Tag Archives: maker

Virginia Made: Sew Brave Designs

Meet May Gonzalez

Written by Faith Jones of Hill City Handmade

“April showers bring May flowers.” How often have we heard this old adage quoted? Every April, as we experience rainy days more often than not, we try to look on the bright side. We think about the reward and beauty the gloomy days will bring. That philosophy can be applied to May Gonzalez and the inspiring purpose that was birthed from her storm. 

Born in the Bronx and experiencing foster care in Texas, May eventually found her way to Richmond, VA. She jokes, “Oh boy, I have a Lifetime story, I’ve seen a lot in my 31 years.” In April 2012, May and her husband lost their first child to Trisomy 13, a genetic disorder which is considered incompatible with life. After receiving the news at 19 weeks, they made the difficult decision to go through with the pregnancy. Caleb was born “sleeping” at 32 weeks. Amidst the devastation and loss, May turned to sewing to deal with the grief. What began as hand sewing personalized pillows and baby moccasins soon manifested into much more.  

With her passion ignited, May began to focus on what she really loved, bags. Armed with a sewing machine (gifted from her mother-in-law), a few lessons from her husband’s aunt and plenty of YouTube videos, Sew Brave Designs was born. The name for the business came to her in a dream. “It was pretty clear from God. I wanted to combine my experience in life with my passion. I love sewing and I wanted to remind people that they too can be brave no matter what they face.”  

The handmade bags feature bold flowered fabrics combined with leather and are not only beautiful but make a difference. A portion of the proceeds for each one is donated to Noah’s Children in Richmond. The Bon Secours organization provides for the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families. Each donation is made in memory of Caleb and he lives on each time May sees someone carrying one of her creations. 

Though faced with the showers of life, May Gonzalez has found her flowers. She and her husband have since been blessed with two fun-loving boys, ages five and seven months. Life is not always easy but they face it together. Assuming there isn’t a Golden Girls marathon on, you might find May enjoying a date night involving tacos and movies or just hanging out and laughing with the family. Wherever she is, whatever she’s doing, you can be sure that May is counting her blessings and enjoying the flowers after the storm. 

www.sewbravedesigns.etsy.com

Faith Jones is a local entrepreneur, creative, and believer.  Her businesses include Faith Inspired and The Hill City Handmade. Faith has a degree in Art and Photography and is a former high school art and culinary teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family and travelling. Faith’s motto is, “Paris is always a good idea.” www.thehillcityhandmade.com

Bella Finds

Craft the Rainbow

Brittany Watson Jepson brings fun paper crafts to your home through Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Products. Each of these 40 crafts, split amongst nine color-specific sections, have step-by-step directions and images. Starting with pink and ending with rainbow, each section opens with a quote and some fun facts about the new color. These color-filled pages won’t just tell you how to make each craft, but will also tell you what materials you need, a description of the design and where her inspiration came from. While Jepson does give the time frame for these crafts, they’re mainly based around shows or music. So, if you like The Great British Bake Off, in a just a couple episodes you can complete the White Paper Sculpture on page 101. Or, if you like Michael Jackson, within just one album you can complete the Crepe Paper Streamer on page 125. Do you prefer Gilmore Girls? Then, during your favorite episode, why not make the Rainbow Necklace found on page 129? Or make the Rainbow Paper Plants on page 144 while you watch the VHS of Anne of Green Gables. Whatever craft you choose, and whatever method of background noise you choose, you can find the templates for these designs in the back of the book. Just trace what you want, pick a color, and get started.   

Written by Samantha Fantozzi

 

Just Creative People

Find your creative inspiration at Studio Six!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Grace Brian (left) and Maggie Perrin-Key (right) met in November 2017. They connected immediately, and decided to open an art space together, Studio Six, located in The Aurora Studio Center in Downtown Roanoke. Their serendipitous meeting led them to realize that they had the same vision for an art space that welcomed creative people within the community through workshops and portfolio consultations. The artists complement one other, creating a fulfilling and nourishing space where their talents flourish.  

(Grace and Maggie photo by www.paigelucasphotography.com )

Both Grace and Maggie began developing their crafts at a young age. Grace received a sewing machine at age 10, and Maggie started oil painting during a summer camp in fourth grade. In her early years, Grace never considered fashion design as a career option. While planning for college, she didn’t think of it as something she wanted to pursue. After attending Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCU) for a while, she went back to sewing and found that the stigma she had originally attached to fashion design kept her from seeing the bigger picture. More importantly, sewing made her happy. She decided to transfer to the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University, where she became interested in sustainability within the textile industry. 

