Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Hopelark

Lauren Elisa makes amazing clay figurines, fairy houses, and all kinds of clay embellished products.  Her work is full of vibrant colors and joy!


Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Lauren Elisa, and I work with polymer clays to make all kinds of gifts and home décor. I love the versatility and bright colors of polymer clays. I’ve used clay to bring color and joy to pens, glassware, crochet hooks, keychains, wall art, and candleholders. My favorite products are my cuties, little cartoon-style figurines that bring delight to kids and grown-ups alike. I also love the fairy houses, these intricately detailed houses sculpted around a 4oz jam jar, so the roof twists off for a secret hiding place.

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

I’m currently working on a large mosaic of individually sculpted square inch tiles. I’m utilizing some of the concepts I’ve learned in zentangle, using many different small patterns to create a larger picture. I can’t wait to be able to exhibit the piece at a show!

Will you be featuring any special holiday items?

One of my most popular pieces is my nativity set. I originally made it just for my daughter. I think a nativity set that is safe for kids to play with is a great way for them to become familiar with the Christmas story, so I intended to buy one for my little one. I was disappointed that all the sets I could find had a baby Jesus with blue eyes and blonde hair. My set features six different skin tones, including a black angel and brown Jesus. Adults love the rich colors and intricate details; kids love that the set is sturdy enough for enthusiastic play.

What do your customers love most about your products?

I try to put joy into everything that I make, and I think my customers really respond to that. My pieces are full of color, and combine geometric and organic patterns to create a feeling of stability. The images I use are intricate and easily accessible. When customers see my work, they respond with delighted surprise. I love hearing children call to their parents to “come look at this!”


What do you think sets your designs apart from others?

A lot of artwork is about making sense of pain, and that is an awesome way to deal with pain and communicate to others that they aren’t alone. I’ve done that kind of artwork in other mediums like drawing and poetry, but my clay work is about joy and fun. It’s about reconnecting with the playful imagination we remember from childhood. I want my work to go into people’s homes as a source of joy, a reminder that life can be simple and lovely.

What has been your favorite moment since creating your business?

A woman at a show once asked me if I would make a clay-embellished goblet in the style of her mother’s porcelain urn. I guess the urn had somehow become lost to her, but she had a picture of it. Working from that picture, I tried to get as close to the original as I could using blending and caning techniques. After I shipped it, I got a message from the woman that she’d cried when she opened my box. She said, “It’s like I have a little bit of my mother back.”

What advice do you have for other creators?  

Make lots of things.  Make as many things as you possibly can.  Pretend everything you make is amazing until everything you make is amazing.  Is it important?  Is it great?  Will anyone buy it?  It doesn't matter, just keep making things.  Keep making things like crazy and you'll find your voice, and what you have to say is important.  Keep making things and you'll hone your skills until what you make is great.  If you end up making something important and great, people will want to buy it.  


Check out more Hopelark 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!




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Posted by Admin at 3:24 PM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS

CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Monday, September 9, 2019

Featured Exhibitor: Eye Candy Gone Green

Candy Becker makes upcycled bags, shirts, hats, and other accessories, finding inspiration in discarded objects like shirts, bags, belts, and jewelry!




Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Candy Becker and I own and operate Eye Candy Gone Green. Everything I make is upcycled; I repurpose clothing, jewelry, and belts. If I see something and I think I can upcyle it into a purse or a bag or a shirt, that’s what I do. I really enjoy making hats, sports hats, bomber hats, bucket hats. I use a lot of denim, sweaters, jackets. I also make bags and purses, and I’m especially proud of the lovely lining I use in the bags. They all have a zipper on the inside of the bag as well as the outside 


What do you like most about craft vending?

My vending friends! Craft shows are very social for me, I get to connect with other vendors that I see at all the shows, with my customers, and wonderful show managers like Tammie from L&L. She got me involved in the Gift & Art Show!


What are you working on right now?

One of my special orders recently was a Viking hat. I made it out of a jersey, and I’m really excited about that. This time of year I’m mostly busy with special orders.



How do you prepare for the holidays?

I make specialty items for all the shows I do. For the holidays, I do themed bags, each one is different every item is unique. All my holiday items has something everything has something red and sparkly on it.



What’s your first memory of making something?

Probably my first memory was making barbie doll clothes. I’ve been sewing my whole life. One Christmas my parents got me a little hand crank sewing machine. In high school I spent my life savings, $600-$700 on a brand new Bernina and I’ve been a Bernina girl ever since. I used to sell at the horse shows, I was a cowgirl. I quit when I was raising my family and now I’m back at it.



What are some inspirations for my work?

My family always inspires me with their likes and dislikes. I appreciate their constructive criticism and their wonderful praise. If there’s a certain way that they like something I try to lean in that direction. My way of doing things is constantly changing with every new idea that I get. My daughter strongly encouraged me to start vending and sell my wares.


How did you choose your company name?

My business name is Eye Candy Gone Green. This name comes from my own first name Candy. And because everything I make is up cycled, it’s a green business.

Be sure to stop by Ellen's booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 1-3, 2019 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

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Posted by Admin at 8:26 AM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS

CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors