Time does fly… and we are both amazed to say that two years ago we moved into our studio space at the ArtCraft Building, on the 6th floor, with the Artists Coop. At the time we moved in it was a leap of faith to know we would afford the monthly rent, but like all leaps of faith in life, we were met with the ability to not only pay the rent but expand our capacities, and grow our business further.
So as we approach the end of 2017 we celebrate our 2nd year in the studio, and look forward to what 2018 will hold for us. We love the group of artists that we share studio space with – each so very talented, and their art is amazing. Our studio is cleaned, our shelves of supplies are organized, and what is left of our inventory is neatly stacked on the racks.
We have been reflecting back on the year that was, and some of the most amazing events in our business:
- We kept a brisk schedule of art fairs and festivals, traveling throughout Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Our schedule included old favorites like the Hessler Street Fair, Tremont Art and Culture Fest, and Made in Ohio. But we also expanded and tried new events, like Salt Fork Art Festival in Cambridge. And we traveled with artist friends to York Pennsylvania for Yorkfest in August. It was a great weekend spent with friends. We enjoyed all of those times pitching our tent, setting up our displays, and meeting new friends while keeping one hairy eyeball on the weather. And yes, we rode out a few heavy rainstorms, but we were most fortunate that Old Bertha, our big hoop tent was strong, and sheltered us through it all
- The ArtCraft Holiday Sale was an incredible weekend, with record crowds… I felt bad that we could not stop to just chat with everyone that came through. We are very grateful for everyone that visited, and we hope that your purchases were amazing gifts…. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your patronage.
- We began the year introducing “Silk Play Days” – and had a blast with groups of people painting silk, and sharing the event with food and fun. The idea of Silk Play days came from those dark times of unemployment, when I felt isolated by my finances, lack of job, and from friends. I remember being invited to something that allowed for creativity and i felt a part of the group. There was something about being in the company of others creating something that melted the sadness, depression, and lack of self worth. For me that was a watershed day…. I realized that i needed to be creative and i needed to execute on ideas. I made friends that day, and it is those friends that breathed a new enthusiasm into my life. I dont always know if that will be the outcome of my silk play days, but there are always those moments when it is clear that someone needed to be there…. Its my great hope this year that the Silk Play Days will be that community building purpose.
- We were honored by being able to host the site for filming Emily Keener’s music video… and on a cold and snowy February day her crew rumbled into the big room, and filmed all day. Featured in the video was a surprising addition of our studio mate Mark’s ugly harvest gold midcentury modern couch… It made us giggle to see how it fit with Emily’s vision for the video. Emily is a very talented singer song writer who was on the TV show “The Voice”. What a voice, and what amazing talent she has.
- We expanded our website, and buffed up a social media marketing campaign. With the expansion of our website we purposed to offer free shipping within the USA… increasing sales traffic on our site.
- Steve hosted several soap making classes, including an entire homeschool class (Thank you Tina Stradiot). That was quite fun seeing people goggled and wearing aprons and delving into the wonderful world of “Saponification”.
- We organized most of ArtCraft for the Sparx Art Hop in August. And i learned lessons on leadership from the event
- We entered an agreement with Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries to help us with wrapping soap. LMM is an amazing resource that provides job training, and a huge culinary program to train folks for a career. Most of their clients are currently earning entitlements, but working for their benefits. Our soap provides a service to those women that cannot do the heavy lifting and physical work in the culinary service. So every two weeks we drop off batches of soap to be wrapped, and pick up completed batches. The labor they provide ofsets their entitlement benefits. And it benefits us with the needed labor to get our soap wrapped. Its a great partnership and we are thankful to them for this opportunity.
- Retail outlets carrying our goods expanded this year, with the addition of Journey in Time in Orville, Both locations of Urban Orchid (Hingetown and Little Italy) florists, Artisan Corner in Newbury Twp, Alpaca Studios in Chagrin Falls, The Enchanted Garden in Cambridge, and Embellish in Marblehead. And ofcourse we continued our relationships with BayArts in Bay Village, River Light and The Log Cabin Gallery in Peninsula, Bridge Street Art Works in Ashtabula, Fra Angelica Gallery in Cleveland, Prosperity Jewelry in Cleveland, Ginko Gallery in Oberlin, and Green Roots Collection at Cleveland Clinic, We are thankful to all of our retailers and the partnership with them. We appreciate their hard work keeping it local, and keeping the retail shops running.
- On a sad note this year was different because the Textile Art Alliance annual boutique and fashion show was cancelled. It has been a high water mark for my silk, and wire crochet. But understanding that organizations change, and so do their plans. The fall season was not the same without the lovely patrons that visited that event.
- Where would we be without you, our readers, and customers. Thank you for your encouragement and enthusiasm. It is your care that keeps us excited, working hard, and creating beautiful things.
Our hearts are filled with joy and enthusiasm for the year that was, and we long for another great year in 2018. We wish you each the best for the new year, filled with good healthy, prosperity and deep abiding joy. Happy New Year!!!!!