As a young adult, Maggie continued her pursuit of the arts. First at VCU, and then at Hollins University. At Hollins, she studied printmaking, bookbinding, and papermaking. She also began exploring fiber art and textiles. 

“Coming from somewhere that was so arts-centered, I didn’t realize how important it was to have so much support for studying the arts. Originally, Maggie and I wanted to make a place where anybody, specifically young adults who are looking to pursue a career in the arts, can come and get that support. Guidance is important because a lot of people get to the art school application and they need a portfolio and they haven’t been working on one, don’t know what to do, or don’t know how to photograph their art,” explains Grace.

That initial idea morphed into something bigger, however, when the two decided to offer workshops within their space. The workshops have taken off, and with their success, Grace and Maggie have expanded their vision.

“I wanted an art space that was not as daunting and was more on community level where young people felt like they could come and hang out with us or make something,” says Maggie.

“There is a human desire to create things. It’s rewarding and confidence-boosting when you see something that you made. We want to be that outlet that gives people that opportunity. To be able to make something and create something gives you power and knowledge. In addition to knowing you can now do this, you will also know what goes into a painting the next time you see it. Consumer education is so important to me, so I think that when we are talking about the arts, this is consumer education in a way,” Grace adds.

Grace and Maggie offer portfolio consultation and open studio opportunities throughout the year. They also host popular workshops including Zodiac Embroidery, DIY Pom Pom Wall Hangings, Live Model Figure Drawing and so much more. Visit their Facebook page (@studiosixroanoke), Instagram (@studiosixroanoke), or visit their website at www.studiosixroanoke.com for more information on upcoming workshops and events!

Virginia Made: Lane Paper Works

Meet Sydney Lane of Lane Paper Works!

Written by Faith Jones, Hill City Handmade

In a complicated world, there’s something to be said for simplicity. Simple shapes and colors are the signature that twenty-four-year-old Sydney Lane has become known for. What began as hand drawn greeting cards has now grown into illustrations and custom portraits. Lane Paper Works has emerged to be the area’s go to source for uniquely illustrated family portraits, localities (Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Nashville to name a few), and pets. Each of Sydney’s digitally drawn designs capture her subjects in a cartoon-like way that has become instantly recognizable as her work. After graduating with a degree in Graphic Design and starting Lane Paper Works, she never dreamed that it would all take off so quickly.

Exactly one year from its internet launch, the company opened a storefront location on 11 S Main Street in Chatham. The quaint building features not only her own handcrafted designs but those of fellow makers. With a passion for supporting small businesses, the contents of the store consists of artisan gifts, each piece carefully selected from talents across the region. There are many advantages and challenges to going from a website to now running a store. Sydney has not given up her website or selling at handmade markets, she now has not only her products but all of the store inventory to take into consideration when making decisions.

Every day her she remembers the advice of her grandfather, who recently passed, “Do your best.” Sydney holds these words close to her heart as she goes through the day to day operations of planning out store products, display windows, and sales all while still creating for herself. While there are many pressure-filled days running the business, Sydney feels extremely humbled to have a supportive family and loyal customers who follow her work and shop in Lane Paper Works.

A self-proclaimed cat lady who takes pride in the unique names she gives her cats, Sydney also enjoys music. Her love of music keeps the tunes in the store changing to match her mood for the day. Every day is a fresh start. New and old customers to interact with and get to know, window displays to design around the season, and new work to create. Most importantly, every day is a day to be thankful as an artist and as a supporter of artists. Giving back is just as important as profiting. Her grandfather’s favorite three words of encouragement are featured in one of her prints whose proceeds benefit the American Heart Association. In addition, Lane Paper Works also supports another charity, A21 with proceeds from Sydney’s “Strong Women” print. “It is about 10% luck and 90% hard work, day in and day out. However, it is worth it—so worth it.”

For more information, visit www.lanepaperworks.com. She’s on Facebook and Instagram @Lanepaperworks. Enjoy a special discount during April for our readers! Enter code “lovelybella” for 25% OFF!!

Local business: Hawk + Owl Weaving

Meet Jen Whitcomb of Hawk + Owl Weaving

Interview by Samantha Fantozzi

How did you get your start with Hawk and Owl?

