Welcome to The Handmade Department Store!

We hope you'll enjoy browsing the handmade goods featured here! The items and the designers we post are chock-full of intention, purpose, and passion.
We appreciate your support of local indie crafters.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Izoralee Designs: Unique and interesting jewelry

Izoralee Designs of Melbourne creates some of the most unusual jewelry pieces around. Working with a wide variety of materials like Czech glass beads, wooden beads, raw amber, and metal, each piece makes it's own dramatic statement.

One of my personal favorite Izoralee pieces is the glass and metal bracelet shown above. To me, it seems like an artistic, conversation piece that you can take with you everywhere!

Additionally, the artist can assist with designing impressive costumes, like the ones shown here, worn to Burning Man 2007 (how fun- I'd love to hear about that trip!). Check out the website to see a very cool belly dance costume created by Izoralee Designs.

Izoralee Designs can be found at many local and state-wide art markets and vendor shows, the next of which is FridayFest in Historic Downtown Melbourne on January 9, 2009 from 6 to 9 pm. Stop by the table to view the pieces available or visit the Izoralee catalog here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Become a piece of fine art with Lifecasting

Several months ago, I met sculptor Amy Wieck owns One Stop Prop Shop in Orlando. She can do some really amazing work, like the bronze sculpture of the scorpion shown below. But she also does something really unique: she can create a truly personal piece of artwork by casting your body.

Her statement: "Currently, I am exploring the complex nature of personalities. I am fascinated by the duality of both harmonious and hypocritical traits within each of us. Utilizing a technique called Lifecasting, I capture a moment in time of real people, create multiple copies of each person, and then give each piece their own history. Each piece is painted with many layers of paint in order to create visually intriguing finishes. By giving the same image different finishes, I am expressing the complex nature of personalities. Faces have not been included in order to avoid giving a specific identity to any of the pieces. Instead each torso could be anyone or everyman."

My personal favorite, and what I imagine to be the most sentimental type of bodycast shown on Amy's website is the bellycast, which immortalizes your pregnancy "bump". Similarly, once baby is born and has grown up a little, she can cast your child's hands or feet and create quite a conversation piece.

Amy's experience is incredible, as seems to be her life. With a degree in Studio Art and minors in Theatre Tech and Film Studies, she has worked creating figures for Ripley's Believe It or Not!, Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Japan.

Amy also offers fun seasonal items. For Halloween, she can create masks, decor, and even scary-funny fake arms, like the one shown below.

You can find Amy's work at her personal website here or at the One Stop Prop Shop website here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fun with Fuffalumps

One of the artists showcasing her work at the Saint Cloud Gift Gallery, featured here on September 30, is Jen, of Creations by JDB, in Orlando. She creates the most adorable and interesting plush creatures called Fuffalumps! They are friendly, monsterish creatures that will put a smile on anyone's face, just about guaranteed.

Jen started making her Fuffalumps in 2006 after reading Stupid Sock Creatures by John Murphy. She started experimenting with her own creatures, using different fabrics and embellishments (such as buttons), often drawing inspiration from the fabrics themselves, wondering, "What creature would you like to be today?"

A friend helped her decide on the name "Fuffalumps," which was drawn from several nicknames she had growing up. Her husband helped out with the asymmetric eyes for the Fuffalumps, which is now their trademark. The Fuffalumps have become very popular: "I get buttons, socks and fabrics from people now all the time," says Jen, "I love getting personal fabrics and making a unique character just for that particular person."

Today, the demand for Fuffalumps has become so great that Jen sells them- or, rather, she puts them up for adoption- at several art/craft galleries as well as on Etsy. Included in the list of the many places to find Fuffalumps is, of course, the Saint Cloud Gift Gallery in downtown historic Saint Cloud, the Florida Craftsman Gallery in Saint Petersburg, The Gallery at Cedar Hollow in Malvern, PA, the Sugar Plum Shoppe in Clearwater, The Prickly Pear in Tallahassee, Gallery Zarragossa in Pensacola, and Full Circle Gallery in Fort Walton Beach. Whew! Way to go, Jen, on getting your creations out there!

You can see more pictures, get more info, and contact Jen from her website by clicking here. And if you're ever nearby one of the galleries listed above, stop in and take a look at these adorable creations in person. They're all about fun.

PS- if you visit Jen's Etsy shop, you can see paintings and other artwork and creations in addition to the Fuffalumps!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thanks! Updates on contest voting...

In the last few months, I solicited your votes for both me, on the WESH-2/CW-18 A-List for "Best Wedding Invitations in Central Florida" and for Major Tommy, who had a piece chosen for the Etsy Chainmailler's Guild "Linked to the Sea" contest.

