Sunday, October 12, 2014

Jewelry by Hart

I met with Patricia Hart recently to get a preview of what she will be selling at the Winterfaire Craft Show this year.  Pat tells me that she has been making jewelry for over 25 years and although she doesn't work on her creations every day, it has become a big part of her life.  You may have already seen her at local craft and jewelry shows in Grass Valley and Nevada City because she is a regular participant.  Pat says she expects to do about five shows this year, having cut back a bit from a more active selling schedule.

In Pat's booth, you will find jewelry at reasonable prices and she says the reason is because she buys jewelry making supplies from a wholesale house.  She admits that she finds it hard to resist buying more beads than she needs to get better prices and has quite a stash of supplies on hand.  With the large array of beads and materials available to her, Pat can lose herself in the creative beading process for hours on end. For a coordinated look,  Pat often makes earrings to match her necklaces and bracelets.

If you are looking for something special in the way of a gift or want to add accent jewelry to match an outfit in your closet, Pat Hart's jewelry booth at Winterfaire will be the place to visit.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Connie Alexander - Maker of Collectible Teddy Bears

I met with Connie on a rainy afternoon in her Nevada City home.  Connie showed me to her cozy studio, with sewing machine, cutting tables, and lots and lots of supplies for making her special teddy bears.  As Connie explained, these aren't toys for children but rather collectibles for adults with the heart of a child still within.  Connie uses the very best  materials for her bears - mohair fur from Germany and synthetic furs that look like the real thing.  Her husband Bill helps out too - he installs the joints to make the bears lifelike and often cuts out the fabric for Connie to sew into lovable bears that you just want to hug. Each bear is stuffed with poly fill and  plastic pellets to give it a nice firm, but touchable feel.  Connie also sews coloring book totes and soft, cloth books  for children which are included in her sales booths.

Connie says she started making bears in 2000 and attends many craft fairs and quilt shows each year.  She has been trying to cut back recently on her travels, but says she is still having fun with her business. 

Here is a little side show of bears, Connie at work in her booths and a glimpse into her studio.  Just click the arrow on the picture below and sit back and enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rich Irwin's Fabulous Metal Sculptures

Rich Irwin has been a professional artist since 1965.  He owned a small furniture store in Roseville and started painting pictures to go with various elements of home decor, but soon found that painting wasn't his real talent.  Three dimentional metal sculpture was his forte and he embarked on a successful forty year career with his wife Sue as business partner.

Rich told me that he and his wife participated in as many as 30 shows a year.  In order to keep up his inventory, he worked on his scuptures while they were on the road.  It was a seven day a week, 10 to 14 hour a day job.   After one particularly cold Christmas show in Minnesota, they decided they would try Las Vegas the next holiday season.  It was a win win location with the warmth of Vegas and its abundant cash flow so  they made it their holiday show destination from then on.

When it was time to retire about 8 years ago, Rich and his wife sold their large home in Placer County and moved to a smaller place in Grass Valley. Although he has slowed his pace, Rich still manages to make unique and wonderful pieces in his smaller workshop these days and he is ready for Winterfaire with Victorian houses, elaborately decorated bird houses and smaller dragonflies and roses for your garden.  His bigger sculptures of biplanes and locomotives are filled with rich detail that left me in awe of this fabulous artisan's work.

Please come by Rich's booth at Winterfaire this year. Not only will you love talking with this interesting man, but you will find distinctive art that will make your home and garden sing.