So my business came about from the need to just be creative again. I studied art in college and a couple years ago I stumbled across Maryanne Moodie; an Australian, well-known female weaver. And within the weaving world, she’s super popular. She made me want to learn to weave. Her weavings were super colorful, and full of texture and I thought ‘I really have to try that’: so, I did. And people really wanted to by them, which was a surprise. I didn’t plan on that becoming an actual business. But when they started reaching out to me, I opened an Etsy shop and it took off from there.

How did you come up with the name?

It’s about my kids. I have twins; boy and girl. My daughter was a really bad sleeper, so she was the night owl. My son was the opposite. They used to share a room, so it was totally insane. One would be awake, and one would be sleeping. So, when it came time to come up with a fictitious name, I had a hard time deciding and I finally landed on something funny that reminded me of them. Plus, my husband is super into birds, he can do like 400 different bird calls so it’s kind of a thing within our family. Not too much to do with weaving, just more of a family connection.

What kind of weavings can customers expect to find in your shop?

My color selections change seasonally, as do the designs. I don’t really plan out my designs, they’re mostly geometric, free-form weaving. They come in a variety of sizes from extra-large to small, and I also take custom orders. I try to have between 10 and 15 things in my shop at a time. Closer to the holidays I offer more smaller pieces like tassels and pom-poms. But, on a regular basis, just a broad selection of random geometric and bright pieces.

How long have you been weaving?

Not long, I would say 3 ½ years. I picked it up pretty quickly. I made my first loom. I took a premade frame that had canvas on it that was meant for painting. I stripped the canvas off and used the frame and hammered in some nails. After that, I started ordering professional looms. Made my first loom and just went to town: didn’t take too long to get into it.

Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve done?

I made a piece as a submission for a New England based magazine called Taproot Magazine. It was really big and had lots of heavy fringe. I photographed it on the Blue Ridge parkway and I still have it. It was fun to make, and it’s become one of my favorite pieces.

Find Jen on Facebook at Hawk + Owl Weaving; Instagram at hawk_and_owl_weaving; and hawkandowlweaving.com. Her website contains a small portfolio of her work. If you wish to make a purchase, you can either click her Etsy shop from her website or go to the shop directly at etsy.com/shop/hawkandowlweaving. She also posts about upcoming events, such as workshops and pop-up events, on her website. She does classes through Wool Workshop in Roanoke and will be having one this April.

 

Virginia Made: The Leather Lotus

Little green sprouts will soon begin to make their debut. The occasional hint of a warm day will bring smiles to faces and a little extra pep to everyone’s step. It may not feel like it quite yet but spring is on the horizon. With the start of each new season comes inspiration and new ideas. Her love of the outdoors is where Taylor Smith finds her own creative inspiration to create handmade jewelry. A reflection of leather and natural beauty, her business The Leather Lotus is taking everyday casual to the next level.

Inspired by the colors of the season, Taylor’s jewelry is designed around a carefully selected stone or piece of metal before various colored leather is chosen to complement the element. The textures and shapes used seem right at home in her favorite photo studio, the great outdoors, as she photographs each piece for her Etsy shop. Taylor still remembers fondly the day she heard “cha-ching!” the sound that has become music to an online seller’s ears. Having no idea what it meant, she looked at her phone and was ecstatic to find notification of her first sale, a leather wrap bracelet. To this day, the sound still evokes the same excitement as if it were the very first.  More than a few products later, the fringe earrings offered by The Leather Lotus are this maker’s must have wardrobe accessory. “Something about fringe just seems like so much fun to me. Pair them with a basic tee and jeans and suddenly I feel excited!”

The best of both worlds is how Taylor describes her life as a stay at home mom and entrepreneur. She takes pride in the two young boys, Grayson (4) and Finn (2) whom she and her husband are now raising in Roanoke. A native of the area and a Hokie for life, there’s no place Taylor would rather be than outside with her boys chasing chickens. Although, a vacation to the small island in Puerto Rico where she and her husband honeymooned or Spain would not be unwelcome. Nap times are for making jewelry and craft shows a welcome break in the routine of full-time wife and mother. It’s a way to connect with amazing customers as well as fellow makers who have become friends. Taylor’s advice to anyone contemplating starting a new business? “Go for it! I had so many hesitations when I started this. It has grown more than I ever thought it would and I love every minute of it.”

This month, we will hosting a giveaway on our Facebook page for The Leather Lotus! Taylor is giving away a $50 gift card to her Etsy page! Stay tuned!
Also, use the code BELLA during the month of March for 20% off in her shop!

Find The Leather Lotus:
theleatherlotus.etsy.com
FB: /theleatherlotus
IG: /theleatherlotus

 

Written by Faith Jones

Meet the Makers: Minor Terry

Minor Terry started crocheting at the age of five in a friend’s basement. From that time, she could make a square or scarf for anyone who needed it. When YouTube become more prevalent, she was able to watch videos on repeat to figure out how people were holding their hands, and her projects became more intricate, personal, and detailed. Today, she crochets just about everything from fuzzy stuffed animals and stroller blankets to coffee cozies and ear warmers. Her hobby has turned into a small businesses, Crooked Mountain Crafts, and has given her the opportunity to reach more clients with her work. She crochets wherever she goes, and often has more than one project in a bag by her side.

“I can crochet and walk, and I’ve definitely been that person to pull it out at the bar during trivia night,” she laughs. “Anytime we are hanging out with friends, they know I’m going to have a crocheting project.”

  Like many knitters and crocheters, Minor has several projects “on the needles” at any given moment. Although this may seem like a large commitment, the reaction a person has when they receive something she has created makes the entire process worthwhile.

“I sent my sister a blanket, and I asked if she could film one of her friends opening it since I wouldn’t be there to see it. One of my favorite memories is her joy as she unfolded it,” she explains.

In addition to projects of her own choosing, Minor does a lot of custom creations. She’s crocheted blankets with specific colors, patterns, and even sports logos. Recently, a Mets blanket proved to be her most detailed design yet.

“It’s a single stitch, so every single stitch had to be counted and done. I think that was my most challenging piece, but that isn’t to say it wasn’t fun. Once you get into the rhythm of it, it goes pretty quickly,” she says.

Her clients are not limited to purchasing crocheted pieces. Minor’s boyfriend is an arborist, and he has designed copper trees that are available on her Etsy shop and at her craft shows. People use them for Christmas trees, jewelry trees, money trees, and talk pieces. With so many choices available, Crooked Mountain Crafts is a great place to find fun, personalized gifts for the upcoming holiday season.

Minor spends her evenings stitching and making everything she sells, so you know your purchase is made with love and not mass produced. If you still need a gift for someone on your list (or yourself!), be sure to check out her work. You can find Crooked Mountain Crafts at the Kazim Shrine Holiday Arts, Crafts & Vendor Show on December 9 from 10am-2pm, or at www.etsy.com/shop/CrookedMtnCraft.

 

Featured image by Ronnie Lee Bailey

Riot Rooster Makers!

The 2017 Riot Rooster: Fire Rooster event kicks off TODAY, Friday, November 17 from 5-10pm. Friday evening will be our Bella Girls Night Out, and visitors can enjoy a photo booth, purchase food and beverages, and tour the vendors before the Saturday market!

The Saturday market is the same day as the Grandin Children’s Parade. Beth Deel, organizer of Riot Rooster, encourages families to attend the parade and then visit Riot Rooster together.

“A lot of people call this the beginning of the holiday season. It is a good weekend for gathering, right before Thanksgiving,” Beth explains. “Bring the whole family!”

This will be Riot Rooster’s ninth year, and its fifth year at 16 West Marketplace. This month, we are featuring nine makers from the show to give a sneak peek of what you can expect. Check them out, and visit www.facebook.com/RIOTrooster for more details as the event approaches.

Meridith Entingh, of Meridith Weaves, will participate in Riot Rooster for the second time this year. If you visited Meridith in 2016, you may remember her assortment of unique and beautiful handwoven projects. Although she will have a few of those available again this year, she will also offer hand dyed items such as towels as scarves. “I love color,” she says. “It’s the thing that attracts people the most. Working with color is a lot more fun for me than working with a pattern. My goal is to have people interested in weaving and textiles, but with a little more variety.” www.meridithweaves.com

Icky Eye Ink, owned by Yashmin Barton, will be marking its third year at Riot Rooster this fall. Yashmin taught herself to knit over ten years ago, shortly after losing most of the vision in her left eye and part of the vision in her right eye. She makes scarves, hats, and blankets all year in preparation for the holiday season. Although she sticks to the same three projects, Yashmin allows herself to get creative with color selection. The result are bright, unique and fun pieces to guide her customers through what can be a dreary winter season. Her best seller every year is a piece she’s lovingly dubbed, “The Frankenstein.” Follow Yashmin on Instagram at #ickyeyeink and email her at ickyeyeink@gmail.com to come up with a new creation together!

