared in front of building paintings. Playing with the light on the strong geometric shapes is very exciting.


Where do you see your business in 3 years?


I hope to explore painting even more. With development, I hope my sales of products such as cards, and reproductions, licensing, and books will keep my staff busy so I can devote myself to a continued exploration though I do like interacting with clients. Teaching painting is also a love of mine and keeps me focused on the basics.


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


Givinity Press is what I use for publishing with its catch phrase- “Giving Divine Images to You”. I came up with it because people have trouble spelling my name and I didn’t know the internet would eventually ask….”did you mean Ellen Jean Diederich?” I wanted to be a giving company, and the best parts of my paintings just show up and I can’t take credit for that. I also have EllenJean Diederich.com as some customers have told me they were intimidated to contact this big corporation (which I am not).

 


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


Failure is part of creativity. If I’m too careful, I get scared and creativity goes down the drain. One great thing about being a painter is that when you fail, you can stick the piece in a closet and no one has to see it. You can learn from the good parts and try it again.

 

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


Rejection is part of the art business. It is painful, but at least people are noticing you. There will be tons of it at the beginning. Keep going and listen and look at what viewers make an effort to tell you. Repeated messages should be analyzed. But most of all listen to your inklings and trust them….give yourself permission to do the things you want and keep trying until you get there.

 

 

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

 

givinity.com

 

www.facebook.com/EllenJeanDiederichStudio/

 

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Posted by Admin at 9:58 AM  ⁙  3 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Friday, September 7, 2018

Featured Exhibitor: Tony Small Originals




Tony Small is a fine art photographer who captures amazing images of the world around him. He specializes in landscape photography and his artistic touches create dramatic, vivid images in his signature style. With years of study and practice in his artform, he has the ability to change the way we see the world around us with his photographs; a world that is more bright, beautiful, and filled with wonder. 

 

 

Who are you and what do you do?


Tony Small is a professional fine art photographer specializing in unique, moving landscapes. Tony’s fine art prints combine dramatic photography, vivid colors and artistic touches to create new, captivating visions of nature and our unbelievable world. Using high resolution digital photography, he’s able to capture the subtle details of some of the most unbelievable landscapes and transfer them to large prints with stunning clarity and color. His work is presented on fine art paper, canvas, metal or acrylic. His award-winning images are printed in numbered collector editions of 50-250 but can be purchased in smaller non-numbered prints.

 


How did you get started in your business?


I gained an interest in photography early in life when my uncle gave me an old film camera he had used for years. With the light meter not working I experimented until I became very proficient at setting the camera to perfectly utilize the available light. I have studied the art of photography for years and shot with several iconic landscape photographers across the country. I work to incorporate my love for photography, people and nature in all my work.
Driven by adventure I am always looking for the next opportunity to find the beauty this world has to offer and share it with others to enjoy. Along with my photography I still like to help others learn the art of photography. For years I was a teacher and it is something that is hard to stop doing. I currently hosts landscape photo workshops for all ages. I also love photographing family events and special moments in life including weddings, portraits and family pictures.
Each image has a good story! Please feel free to ask Tony to tell you more about each of the images as he loves to share his experiences with others. 
As a teacher for over 15 years he enjoys teaching photography workshops on the fundamentals of photography, on site shooting instruction and post processing. Tony hosts workshops in Minneapolis and travel workshops in Minnesota, across the U.S. and other countries. The workshops are to some of the most beautiful places across the world. Review www.tonysmalloriginals.com for upcoming workshop information.
Tony also has a photography business for photographing special events, weddings, family portraits, Senior pictures, personal head shots and real estate. He can be contacted at 317-709-0298.

 


Will you be featuring any special holiday items?


I will be featuring images that are great to put in your home that will build the spirit of the Holidays. This is a very popular image that will be available in many sizes but looks great over your fireplace on in a prominent location for all to see.


What motivates you to create?


I love selling my images to those who like them and want to make them a part of their homes and offices. I have been known for having prices that are very affordable but that is for good reason. I want people to enjoy my images and make them a part of their home and office. They were taken for people to enjoy so I want to ensure everyone has a way to take one home to instill the feeling they get when they view the image.

 


What are some inspirations for your work?


My work revolves around light and unique settings. A number of my images require not only getting up early but hiking long distances before sunrise to be in the location with the most potential for a great shot. My best images are captured early morning, later in the evening or just after some interesting weather when the light is most interesting. Unbelievable light is what gets me up early to go out by myself and capture what so many miss each day. When I am out there and the light is unbelievable I think wow I wish everyone could see this and as a result of my images they can.


Have you had any major failures?


Failures maybe not but challenges with being hard on equipment can be a problem. Too many to mention but putting a camera in the ocean really hurts when you are three thousand miles from home and your backup camera is your phone. As careful as you try to be accidents do happen and photo equipment just really is not made for hiking and the elements.

 

 

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

 

www.tonysmalloriginals.com

 

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Posted by Admin at 11:07 AM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Friday, September 7, 2018

Featured Exhibitor: DeDesigns Jewelry




DeDesigns Jewelry is the work of Linda Bonine and her daughter, Leah; the duo designs handmade jewelry using repurposed vintage pieces. They love transforming special keepsake jewelry into unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that take on a new life. 

 

 

Who are you and what do you do?


My name is Linda Bonine and along with my daughter, Leah, design and make one of a kind jewelry.


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


Our jewelry is one of a kind. We create beautiful pieces using vintage jewelry that we repurpose. The designs are fresh and unique and unlike anything you will see elsewhere. We constantly hear how unique the pieces are and how our marketing is so great.


Have you always been passionate about art and design?


I was born passionate for the arts. My mother was a fine artist and cake decorator and my grandparents were very talented. Every year when I was very little my mom decorated our house painting scenes on our large windows and decorating for the holidays. We always won awards because of her talents. I also was an art major in college and hold a BFA from MCAD. Art has always rocked my world.

 


Is this a full-time business for you?


No. I work full time in the printing industry and Leah is earning her masters in Social Work.


Why did you start working in this particular craft?


I graduated from MCAD with a design degree and had worked in Graphic Arts. I had a car accident and was unable to work because of my injuries. I do not like sitting still and had taken 1 class in college on jewelry crafting. With some coaching from my brother, I decided to design jewelry and do some art and craft shows. That was 38 years ago.


What has been your favorite moment since creating your business?


I have had several. The one that stands out the most for me is that we were scouted to participate in Hollywood for the Emmy Awards. It was such a cool compliment and really made me feel like we were going to make it! Another time was when I sold 5 brooches to Mrs. America to give as gifts to future contestants.

 


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


DeDesigns came from my childhood nickname of DeDe. My sister and I are Irish Twins (11 months apart in birth). She couldn't say Linda at 11 months old. It came out of her mouth as DeDe. The name has been endearing and full of love for me since then. My granddaughter now calls me DeDe after all these years. I love it as I love designing jewelry!


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


Be true to yourself. Not everyone will love every design you make. What matters is that you love them and they become a part of you and that will show in your craft.

 

 

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

 

www.dedesignsjewelry.com

 

www.facebook.com/dedesignsjewelry/

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Posted by Admin at 10:46 AM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS



CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors