Craft Blog Review - 2011 Season

Christkindlmarkt - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

December 11, 2011 - Always love Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Now in its 19th year, it seems more popular than ever. Although there are about a dozen huts setup outside throughout downtown Bethlehem with Soapers, Jewelers, Potpourri makers, and several other craftsmen, the main attraction is under the massive heated tent setup on Bethlehem's Southside near the old Bethlehem Steel, now quaintly called, Steel Stacks.

Arriving at 11:15 am on this beautiful cool Sunday morning, the line to pay the $7 admissions and enter was already about 50 people long. I estimate 150 or so Artists and Craftsmen on exhibit. Of course after touring fine craft and art shows for almost two years now, many of our favorites were in attendance including Hedge Sefcovic - Soaper extraordinaire (who already displays in the Brothers-Handmade store), showman wood turner, Ed Youtz, Michael Nadeau (designer and carver of intricate metal snowflake jewelry), and Sandra and Bill Jones of Stones Throw Pottery. It's always great seeing old friends and especially their new designs and creations.

But our favorite thing is meeting new and stellar artists and craftsmen - and they were in abundance at this show. For instance ...

... we were wild about Sally Cates (and Lance) of Wildwood Soapworks. Sally is one of these Soapers that spends a bunch of time creating visually appealing soaps. She also had one of the nicest displays at the show. Very talented Soaper.

Then, we were blown away by the enameled brass, copper, and stone jewelry designs of Lisa Schwartz of ICIS Jewelry. It was no wonder that she has adorned famous ladies like Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton with her designs. Stunning!

Equally eye catching were the wickedly contemporary copper and silver designs of mother daughter duo, Katie and Jeanne of Wicked Witch Studio. Lots of great metal fabrications and cutout jewelry that grabs attention.

Jenn of Jenn's Random Weaves (pictured) says she's "always weaving in a new direction." Well we concur, and those directions are fresh and beautifully interesting. Whether it be her poinsettias, picnic baskets, or even the fishing tackle box, Jenn has certainly found her niche.

We could really use a quality wood "cutting-board" maker in the Brothers-Handmade store. One I have my eye on is Bob Shaeffer of Bob's Boards. His cutting-board designs of contrasting wood blocks are spectacular. He also makes some equally beautiful (and very reasonably priced) coasters with matching holders. A really great wood craftsman.

Folks, the most unbelievable things are at your local fine art or craft shows if you just have a look. Also visit often, and

"Come See What Amazing Things Your Neighbors Are Making"©


Skytop Holiday Arts Festival

Presented by Pocono Mountain Arts Council. 11/26-27/11 In the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, There is a resort by the name of Skytop. I had not been to Skytop before, and man, I tell you, it was my loss. What an incredible Lodge, Golf course, Lake, I could go on and on. Next summers vacation spot has just been located. Bye the way, their staff is fantastic and they are everywhere.

The Pocono Mountain Arts Council is packed with High Quality Artists, in all the Crafts and many of the Trades. The 50 or so that presented here are the proof of that.

There is a catch, many don’t have web sites. Most don’t sell in stores or shops. They work their magic in a studio and when they have enough pieces they display their Art at a Juried High Quality Craft Show. It is amazing how perfect your dinning room table will look with handmade place settings. All will match but with just the smallest differences. It makes for a good dinner conversation.

The List

The Mud Place: Leslie Nieto. (pictured above) Pottery. In Leslie’s bio she says, “Pottery is in my bones” I’m here to tell you, It Is! Her work is artistic, functional and by the way, very creative. Leslie is a Star in the Brothers-Handmade store.

Art In Wood: Jim Thomas. Wood Scrolling. Last year this guy picked off the Blue Ribbon in Multi Media at Buck Hill Falls. I saw Jim at that show. He deserved it, and then he stepped up his game, or should I say art. Start from a distance and walk toward his “paintings” and when close enough you will find they are cut from wood! AWESOME

Bean's Pottery: Cathleen Repholz. Potter. Cathleen has well built pottery and great glaze colors. She also has some pottery with a sense of humor. One of a kind for sure. Very cool!!!

Mary Kester Jewelry: (picture) Jewelry Mary’s Beadwork has a very classy look about it. She also has the color thing Just Right! Her work should fit in well with casual to formal dress. Very nice Mary.

As usual I have run out of space and have not spoken about the Incredible Fiber Artists or the Furniture Makers or the Glass Blowers or the Soapers.

To see more you have to go to a Fine Art Craft Show. These are America’s Small Businesses. They work hard to bring us the finest in the Craft Arts

“Come See What Your Neighbors Are Making”


Pennsylvania Guild Fine Craft Fair

11/12-13/11 This was the first time for this show at the Lancaster Convention Center. I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy the parking was. 5 parking decks, one at the Convention Center. If you got your parking receipt validated, it only cost $2.00.

The Show itself was Great, as I expected it to be! The Pa Guild of Craftsmen is quite large. They have an incredible pool of Fine Art Craftsmen to choose from. This show makes that point. The mix of seasoned craftsmen was Fantastic. 140 Craftsmen Artists in all and as is always the case, NO JUNK!!!


David Russell Art Glass:Glass.(Pic above) Russell works with strong Italian and European influence. To me it was the Colors. His color spectrum was vast. On individual pieces, he matched the colors perfectly.

Hammerstroke and Fire: Jewelry. Wendy Edsall-Kerwin. Ok, maybe its because of my Blacksmithing background, or maybe its because Wendy was able to blend multi-media, multi-metal, polished stone and blacksmithing together. All of her jewelry is incredible, but her collar necklaces just stop you in your tracks. Perfect.

Willow Creek Pottery: Rod and Karri produce a full line of functional pieces for the kitchen, bath and home. Their pottery is lead free, and dishwasher, microwave and oven safe. They also create beautiful Raku with deep colors and designs that are well thought out.

J.C. Sterling Fine Furniture: John Sterling. I’m always amazed at the way these Artists create their work and what gave them the idea to make that particular piece. John is at that place. My picture doesn’t do his work justice, but I am trying to get him on the sight. When that happens you won’t believe his work. Hopefully I will own this table by the time this Blog is live!

Check out Quality Craft Shows. Support these Craftsmen, Artists and Tradesmen. They work hard to bring you the highest quality pieces of Art!

“Come See What Your Neighbors Are Making”


Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry Show

November 4, 2011 - One thing I really love about this job is the opportunity to go and see some of the best, highest quality, most artistic handmade art pieces created. Gold and silver in all its wonderful forms was on display at the Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry Show.

Show organizers Leigh Griffin and Debra Lynn Gold have once again assembled an impressive cadre of accomplished, talented jewelry artists. So let me save words now and get right to

The List of Standout Artists

Leigh Griffin Jewelry - (pictured at top) Not only is Leigh (along with Debra Lynn Gold) the show organizer, but these ladies are spectacular jewelry artisans themselves. Many of Leigh's gemstone and mixed metal pieces from her "Kanji" collection display a contemporary Asian influence - like the characters used in Japanese writings. Zen, interesting, and attractive.

Bernasconi Design - (pictured) Linda's simple yet captivating precious metal woven pieces are show stoppers. I had to wait a while as customers perused her pieces. The contrast of simple smooth metal geometric designs interlaced with weaving is striking. They bring a smile to my face.

mary + lou ann - create these eye catching pieces with rather simple heavier silver frames filled with brightly colored polymer clay inclusions. Inspired by chemistry and the power of the atom, mary and lou ann fabricate their silver pieces, create their beautiful and unique clay colors and integrate various other materials such as sand and sugar to create texture. A real crowd pleaser.

Liaung-Chung Yen - Contemporary Jewelry (pictured) - creates stunningly abstract and thought provoking pieces. I love art that tells a story. Liaung showed me a gold wire bracelet with cage like structures that represented rocks on a path through a garden where along the way the observer is presented with diamonds as they make their way down the path. I also loved his oxidized silver bracelet with gold and silver flowers mounted in such as way as to allow physical movement. Mesmerizing.

And the talent went on and on. 25 spectacular contemporary jewelry artists in all. I've written before about the creative genius of Cloisonne artist Ricky Frank and the flowing simple pieces of goldsmith Ben Dyer. Top talent was on display as usual at this event.

Well folks as we always say, the most unbelievable things are at your local fine art or craft shows if you just have a look. Also visit often, and

"Come See What Amazing Things Your Neighbors Are Making"©


Reading, Berks Guild of Craftsmen

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. 10/29-30/11

Well I am finally able to write my blog because my electricity is back on. I’ll tell you, that was an ugly snow in the damage it caused. 4 days without power is a pain in the butt. Just ask the 300,000 of us, in the dark folks.

Oh well, putting that aside, the SHOW itself was Great. The Reading, Berks Guild of Craftsmen is loaded with top Artists, Craftsmen and Tradesmen. The proof of this is at their shows. Rob and I go to many shows, by all different promoters, in all different states. I have traveled 16 hours to get to a show, and to tell the truth, driving an hour down the road has produced some of the most awesome Artists on our site. Kutztown U. is one of those.

This show also has student Artists in the Crafts. They are Juried the same as everyone else exhibiting at the show. Back in the day, they were referred to as apprentices. But, the plan is the same, seek out the BEST Teachers and absorb as much knowledge as you can! It was quite evident, that was the case with the Student Exhibitors at Kutztown. As would be expected!!!


Trudy Kauffman: Scherenschnitte. Paper cutting. Did you ever cut a snowflake out of paper? Ok this isn’t that except for the scissors and paper. This is one of the crafts you look at and say, “How did they do that?”

DReis Renditions: Deb and Rick Reis. Jewelry, Baskets, Clocks and Picture Frames. The baskets were nice as was the jewelry, but I liked the magnetic picture frames.

GS Designs: Gina Struebel. I wrote about Gina in the blog of the Denver Adamstown Show at Stoudtburg Village. This time I looked even closer at her “Tree Of Life” work and could not find a fault. If you want one, better hurry as she is having trouble keeping them on the shelf.

I’ve written about most of the artists at this show already, so new category coming up. I will contact these Up and Coming Artists and show them all to you in the near future.


Cole Hastings: Furniture and Jewelry.

Kelly Grady: Handmade Ceramics and Knitted Apparel

Jenna Snodderly: Lampwork glass and Jewelry Design. Examine Jenna’s work closely, Awesome!

“Come See What Your Neighbors Are Making”


Crafts in the Meadow - Newtown, PA

Fall Invitational Craft Show at Tyler State Park - Newtown, PA

October 23,2011 - This was a day of days. The sun was out (that's been rare lately) so I took the long way to Newtown Square, Pennsylvania; 611 south along the Delaware River. I had forgotten how nice a drive that is. An hour and a half later, there it was, Tyler State Park.I definitely picked the right one!!!

20 Jewelers, 14 Fiber, 7 Mixed Media, 4 Metal, 15 Potters, 11 Wood, 3 Leather, 7 Glass, 5 Photography and 4 Fine Art.

Absolutely the top in their fields. This show was juried heavy and that can be attributed to the Show Promoter: Earth Center For The Arts. I had a great time. Good Job!


Future Artists of America:(Top) Adorable! Coming to a show near you, in the near future! A lot of shows have things for kids to do, at this show it seemed to be a major attraction.

Times Gone By: Karen Wychock. Karen does beautiful Shaker Basketry Work. Very precise work. Good color. The prices on her work seemed a little light to me. Must be the recession.

Unique Birdhouses: Andre Maiwald. I blogged about Andre from the Woodstock-New Paltz Art and Craft Fair. This time he brought his Scare Crow bird house.

The Bowlmaker: Nathan Favors. Nathan turns woods from all over the world, and man does he do it well. B-H is going to do a video on him, he just doesn't know it yet. Check out the Macungie, PA blog, as Nathan is in it.

WoodWorks by Tim: Timothy Neal. So I walk up to Tim's booth and I'm looking at these incredible pens he makes and all of a sudden I see this spice box. Holy mackerel look at the detail. He will custom make you a box and I'm sure you will be happy with it.

Roundwood Studio: Bernard HohlfeldWood turners are a favorite of mine, and this guy is one of the reasons. Have you ever been able to see through a piece of wood? I haven't. Until this show. Bernard turned a piece of Elm so thin you can see through it! Not like glass, but still. Amazing!

Starry's Woodshop: Douglas Starry.Need a rocking chair? Want one with cane work? Here is the guy to check out. He is a fourth generation rocking chair craftsmen and it shows. Awesome!

Go to a fine art and craft shows and see this work in person. Also visit Brothers-Handmade and meet the artists who work their trade in America.

"Come See What Your Neighbors Are Making"


Brookhaven Arts Festival - Atlanta, Georgia

October 15, 2011 - What makes for a good Arts Festival? Many of the things present at the Brookhaven Arts Festival, namely: Multiple years experience (8 in this case), so the promoters mostly have it down; the 150 well juried Artists so the quality is consistently at a high level; perfect weather (75 degrees and sunny); Crowds strong and buying (well strong yes, buying - only so-so).

It was a glorious day to be outside. The crowds were pretty heavy, but with a plethora of dogs and kids in tow, the buying was a bit light, based on comments from several Artists. In the words of one, "Just look, you don't see anyone carrying any bags."

But as I've mentioned a hundred times, invariably, there are those Artists that are "firing on all cylinders" and making the sales. So lets talk about a few of them.

Wise & Wise with Fatima Sharrieff (pictured at top): had quite a collection of beautifully delicate silver and gold wire-wrapped rings with small semi precious stones - wonderful. Then I also loved her gold and silver wire wrapped bracelets. Great quality work - simple designs, nicely finished with smooth edges. She seemed to have plenty of buyers.

Mama Handmade Bath and Body Soap - One of the things I like about their soaps in addition to the pungent citrusy smells wafting from their exhibit, is that their soaps are really quite interesting to look at. I'd love to get them in the Brothers-Handmade store to add to the other wonderfully talented soapers already on display.

Steampunk Sisters and DK Designs - My good friends Donna Myrick and Diane Kovach (already displaying in the Brothers-Handmade store. These ladies are SO CREATIVE! I already know how artistic Diane is at lampwork bead making. In fact we did a Featured Artist article on her bead making. And I love the steampunk work they've been doing lately. We have a few steampunk pieces in the store, but I see that there are a bunch of new designs I'd love to see on display.

Now Donna is creating these wild steampunk clothes. She buys a bunch of clothes from various sources, cuts them all to pieces and sews different parts together creating an incredibly edgy and interesting new piece (pictured). Oh yeah, and while I was there chatting, the crowds were filing in and buying. We're happy to have Diane and Donna affiliated with Brothers-Handmade.

'tis the time of year to get out there and visit some of the many quality art and craft festivals. Also stop by often and

"Come See What Amazing Things Your Neighbors Are Making"©


Knoebel Covered Bridge and Arts Festival - Elysburg, Pennsylvania

October 8, 2011 - On this beautiful day, we travel through the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania to our first craft and art show of the day.

It doesn't start until 10 am, however by 9:30 am, the traffic is backed up quite a ways before the massive grassy parking lot.

This show promoted by the Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau advertised 300 vendors including Artists, Craftsmen, food, and others. The crowds were quite heavy on this the second day of the show. Most of the Artists we spoke with were happy with sales from Friday. Several were scrambling to restock, remake, and re-organize displays.

Although many of the things on display are not exactly the level of quality Brothers-Handmade looks for, there are quite a few excellent and noteworthy finds, including:

Lyle Bush of Pine Creek Pottery exhibited some beautifully contrasting partially glazed, partially unglazed functional pottery. He also had gorgeous floral and woodsy designs on his pieces (pictured at right).