Stina Anderson, of ARTeries by Stina, is a passionate environmentalist and advocate for recycling and clean living. She has found that upcycling is the best way to reuse and reinvent textile materials into new and beautiful clothing. This will be ARTeries Mobile Boutique’s second year at Riot Rooster. Based in Asheville, North Carolina, they love visiting Roanoke in their fashion truck, because it gives them the opportunity to see friends they’ve met from seven years at FloydFest. Customers can look forward to their holiday line of jewel toned velvet skirts, fingerless gloves, and hoodie scarves (which make great gifts!)! www.arteriesbystina.com

Heady Closet began when Jordan Holland decided to invest in silver wire and precious stones. She started self-taught wire wrapping in 2013, and her creativity helped her branch out from there. Currently, she makes adorable children’s clothing that can be stretched and unrolled to wear  continuously from sizes 6M to 3T. She participated in Riot Rooster this past spring, but this will be her first fall experience. Jordan plans to have fun natural art pieces, baby and kids’ dresses, and shoe styles for babies and children. She loves seeing how happy her creations make those who visit her table—so make sure to stop by! www.facebook.com/headycloset

Piper Lane, of Magpiper Metalworks, has been passionate about jewelry, stones, and metals since she was a child. Every piece she makes is done with complete love for the craft. This will be her third year participating in Riot Rooster. At her table, customers will find custom, handcrafted jingle bells in two sizes. Silver, brass, and copper will be available. Piper will also be taking orders for personalized bells and jewelry. This year’s display will have more rose cut sapphire rings and pendants of several colors including pinks, blues, and some earthy shades. Also, don’t miss her hand stamped mandala pendants and affordable etched and stamped copper cuffs! www.magpipermetalworks.com

The Paisley Poppy began in October 2015 after several years of encouragement and support for owner, Krista Nance. Krista loves to create new projects for herself and others, and custom orders are some of her favorite projects because she loves matching fabric to her customers. Among her best sellers at Riot Rooster are her “Unpaper Towels.” These cloth towels offer a convenient, stylish, and eco-friendly alternative to paper towels. Additionally, customers can purchase her accordion clutch wallets, pocket pillows, wet bags, and snack bags. Some new things she’s offering this year include aprons, memory games and I-spy bags for kids, Bed Caddies, and some limited series Roanoke zipper bags. www.thepaisleypoppystore.etsy.com

Lyndsey Dickerson, of Unbound, grew up in an artistic family, and she began to explore the art of jewelry making about five years ago. As a self-taught silversmith, she is passionate about bringing her creative vision to life through nature-inspired metal and gemstone pieces. This will be her third year at Riot Rooster, and customers old and new will fall in love with her unique mountain collection of rings, necklaces, and earrings. Unbound body care products will make their Riot Rooster debut this year, including natural body butters and scrubs, deodorants, roll-on perfume oils, therapeutic essential oil blends, beard wax, and much more! www.etsy.com/shop/UnboundElements

Frances West was inspired to begin making kinetic mobiles after a year-long stay in Denmark. A combination of the long Scandinavian winters and seeing the mobiles everywhere she turned led Frances to give them a try. Although she has been part of Riot Rooster for several years, this will be the year that her new business, Fulcrom Mobiles, makes its debut there. She will consider doing custom projects for customers, so consider visiting her to find out more about how a mobile can fit into your life! You can also contact Frances via email at fulcrommobiles@gmail.com  to receive more information about her mobiles and place your order.

Lynn Donihe, of Willow Pine Studio, began working with mosaics because of a need to focus on something intently and an obsession with tiny little handmade Moroccan tile that packs so much intense color and texture into one itty-bitty surface. Belt buckles are her perfect canvas—small enough for the intricate designs she wanted and a fun and unexpected place for a little bit of art. This will be her fifth year at Riot Rooster, and she will bring new designs for buckles and pendants in addition to old favorites. Additionally, she will have a collection of small, stacked sculptures and wall pieces that include many of those same designs. www.etsy.com/shop/WillowPineStudio