John and I spent a lovely afternoon on Walnut and Fourth Streets at The Kirkwood Hotel in downtown Des Moines today, visiting with Iowa artisans at Market Day Iowa, a curated pop-up market.
Market Day is held in the hotel lobby, ball room, and bar on the ground floor. The vibe is young and trendy, with many highly skilled artisans displaying their wares. I met Dani Ausen of daniAWESOME, who organizes the Market Day events that have been showcasing Iowa artists, crafters and vintage sellers since 2009. When she is not coordinating Market Day, Dani is a maker herself who sells hair fascinators, jewelry and masks in her Etsy shop.
In this post I’d like to introduce you to some of the most interesting artisans I met. I chatted with Liz Brooks of Teal Suede, who marries together colorful fabrics and buttery-soft leather to make handbags. She also paints designs on some of her fabrics.
Jason Headlee of Blue Prairie Kitchenware uses hand gouges and rasps to make beautiful wooden spoons, spatulas, spreaders, coffee scoops, and other kitchen implements from oak, cherry, walnut, osage and other woods. No two items are alike; these are truly keepsake tools. You can reach Jason by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 515-975-3282.
John Bosley of Bozz Illustration designs art prints, posters and other graphic works that feature Des Moines landmarks and Iowa culture. His screen printing studio takes up most of his basement.
Veronica Deitrick of Dog in a Fez makes adorable dog berets, fez caps and other dog wearables. Her model and her inspiration is her Japanese Chin, Fuku Wanwan. Because her Web site is being revamped at the moment, she urges you to contact her via the Dogs of Des Moines site or by email at email@example.com.
Cody Sherman of ToasterPress is a woodcut printmaker who transfers his drawings to a woodcut, which he then inks up to print T-shirts you’ll find nowhere else. His style is both humorous and whimsical, and the inked woodcuts themselves are works of art.
Caroline Sallen is a fiber artist who dyes silk scarves in a rainbow of colors. You’ll find her shop on Etsy at Caroline Sallen. I bought a silk scarf from Caroline, and loved the fact that she enclosed a photo showing 12 different ways you can tie a scarf. During the daytime, she is a special education teacher, but in her spare time she not only dyes silk scarves, but she also designs art quilts. You can find examples of her work on her Facebook page, Caroline Sallen Art Quilts.
Sabrina Alery, a stay-at-home mom who owns The Honor Roll, designs what she calls “pretty cloth and paper” planners and stationery. I flipped through the contents of one of her lovely fabric-covered planners, and discovered it holds up to five different and removable organizers, and features useful locations for business cards, notes, paper clips, a pen, and more. Sabrina also crafts lovely cards, no two of which are exactly alike, with matching envelopes. Besides her Web site, you can visit The Honor Roll on Facebook and her shop on Etsy.
Jake Haselman of Jake Haselman on Etsy designs screen printed shirts, bags, buttons, zipper pulls, coasters and art prints. His black-and-white geometric art is distinctive, pulling you in for a detailed look at his work. Trust me—I couldn’t resist crouching down to almost stick my nose into one of the prints for a closer examination!
Kat Hutchison of Kat Meowcrafts works full-time during the daytime, but hand-embroiders buttons, pendants, patches and badges in her spare time. The tiny, detailed illustrations are her own. Kat says that while many of her designs feature cats, she actually owns two dogs. Cats are not in the picture because of her husband’s allergies.
Jen of 11th & Mulberry sells adorable cotton baby clothing such as onesies, yoga hats and harem pants. What’s different about her clothing line is that she screen prints a design on each piece with water-based ink. For many of the garments, you can specify what color of ink you prefer.
Shawn Solen of Solen Studios designs unique cement planters and bowls, table lights, wall hooks made from assorted woods, metal wall hooks, and a wall-mounted entryway oak shelf that holds your keys and your mail. Although you can visit his Etsy shop to purchase these items, a more complete gallery of his work appears in his Instagram feed HERE.
I fell in love with ceramic artist Erin Carpenter’s beautiful white pottery, carved and painted with her delicate designs. I liked it so much, in fact, that I purchased one of her ring bowls, shown in the lower left photo below. You can browse through Erin’s lacy bowls, stoneware, and painted white pieces at her Web site, Erin Carpenter Pottery, but you can purchase pieces of it in her Etsy shop, also called Erin Carpenter Pottery.
Just before Market Day closed today, John and I visited with Jen Lawler of JL Designs, a silver- and goldsmith who designs and crafts exquisite jewelry with clean, modern lines. I have been looking for a long time for a necklace to match a sterling silver bracelet I purchased years ago at the Kentucky Artisan Center of Berea, and was excited to discover exactly what I needed. I’m wearing the necklace in the photo below, but you can also see some of Jen’s other pieces.
The artisans I have introduced in this post represent about a third of the ones selling at today’s Market Day in Des Moines. The event is small enough that you can take the time to chat with the designers and learn a little bit about their process, in addition to checking out their wares. This is the first time we have visited a Market Day event, and John and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Have you attended a craft venue lately, where you shopped instead of being a vendor? What special finds did you discover?
© 2015 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.