Phyllis Giberson of Giberson Gallery had on display striking contemporary, brightly colored, copper and bead wired jewelry. Really exciting and fun designs. She also displayed some cool steampunk jewelry. Loved her pieces.

Mary Ellen Yearick - Pottery displayed eye-catching Crystalline glazed porcelain. A few minutes chat with Mary Ellen revealed a high level of quality and creativity accompanying her years of experience. She was one that was working hard to keep up with customer demand.

James Boyer of Boyer's Fabricating and Crafts is one of these multi-talented craftsmen. James is highly skilled in both woodworking and metal fabricating. I loved his roller top jewelry box. As you pull out the felt lined drawer the roller top smoothly opens. Very nicely constructed. And his metal hangers and tables were simple yet the level of quaity was quite apparent.

Sherry Conrad of Two Mules Soap and lotions are made with all natural plant ingredients. The soaps smell wonderful and packaged in nice natural looking wrappings. Sherry and her soap making partner Denise have been refining their skills for many years resulting in high quality handmade soap products.

Michael Nadeau - Metalwork Artist is superb with his metal cut and decorated snowflakes (pictured at top). Michael creates a metal dye (pictured at left), then presses a snowflake design on another piece of metal, cuts out the most intricate snowflake you can image with the finest thin saw you can imagine, plates them in silver or other metals, and finally hand decorates them with stones, and other things. Incredible.

Folks, the most unbelievable things are at your local fine art or craft shows.

Also visit often, and

"Come See What Amazing Things Your Neighbors Are Making"©


Denver Adamstown Rotary Arts and Craft Festival

October 8, 2011 - Just a little North of route 76 and a little off route 222 is a little village with cobble stone streets built in a Bavarian style. But this little village has a big heart.

I'm at the Stoudtburg Village - Adamstown, PA In the middle of farm country, rolling hills, and great scenery is a very cool village. The residents live above their shops and sell their art during the day and have a very cool place to live at night. There are Antiques and Art dealers, Jewelers and Craftsmen. It IS an artist's community!

We were at another show earlier in the day and Rob will tell you about that one, but it was HUGE and we were there a long time. Then drove 2 hours to Adamstown.

The whole way over I was hoping the next show would be a little or a lot smaller. Well it was and I'll tell ya, it was relaxing and very easy on the eyes. The architecture was very cool to look at and parking was perfect.

The Show Promoter was the Denver Adamstown Rotary. This was the 3rd year for this show.


GS Designs: Gina Struebel Gina is a jeweler, a wire wrapper, and so much more. Her work is crisp and sharp. We see a favorite of wire wrappers called the "Tree Of Life" from time to time. Gina's version is Awesome!!! I went back twice to look at them. Gina is also a Juried member of the Reading-Berks Guild of Craftsmen. You will be able to see her at the PA Guild of Craftsman Juried Holiday Show

deLyn's Gallery: Ok I'm going to step away from our normal way of doing things. deLyn has a Gallery of handmade works in all the crafts. He also has gadgets. My picture didn't show his teeth lighting up though. He also has Handmade "Green" items for sale in his shop. Very cool deLyn!

Another World Design: Amanda Squire We have been looking for Amanda for a while! She is a jeweler who works a little out of the norm. She makes some very different and standout jewelry. And she creates STEAMPUNK. We will try hard to get Amanda in the store in the very near future.

"Come See What Your Neighbors Are Making" at Brothers-Handmade.Com


East Hills Moravian Church - Holiday Craft Faire - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

October 1, 2011 - I drove from Atlanta, Georgia to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to spend a week meeting with Joel about Brothers-Handmade, and of course attending some quality craft and art shows.

If you're a regular reader of our blogs, you know that we primarily go to bigger shows promoted by multi-venue promoters - the Howard Alan, Rose Squared, American Craft Council, etc. shows that typically attract quality traveling Artists and Craftsmen. Once in a while, we like to stop in at the local "once a year" shows to keep our finger on the pulse of the local scene.

The East Hills Moravian Church Holiday Craft Faire created and promoted by Louise Snyder has been going on for 10 years now - a positive sign for sure. Walking through the labyrinth of rooms and display halls, we are clearly attracted to several stand-out Artists and Craftsmen among the 70 or so Exhibitors. People Like:

Ronald Glitzer - For 25 years, Ronald has been designing beautiful multi-varietal wood jewelry boxes. Ronald's work is both beautiful and interesting as he creates a 3-D affect with his choice of wood colors and layout. I especially liked his tumbling blocks designs.

Mette Bjerregaard Gaardbo of MBGdesign - really was drawing a crowd - and we found out why. Originally from Denmark, Mette has been honing her skills in an Italian clay art form called "Millefiori". Very basically, it involves rolling canes or cylinders of clay that have a design inside, like flowers. Mette cuts very thin slices of these flowers and attaches them to balls of clay (beads), and fires them (pictured at top). Quite unique and beautiful. Hopefully you'll hear and see more of Mette on Brothers-Handmade.

Nancy McGowan - Soap by Nancy - Almost all handmade soaps provide the buyer with a luxurious feel and wonderful scent of their choosing. But only a few really look great as well. Count Nancy's soaps in the "look great" category. And she says that the scent will last throughout the entire life of the soap.

Jane Moyer of Moyers Country Baskets - Intricate and beautiful, Jane's baskets display both colorful and interesting patterns. Holding a Jane Moyer basket, one readily feels the strength of a well weaved basket. Wonderful for decorating and organizing in the home, neatly holding newspapers, books, or hand towels.

Through our visits to fairs and festivals throughout the United States, Brothers-Handmade strives to bring wonderful creations from craftsman in one small town, to people living in some other part of the country.

On to the next festival we go. Until then remember, the most unbelievable things are out there if you just have a look. Visit fine craft and art shows and often, and

"Come See What Amazing Things Your Neighbors Are Making"©


Yellow Daisy Festival - Stone Mountain, Georgia

September 12, 2011 - The Yellow Daisy Festival, which celebrates the blooming of the Confederate Yellow Daisy found all around Stone Mountain, has never disappointed me. With 400 Artists and Craftsmen, and an estimated 200,000 visitors over its 4 days, this 43rd year of the Yellow Daisy Festival is certainly one of the largest arts and craft festivals in the Southeast.

And there is a huge variety of crafts on display including Jewelry, Glass, Leather, Metal, Painting, Mixed Media, Wood, Musical, Paper, Games/Toys, and Plants to name a few. And there is strict adherence that all items are created by the artist, who must be onsite during the entire festival.

An interesting pattern that tends to play out is that although the crowds are a little lighter on the first days (Thursday and Friday), the buying is higher. These first visitors are there to buy, according to several artists I spoke with. Lots of yellow bags filled with handmade items were in transit as I walked the series of paved loops through the woods. Also, many ladies were pulling rolling carts to ease the effort. And once again, each year I'm amazed at the number of metal wind vanes decorated with college logos, and other fabricated ornaments being carried out of the festival.

From my observation, Jewelry seemed to draw the biggest crowds, followed closely by brightly colored pet accessories, and pottery. A few standouts for me included:

The pottery of Helen Helwig - Helwig Studio (pictured) - one of my faves! Helen's work is of the utmost quality, with beautiful designs and glaze colors, all decorated with a contrastingly colored dragon fly.

When I mentioned the brightly colored pet accessories, I'm referreing to the very poplular works of three artists I met at this years festival.

Folks, the most unbelievable things are at your local fine art or craft shows if you just have a look. Also visit often, and

"Come See What Amazing Things Your Neighbors Are Making"©


Woodstock-New Paltz Art and Craft Fair - New Paltz, NY

Ulster County Fairgrounds
Quail Hollow Events - Promoter

September 3, 2011 - It's a beautiful day in the upper 80s and I'm heading North. Hurricane Irene is history, but in the back of my mind, I'm wondering???

So I get to New Paltz and wasn't sure where the fairgrounds are, so I ask a mail man and he said "Done the hill, over the bridge, turn left, watch out for pumpkins." I said thanks and down the hill I went, "watch out for pumpkins" what does that mean?

As I proceed down the hill, there in front of me, was an unbelievable site. This whole valley had flooded. The creek had receded but had pretty much wiped out all the crops in this valley. Pumpkins were everywhere, and sunflowers were wrapped around telephone poles and mud was in the trees, 5 feet above the road! Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Ulster County!

Fortunately, the fairground was an inch or two above the flood and was in excellent shape. As was the show. As were the Artists.

300 Artists, 9 different entertainment acts and about 15 food concessions. There were 4 wineries and about 24 specialty foods and Soapers. They had Gyros and of course I ate too many and went back, got two more for breakfast on Sunday.

The List

Unique Birdhouses: (Pictured above) Andre Maiwald. Ok, we don't do birdhouses, Until Now! These houses are so cool I would move in to one myself (get out sparrow). Unless you see them in person, the only way to describe them is - They are built as if they were Fine Furniture. These are the most incredible Birdhouses I ever saw.

Designs By Diane: So most of our readers know I am partial to wire wrappers. And everybody knows we are strictly handmade. Diane and her father (a jeweler for 50 years) not only wrap perfectly but also collects and polishes most of their own stones. From Arizona!!! At this show, Diane Dennen wins in the jewelry department.

Norboe Glass: I’ve written about George in the past, and I tell ya, he never fails to impress. His selection at this show was AWESOME!!! Color, shape and size. Man, this guy makes some huge glasswork!!! Jean (pictured with George) is quite a metal clay and glass artist Jeweler in her own right.

I will be contacting all four of these artists to get them in the store so you can see more of their work.

"Come See What Your Neighbors Are Making" Joel

Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational - Watkinsville, Georgia

August 26, 2011 - To beat the horrible Atlanta Friday afternoon traffic, I start my 2 hour drive early, to Watkinsville, Georgia, near the University of Georgia in Athens.

It's the Opening Gala Reception and Preview Sale for the 9th Annual Perspectives: Georgia Pottery Invitational - an 18 day event. The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation has amassed about 50 accomplished Georgia Functional Potters.

Over 5,000 functional pots are on display. The wine and beer are flowing, with a light food spread, and a mountain music band - all for the incredibly reasonable donation of $5.

First I peruse the OCAF Main and Member Art Galleries. In a word, "Spectacular." I am reminded that this is a classy art gallery. The uniqueness, artistry, and display settings are captivating.

Some of the Potters whose work I've followed the past couple years include: Marise Fransolino's coil and cutout pots. Also Don McWhorter's beautiful nature infused stoneware. And Triny Cline's landscape decorated motifs whom I blogged about from the Jasper ArtFest (Georgia) back in April.

Although I was fascinated by pretty much everyone's works, space limitations of this blog keep it to a relatively small list. So here it goes:

Also a standout was the beautiful contrast of Gwen Fryer's orange and black elongated teapot, as well as her black carved teapot in the gallery (pictured).

Wow, I was blown away by Sandy Culp (pictured at top) and her phenomenally realistic fruit and nature representations. Her Cantaloupe in the gallery was amazing. Her Birds nest laden teapot caught everyone's eye, as did the face in the tree. Too cool!

AJ Argentina who instructs at the Roswell Clay Collective builds simple yet abstract earth tone vessels. It's difficult for me to explain. Perhaps best said in A.J.'s own artist statement, "Viewers expect statements; I present objects that ask questions."

The deep grooves decorating many of Lora Rust Ceramics pieces were quite fascinating. Big bold textured grooves give some of her pieces this kind of Salvador Dali melting affect.

And although I could go on, I'll end with the flowing and swirling ridges characteristic of Sheryl Holstein's works (pictured left). Very peaceful and nicely textured. She also had some beautiful coffee mugs that would be so wonderful to wake up to each morning.

Pottery lovers in the Southeast United States, you have until September 14th 2011, to check out this wonderful exhibit at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation in Watkinsville, Georgia.

Folks, the most unbelievable things are at your local fine art or craft shows if you just have a look. Also visit often, and

"Come See What Amazing Things Your Neighbors Are Making"©

Sometimes you won't believe your eyes.


Piedmont Park Summer Arts & Crafts Festival - Atlanta, GA

August 20, 2011 - Calmly, I talk to the talented Artists and Craftsmen at the Piedmont Park festival while I feel sweat collecting on my chin. Inconspicuously I dab, but there is no denying that the dog days of summer are still upon us.

The light yet generally steady "crowd", resulted in many of the Exhibitors I spoke to saying sales were so-so. However, several Artists were still having fantastic sales.

It was great to see many Artist friends that travel the festivals like Valerie Stickles of Penguin Arts and her beautiful lampwork beads and fabulous swarovski crystal earrings. And mixed media painting artist Marc Villanueva who's photo graced our May 7th, 2011 blog on the Colors Festival of Arts.

The promoters assembled a top-notch cadre of Artists and Craftsmen. Let's name - names:

I've been trying to chase down award winning painter Diane S. Dean ever since I saw her paintings at the Buckhead Spring Arts and Crafts Festival May 15th of this year. Her paintings are so bright and wonderful. They belong prominently displayed on the walls of houses you would see in Architectural Digest.

Ashley Buchanan hand-cut jewelry was the first jeweler to catch my eye. We are drawn to jewelers attracting a crowd. Such was the case with Ashley's finely cut brass and sterling silver metal jewelry. Lovely, unique, and in demand.

Kathryn Laibson - Leather Bags and Accessories also had a crowd going on. Ladies were loving Kathryn's unique, small, yet stylish leather handbags.

Jeweler Carolina Isea of Isea Designs was another one with a crowd. Her leather strands mixed with chain and pearls were superb. I just love the asymetry Carolina uses in her jewelry designs.

Amy Gresens - Element 47 Designs - simple yet memorable resin and cut metal designs giving a cool 3D affect. Also her combination of colored felt in metal - incredible. I've not seen this before.

Helen Rule Designs - Johns Hopkins and Emory University graduate makes her own chain maille and designs her beautiful jewelry around this fascinating base.

Ivonne McDonald - Sniff Avenue (pictured at top) - is extremely tuned in to the affects of various ingredients on the human skin. Goats milk and olive oil soaps are wonderful (my only purchase at this show).

Copper Dancer Designs - Julia Benson-Slaughter and Andrea Winkler - I actually blogged about this design duo last year at the Art B Que Festival (June 12, 2010). Beautiful lampwork and chain maille designs.

Finally, it was great seeing young artists from Kennesaw State University - Mudslingers. These folks attracted a nice crowd, and had some wonderful pieces getting snapped up.

"Come See What Amazing Things Your Neighbors Are Making"©

Interweave Bead Fest, Greater Philadelphia Expo Center

August 20, 2011 - I'm in Oaks, Pennsylvania at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center for the biggest bead show around. This is a national level bead show going on this weekend. There are people from all corners of the country. Exhibitors and Buyers.

This show cannot be described in a blog. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure a 5-page newspaper article could do it justice!

The short version is, if you wanted to see the incredible, it was here. If you wanted to learn, you could, the opportunity was here. If you wanted tools, they were here. If you wanted to buy materials, aggregates and findings, they were here. If anyone out there was at this show and didn't find what they were looking for, PLEASE contact I want to do a Featured Artist article on you! Mainly because you are doing something no one on the planet is doing!!!

Barb and I got there at 11:00am. Oh oh. The place was already packed. I mean PACKED!!! I'm seeing license plates from Oregon, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Ontario, and Alberta. We walked in and basically swam into an ocean of the coolest collection of, color, form and art, imaginable.

Over 250 exhibitors and 57 teachers, complete with classrooms. The workshops started at 8:30 am and went to 8:00 pm. Wednesday through to Sunday. They even had a "Meet the Teachers" Friday night till 10:00 pm!

The List…Impossible

The Glass Place: Louise Mehaffey - Louise had plenty of her signature piece "The Window Bead" (pictured) Very cool. Very difficult to make. Louise has some work in the
Brothers-Handmade Store. Hopefully more to come.

Succulent Glass: Alice St. Germain (Pictured) Alice has this color thing going on. Even in her earthen colors there are hints of brightness. She introduced a new line at this show also. We will bring it to you in the near future. I think she has sold out of it already. (Alice has a couple pieces on display in the Brothers-Handmade Store.

Diane Tarullo: Diane does an Acorn that is awesome. They are real. They are cute. They are colorful. They were also done in artistic detail. Diane also had this bunch of grapes embedded into a cylinder pendant that had such detail they looked real, except they are about 1/16 of an inch in diameter.

I knew when I walked into the place This was going to be a great show, and it was!!! -Joel

Marietta Square Artists Market - Marietta, Georgia

August 13, 2011 - On Saturday, I made my way to the Marietta Square (Georgia) Artists Market - The Marietta Square Artists Market (located about 30 minutes northwest of Atlanta) is held the second Saturday of each month from 9am to Noon.

It's a nice quick burst of sales for most of the Artists. Although only 3 hours on a Saturday, with the adjacent Farmers Market going on it brings a consistent crowd to each event. The Artists seemed pretty happy.

Within the few minutes I was talking with Brothers-Handmade's newest Pottery Artist Julie Jones, she had several customers perusing and purchasing her pieces.

Another thing noted at this event were a preponderance of younger Artists. I met several recent graduates of the art program at Kennesaw State University. I loved their enthusiasm and innovative artistic explorations.

One such young artist is Rachel Wade - Her oils depicting the human form have an incredible ability to evoke emotion. One can really connect with these thought provoking paintings.

Joel and I have discussed recently, expanding Brothers-Handmade to include the painted artform. We've been talking with several paint artists recently to display at

Another stand-out "painter" from this show is Michael L. Lee - Michael's "Poetry of Motion Captured in Oil" quickly drew me in to his display. Michael has done a wonderful job of capturing the motion of horses. Also I was intrigued with his series of bicycle racing, and his ability to depict motion of a large and colorful group.

As a violinist with the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, I have a great appreciation for fine handmade instruments. Since going to fine Craft and Art Festivals, I have gained an appreciation for more non-traditional fine handmade instruments.

Enter Mike Snowden - Mike's handcrafted cigar box guitars are amazing. Mike has selected beautiful wooden cigar boxes to craft his 3 and 4 string instruments. They are all electric, and the sound is wonderful.

Mike who toured with a band for several years, and cut albums in a studio, is no newcomer to the music scene. He had some CD's for sale of which I picked up one and enjoyed his music, a combination rock and mountain music, all the way home from the festival.

Mike's been featured on Fox 5 Good Day Xtra, NPR radio, and CBS Better Mornings Atlanta. Check out a video of Mike here. His show schedule can be found on his website along with a bunch of info about his craft.

As we always say, the most unbelievable things are out there at fine craft and art shows. Also visit often, and

"Come See What Amazing Things Your Neighbors Are Making"©

Pennsylvania Guild, Fine Craft Fair

July 30,2011 - I'm in Wilmington Delaware at the Chase Center on the River Front. NICE venue for sure. It's 95 degrees outside, and this show is in the air conditioning. Yee - Ha!

Rob and I know a lot of these Artists. After all most are from Pennsylvania. They are all PA Guild of Craftsmen members. The jury is intense in their selection process. The guild has over 1500 members. To be honest I don't know how many applied. Only 180 made it to the show! One thing I do know is they are the Cream of the Crop. Like I mentioned on Facebook, I would have gladly driven 90 miles just to see Elizabeth's Lace, or Ed Youtz (pictured right) or Stones Throw Pottery, and there were 177 other Winners to check out.

The List

Tel-Tin: Thomas Linebaugh, Coppersmith. Tom's work is incredible! He crafts lights and wall hangings of copper. His work is very clean and sharp. In other words, plumb, level, square. Good lines and dimensions. Nice job Tom!

Lorber Pottery: Paul Lorber Somewhere in Brothers-Handmade is a mention of Crystalline Glazes. It's difficult to do, and expensive to fail. The crystals in his work are stare worthy. Paul has this down pat. In Paul's bio he states, "The evolution of success is a study of the progression over time." Wow how true. (pictured below)

Designs by Lisa Gallagher: Lisa's jewelry is some of the most detailed jewelry I've ever seen! She makes all of her own chains and clasps, does all of the filigree work, and also makes most of the settings and other findings. Even some of the cabochons are handmade. Her intricate work is fascinating. We will be seeing more of her work for sure.

Lorac Designs: Carol Lee Heisler Carol is a Quilt Artist. The kind a lot of people are interested in. Just try to get in her booth! People wait in line to see her work. She has that sense of color that makes for a top artist. Her design is, well, exciting. Rob is more the expert in Quilts. I go with my gut. And how long the line is! My gut said Great, and the line was Long. SUCCESS!

Check out Facebook, Brothers-Handmade LLC where I will post pictures of the show this week. Give us a Like if you like.

Great Job Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen. This show will be in our top 10 for 2011.


Kutztown Folk Festival - Kutztown, Pennsylvania

July 8, 2011 - Ahhhh, This has got to be one of the biggest folk festivals in the country. Every craft is represented. You know how sometimes we have trouble finding Quilts and Soap? Not this time. Quilts are the backbone of this show and soap is well represented.

Blacksmithing, jewelry, pottery, and woodworking are everywhere. Farm machinery from the 1900's are running and sounding good. Every conceivable food that you can - can is here. I have about 10 jars of jelly and jam because this is the only place to get real currant jelly and nobody has rose and gooseberry jelly any more. The fiber crafts were well represented. There were plenty of weavers and spinners.

220 Artist/Craftsmen were on site. And to tell the truth if you count the people making thatched roofs and showing trades-craft and cooking food, the number of artists would be 500 or more.

Before we go any further, to me, Pennsylvania Dutch food is Art!


Stones Throw Pottery: Sandra and Bill Jones. We have shown their work before. We pointed out the perfection of the black glaze work. Her inventory of black was low (no surprise there) and I looked closer at her red ware and wow it is incredible also.

Ed Youtz: I have seen and talked to Ed (pictured above) a number of times and I don't think I ever saw him without his lathe, and with that comes spectators. Always many spectators. Ed is a wood turner and a teacher in the heaviest definition of both!

The Glass Place: Louise Mehaffey. Louise is always at the big shows. Her colors and shapes are many to say the least. Check out her work in our store and on our Facebook page.

If you're looking for the best beads for your jewelry, Louise is the one to go to. Louise even has her apprentice Jenna give her a hand at the fest.

A Natural Alternative: Hedge Sefcovic. Hedge makes the most incredible soap. We've written about her before. She makes many flavors of soap and skin care products without fillers and preservatives. I have been using her soap since I met her, two years ago. She too is in our store and has just put up a sample pack that is a great way to try her art.

"These are my neighbors! Come see what they are making" you will be impressed.

Follow Brothers Handmade L.L.C. on Facebook. We have more pictures of the shows.


Museum of Ceramics - East Liverpool, Ohio

June 29, 2011 - We are in East Liverpool, Ohio. Rob and I decided to get a little more education in the pottery department today. So what better place than a museum? Not just any museum, but one that is known all over the world. You see, East Liverpool, Ohio was the "Capital of American Pottery" for quite sometime.

Sarah Vodrey, The Director of the museum, met us at the door and was an incredible and valuable teacher and guide through her fantastic museum. Sarah is the sixth generation of a family that was part of the industry in East Liverpool.

The building was once a post office, then in 1980 became a ceramics museum. Sarah pointed out the architecture and the murals first. And to tell the truth the building itself is quite beautiful.

Rob is writing an article about The Museum of Ceramics. He will go into detail and I will skim the surface here.

About 1839 James Bennett established the first pottery here and within 5 years the town of East Liverpool was firmly on the map. About 1870 the population was about 2000. By 1910 it had risen to 20,000.

Because of easy access to quality clay and the Ohio river, the pottery industry grew to a point that 90% of the population worked in or for one of the potteries and 40 to 50 kilns!

This little town provided a huge amount of pottery for America - and the world.

The Museum of Ceramics is worth seeing for sure. The half hour video and slide show is worth the price of admission alone. If you get to meet Sarah, priceless. This is where Quality started.

"Come see what Sarah Vodrey's neighbors have made"

Thank you Sarah Vodrey.


Vermont Craft/Art Galleries and Cooperatives

June 18, 2011 - Vermont is one of those states where fine craftsmen and craft stores abound.

To even get a taste of the magnificent talent circulating through this beautiful pristine countryside, my friend and I drove down the Eastern side of Vermont - from St. Johnsbury, through Springfield, and Chester.

Several towns are celebrating their 250th anniversary this week, so there were quite a few town alum back "home" for the festivities. Historically, 1760 and 1761 (250 years ago) were significant years for Northern Vermont to charter towns. As the French and Indian war drew to a close, settlers felt more confident moving into northern New England and applying to the Colonial Governors for township charters.

The chosen venues for this series of visits were to Artist cooperatives, galleries, and craft stores; all featuring high quality local artisans.

Come to find out, the Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild in St. Johnsbury, Vermont was a wonderful place to start. This historic town is an incredibly interesting hamlet with its historic athenaeum or library with spectacular Victorian (French second empire) architecture and magnificent interior woodwork. A must see if you're in the area.

This day's Managing Artist, Carol Krochak of Horizon Porcelain (pictured at top) kindly showed me the exhibits. Carol, along with fellow artist Mark Kilburn create sensational porcelain hanging ornaments. The porcelain base gives these delicate designs a beautiful translucent quality.

Norma St. Germain of St. Germain Clayworks hand throws eye catching continues here...

Indiemade Craft Market - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

June 11, 2011 - On this drizzly June day, Joel and I head to ....... Can anyone guess?

A craft and art show - of course. It's a local show called the Indiemade Craft Market, held where there typically is ice, at least in the winter, at the Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink.

Yes, I remember this place well from my youth, where I spent many a Friday night skating around, causing trouble, and hanging with my friends, always searching for that cute girl to hold hands with and skate around the rink during a song blaring from the crackly loudspeakers.

This day however, we had a much different mission - seek out those standout Artists and Craftsmen with a unique and polished talent for their craft.

At first we thought maybe this wasn't as much in line with what Brothers-Handmade is looking for. But after talking with promoters Ann Biernat-Rucker and Teri Sorg-McManamom, and strolling the event, there were clearly those in attendance that we like to highlight in these blogs. Let's have a look -