While some folks enjoy the hustle and bustle of hitting the craft marts, trunk shows and boutiques this time of year, others prefer to shop online.
Turns out there's a way to have your artisan cake and eat it, too. Etsy
lists hundreds of Cleveland artisans’ wares for sale. It’s an easy way to surf for that local special gift and avoid holiday schlepping.
Here’s a list of our top five favorite artists on Etsy.
Three years ago Brooke Theriot bought a handbag made of recycled license plates. It was the inspiration to start KoolPlatez, which makes signs, key rings, jewelry and other unique art from old license plates.
“We had a bunch of license plates in our garage from all of the places we used to live,” says Todd Theriot. “We love the fact that we’re recycling and repurposing and not putting these in a landfill.”
The Theriots find their plates from every state in the country online, from antique stores and, more often now, their customers.
KoolPlatez has a selection of their work on Etsy, and also offers custom-made signs through the site. The Theriots can do two-letter signs, up to 50 letters and up to three tiers.
Carol Breckenridge has been an artist for her entire life. After a 20-year career as an art therapist, she decided to devote her time to creating original ink drawings, acrylic seascapes inspired from her many trips to the outer banks of North Carolina, and line/ink animal drawings for children.
Breckenridge’s ink drawings of Cleveland’s many bridges have been popular among former Clevelanders. “I’ve sold them to people who have moved away from Cleveland and they have a nostalgic remembrance of the bridges here,” she says.
Her custom house drawings are also a popular nostalgic gift. “The house drawings are popular when people move in or move out of a much-loved house,” Breckenridge muses. Her depiction of a mama giraffe nuzzling her baby can make any parent’s heart melt. She personally gives the animal drawings out as new baby gifts, with the child’s name and birthday.
And, Breckenridge points out, all of her works for sale on Etsy are reprints so they’re affordable.
Jewelry by Jenny (JenScoobySnacks)
In Cleveland, Jenny Bendis Goe’s customers love her glass charm necklaces, key rings and Scrabble tile accessories that depict their hometown. “We’re so heavy into our identity here, even in the suburbs,” she says. “Even in Lorain or Westlake, people want art with 216 on it.”
Elsewhere in the world Goe’s customers go for her darker side – necklaces fashioned after famous horror movies. “They’re a little more quirky. Horror is big. Three of the last five orders I had were horror necklaces.” Goe recently had a customer in France order one charm necklace based on “The Blob” and one based on “Candyman.”
Currently, Goe is seeing a lot of interest in her necklaces that offer a tribute to “A Christmas Story,” featuring the famous leg lamp and phrases like “You’ll shoot your eye out.” She also takes custom orders – recently creating a necklace for a customer who wanted a Robin Williams tribute.
Erika Laine Hansen started making jewelry five years ago when her two science degrees weren’t helping her find a job. Her creations feature handmade glass beads, old maps and dictionary print and resin. “I preserve vintage settings under resin,” Hansen explains. “The maps represent someplace special they’ve lived or vacationed. The word means something special.”
Hansen finds the materials for her works at antique shows, library book sales and estate sales. “If it doesn’t get purchased, it is going to get recycled,” says Hansen of her finds. “I save them from the recycling bin and repurpose them for something else.”
Hansen also makes a menswear line of tie clips, belt buckles and cufflinks. She also just opened a shop in Lakewood, The Modern Bohemian
, featuring artists from Ohio.
Six years ago, Donna Marchetti started taking art classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art
for fun. Then one day she stumbled into a one-day workshop on
silk painting and fell in love with the art. “It was instant passion,” she says.
So Marchetti quit her job as a journalist and co-owner of a small magazine and devoted herself full-time to creating hand-painted silk scarves. The colorful scarves are each unique, some are embellished with paint and markers.
Marchetti’s Etsy shop did so well, she recently moved her studio out of her house and into space at the 5th Street Arcades