The tinsel is patiently waiting high on the garage shelf, the baking recipes are slightly crusted with the spatter batter of last year and the the big box stores are filling with eager shoppers that are “just getting ideas”. Although the season is but a sweet scent of raspberry turtle mocha away the hustle and bustle of the holiday season has begun. And for some local artisans it began months ago preparing for their busy season of creating.
The Holiday Boutique of local artisans this year consists of five artisans that I admire, not just for their wonderful work and talent but for their stories behind the creations.
Sharon Schneider of Shaggy Baggy got started sewing her lovely handmade totes when she made a book bag for her daughters’ first grade class. Inspired by color, texture in nature and fabrics Sharon hopes to inspire others with helping them organize their busy day and to make life a little easier.
While creating in her big, bright sewing room in her basement Sharon wants others to be ready to accomplish the days tasks whether it be on the run or traveling with one of her zipper pouches and have a pretty good idea of “everything in its place” in their storage buckets in their homes.
Sharon of Shaggy Baggy has always considered herself creative and always made crafts with her children.
When Sharon isn’t sewing one of her fabulous totes she enjoys spending time in the kitchen, reading, walking and yoga along with ambitions to visit every craft brewery in Minnesota with her husband! In 2020, Shaggy Baggy will start drafting and selling patterns, be sure to like her Facebook page for updates! For now you can saddle up and find her products in various small shops across the country, local craft shops and seasonal Pop Ups. Find Shaggy Baggy on her website at www.shaggybaggy.com on Instagram @shaggybaggytotes and on Facebook.
Amy Johnson Enamels
Amy Johnson of Amy Johnson Enamels started working with metals to make jewelry seven years ago and fours years ago encountered enamel and found countless possibilities. Amy finds beauty in the feel of metals and in the movement of forming and texturing. When she encountered vitreous enamel (thin layer of glass fused to a metal) adding color and glass brought working with metals to a whole new art form with unlimited possibilities.
Once Amy gets started on an idea her mind starts to overflow and doesn’t stop. Looking at the fashion trends in magazines and her wall of enamel colors is just some of the sources of inspiration for Amy Johnson Enamels.
When asked how she would like to inspire others with her handmade creations Amy states she wants others to find their own creative side and suggests for them to start out simple and see what becomes from there. Amy believes turning failures into opportunities allow for growth and encourages others with these words,
just because you may not like something that you have made, doesn’t mean someone else won’t like it.
Interacting with her jewelry is like purchasing a part of her. Each of Amy’s pieces are made by only her hands, a few tools and the imagination that engulfs her head. Through color and design, she desires the wearer to feel a connection to her art.
Amy has been creative since she was a child and pursued a four year degree in graphic arts after high school. Over the years, Amy has dabbled in painting, drawing, quilting, and ceramics noting that creating is an expressive language that has become very therapeutic for her. When Amy isn’t working her full time job she creates in her home-studio some days with a cup of coffee, pajamas and gets lost for hours creating. You can find Amy’s enamels in the area:
Dwell Local – Rochester and Zumbrota
The Gallery on First – Rochester, MN
The Purple Turtle – Stockholm, WI and Brown Deer, WI.
Austin Artworks -Austin MNs
Revelation – Decorah, Iowa
You can also view her work on Instagram and Facebook. Amy offers classes in Rochester, MN and Zumbrota, MN and Austin Artworks in Austin, MN. Find her classes at Dwell Local and Austin Artworks websites.
Lincs and Fins
Holly Kohlwey of Lincs and Fins has been creating her appliqued shirts and baby clothing for the last five years. As a young 4-H-er she sewed a few clothing items and didn’t especially enjoy it but after 10 years as an accountant and the decision to stay with home her sons she began to dabble in various DIY projects and always wondered whether or not she could sell them. After browsing her mother’s quilting fabrics she traded her calculator for a sewing machine.
Lincs and Fins inspiration derives from her boys and all the adorable fabrics available. Coordinating the perfect combination of fabric for her big bro/lil bro sets (see below) is also inspiring to Holly and have become #1 sellers in her Etsy Shop.
As a former CPA and a lover of numbers, Lincs and Fins expresses,
creating something yourself is very fulfilling
and states that we all have a creative side, her husband concurs and believes her creative side is an overload after working in accounting for so long!
When customers interact with her products, Lincs and Fins wants them to see the value in buying handmade. She lovingly cuts, irons and sews the applique and notes that she is a woman behind the product, not a machine made to mass-produce. When not creating in her basement studio Holly spends time with family hiking at National Parks, playing and watching sports and throwing the football with her very active boys.
Lincs and Fins encourages others not to be afraid to try something new as she loves the flexibility of staying at home with her boys while also volunteering at their school – a perfect balance.
You can find Lincs and Fins products below:
Online in her Etsy Shop here
The Local Store and That’s Adorable – Eau Claire, WI
The Local Maven – Holmen, WI.
Whispering Woods Art
Jeanne DeBruin of Whispering Woods Art got started in her business after decades of painting classes where she never painted a picture that she wanted to hang in her own home. The problem arose that she couldn’t paint with brushes and that’s what was used in all the classes and never realize there was another option. She then discovered that she could paint a whole picture with just a knife and a ballpoint pen — plus lots of water.
Whispering Woods started with always wanting to paint the birch tree in her backyard. One day (while trying to paint with brushes of course) she was looking around the house for something to sign her canvas with, she found a black Pilot ballpoint pen. Although messy to write with she discovered when she wrote on the canvas with it the juicy ink supply hit a wet spot on the canvas and she watched in awe as the black pen line ‘fuzzed out.’ She felt as though Jesus was opening the door to see a whole new way of painting. Since then she’s always kept a good stash of those pens to paint with handy.
While interacting with her paintings, Whispering Woods desires others be inspired to go back to the carefree painting they did as a child, without worrying about rules and ‘mistakes’ or about anyone’s opinion. She encourages others to
paint fast, paint with joy like a child, then go have a cookie.
The experience Whispering Woods wants others to feel when interacting with her paintings is for others to love trees as much as she does, especially when all their leaves are gone and their wondrous structure is revealed.
Whispering Woods goes on to state that as a child in the 1940’s there weren’t crafts as we know them today so she made things out of nothing including using her dads pipe cleaners from his pipe and her little sister’s yellow socks to make a toy chicken to play with.
When not creating in her spare bedroom, Jeanne is rearranging things in her head that she sees whether she’s inside or outside and she bakes a lot. You can find Whispering Woods artwork throughout about a dozen Midwest retail stores and one gallery. Find her paintings on her Facebook page here. She offers classes at Dwell Local in Rochester, MN.
Audra Rinard of AR Designs has been creating her leather earrings in just five short fun-filled months! As a lover of bling and lightweight leather earrings she was hooked on creating her own style. She believes everyone has their own style and makes sure to create some earrings that are short, small, some simple and some with bling.
She would like to inspire others by encouraging them to follow their heart and do what they love to do – especially if it makes others feel good about themselves. Getting lost in a craft project is always been a creative outlet for AR Designs as well considering creativity as a stress reliever in her life. When others wear AR Designs earrings, Audra expresses that
life is too short to wear boring earrings, make a statement and feel good about yourself!
Audra’s favorite pastime is kayaking on a calm lake surrounded by nature and her motto is: Friends don’t let friends wear boring earrings. You can find AR Designs on her Facebook page here.
Thank you so much for reading! These handmade biz ladies are inspiring to me and hope they are to you as well!
Bound to be ….wanting to pick up a new skill,