Both contests are now over, and we both placed second! Not at all bad for either of us, considering the competition we were up against! So thanks a bunch for your votes and your support!

If you ever have an event to announce, a contest you need votes for, or something craft-related that you'd like to publicize, please shoot me an email. I'd be happy to help you spread the word!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Opportunity, New Venue: The Saint Cloud Gift Gallery

On October 15, the Saint Cloud Gift Gallery will open inside the Old Post Office Building in downtown historic Saint Cloud, and artists and craftspeople from all over Central Florida have the opportunity to showcase and sell their work at this new venue (keep reading for details). Set up as a "year-round arts festival," the upscale gallery will feature three main rooms: one for fine art and upscale crafts, one for country crafts, and one for seasonal holiday crafts. There is also a classroom that can hold up to 18 students.

Linda Portka and her daughter-in-law, Corine Reser, have decided to open this venue because arts festivals and craft fairs are one of their past times, but during the off-season, they never had anywhere to buy their gifts. Hopefully, this new gallery will fill that need and satisfy their passion. "We love seeing all the neat things that our amazing members are bringing to the store," says Linda, "Some have never displayed their work outside of family and friends, so bringing their things to us is a big step."

Linda is a potter and will have her pottery studio in the back of the gallery. Her specialty is "Baby Eggs," one of which can be seen above. They will be available for purchase at the new gallery, but can also be purchased on Linda's website. Most eggs range in price between $60 and $100 and there are many variations on the theme.

Corine's speciality is 4-foot tall custom Santas with ceramic faces and clothed with vintage fabrics, lace, and fur. She will happily include the customer's own toys in Santa's sack, as well. Corine's custom Santas range in price between $800 and $1000.

If you would like your own work considered for display at The Saint Cloud Gift Gallery, there are three levels of membership:
  • Gold: Requires the member to work at the store one day per month, pay no commission on items sold through the store, and they can use the training center for 20% of their class fee. This membership level is $40.00 per month.
  • Silver: Requires no store sitting, but the artist must pay 20% commission on items sold through the store. The classroom can be used for 25% of their class fee. This membership level is $40.00 per month.
  • Bronze: Straight consignment at 33%. There is no membership fee for this level.
For more information and to submit your work for consideration, call Corine at (407) 973-9960. Visit the website for details and to see the artists currently on board at the gallery.

Best of luck to Linda and Corine!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vote for #22!

One of our readers and prior featured designers, Major Tommy, had a piece selected for the Chainmailler's Guild "Linked to the Sea" contest! This piece is his own version of the "Heart of the Ocean" necklace from the Titanic, although it has a completely different style and story behind it. You can view and vote for his necklace, #22 on the listing, which is also shown above, as well as the other pieces selected for the contest, at the Etsy Chainmailler's Guild website.

There are only 6 days left to vote (probably 5 by the time this email is sent to you), so visit the site, view the pieces, and vote for your favorite 2. Again, #22 is Major Tommy's piece- scroll to the bottom to view!

The winning chainmailler receives a bundle of supplies to create more beautiful jewelry, so your vote really counts! Also, if you leave a comment on the Chainmailler's Guild website for the post, YOU will be entered to win one of the pieces shown!

Good luck, Major Tommy!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Obamawareness + Craft Fair

For those of you who are both crafters and Obama supporters (or either/or), there will be a fundraising event and craft/vendor fair on Sunday, September 28 at the Cocoa Beach Pavilion from noon to 9 pm. Vendor tables are still open for this event, so keep reading if you're interested in having a table. The turnout is expected to be very good for this event, so if you get a table, bring your best stuff!

There will also be information booths on where Obama stands on the issues, voter registration, kids' activities, food, music, an auction and a raffle. There is a $5 suggested entry donation for guests to the event.

What: Obamawareness Festival

When: Sunday, September 28 from noon to 9 pm

Where: Cocoa Beach Pavilion, Tom Warriner Blvd (off Minuteman Causeway), Cocoa Beach

Expect to hear music all day from: Acoustic Alliance Band, Al Scortino & Norm McDonald, Bluesgotus, Jenn Weidley, Matt Riley, Mike Runion, One Street Over, Robin & Eddy, Terry Kelly, Tina Eno, and Wynn Walent.

You can find more information on the event on the MySpace page here. To sign up for a table or to donate an item for the auction or raffle, you can find the contact information for Jen, the organizer, at the above website.

Thanks to a reader for sending the info on this event and vendor opportunity! If you have a craft-related event you need to spread the word about, please email me!