Friday, December 20, 2013

The White Rabbit in Ravenna

Akron Empire is so excited to introduce guest blogger Erica Scheutzow! Erica, an artist, is a good friend and owner of As I Breathe I Hope, which offers a variety of quirky original plush characters made from new and recycled fabrics. Check out As I Breath I Hope on Etsy and on Facebook. Thanks for contributing to Akron Empire, Erica!

The White Rabbit in Ravenna
by Erica Scheutzow

The White Rabbit shop stems from the inspiration of two loving rabbits and a desire for something new. I first had the pleasure of meeting Brittany Christmas, the owner, almost exactly a year ago to the date of this interview at a craft show in 2012 and here our paths meet again! Brittany has a quaint little shop off Meridian Street in downtown Ravenna that specializes in selling handmade, one of a kind works of art from local artisans. Her concept of a consignment boutique for artisans started well over a year ago when she realized that there really isn’t a shop like this in Ravenna or surrounding areas. As we both agreed, it was a bit of a hassle to drive further out to larger cities for the same thing. “Why not just start my own?” said Brittany.

Since opening in June 2013, Brittany is very active in her community, always reaching out and getting involved with events. She has received much enthusiasm, curiosity and support from people near and far for her willingness to step out of the mainstream and not only highlight but encourage those crafty entrepreneurs. Shopping small really does come full circle!

Upon entering The White Rabbit, you’ll find a huge selection of items ranging from jewelry, textiles, paintings, pet accessories, decorations and much more all within an affordable budget, the average price range is $10-$30. You can’t beat that! Not to mention smiles and warm greetings from Brittany as she personally helps you shop and fills you in on each artist’s work. My experience with her was quite wonderful and I could tell that she was very proud and excited to have so many people stand behind her on her new venture. 

For more information about buying or selling at The White Rabbit please stop in the shop:

The White Rabbit
210 Meridian Street
Ravenna, Ohio 44266

OR, visit her social media networks:

Monday, December 16, 2013

Last Chance Holiday Bazaar

Last Chance Holiday Bazaar
by Joanna Wilson

Over the past month, I've been highlighting several local places and events where you can shop local and buy handmade.  Hopefully, you found an opportunity to explore Crafty Mart, Portage Trail Barn's WINTER SALE, and the Mustill Store's Holiday Open House to purchase gift items for your friends and family.  Just a reminder: the Mustill Store Holiday shop remains open through this week for local artisan items and for gift wrapping.  For more information, click HERE

For you procrastinators out there--and YOU know who you are--there's still one more opportunity I'd like to highlight.  Sunday, Dec. 22nd from 11am-6pm, at the Zephyr Pub in downtown Kent, you can find Last Chance Holiday Bazaar, a holiday pop-up shop to satisfy your last minute shopping needs.

The Last Chance Holiday Bazaar is an extension of Zephyr Mart, an arts and craft show first held this past September.  Were you there?  I was--and I was impressed with it.  I asked the organizers, Rachel Jernigan and J Phillip Hudson, about their event.  As an artist and a long time Kent resident, Rachel started Zephyr Mart to highlight the talents of Northeast Ohio crafters and artists while J brings his skills in event planning and his marketing experience to organize it.  (Remember J is the co-founder of Crafty Mart and the organizer behind Sausage Fest).  Rachel told me, "J and I started Zephyr Mart because we are both interested in providing a venue for artists to sell and a place for people to buy local, unique products and gifts. The city of Kent has some outdoor events but not one that we felt suited our goals."  I asked about the future of Zephyr Mart and Rachel responded, "J and I intend to do several Zephyr Mart events in 2014, including a summer Zephyr Fest with bands, food and lots of vendors."

Rachel and J are both motivated to support downtown Kent and its local small businesses that have survived over the years--alongside the influx of many new businesses.  The organizers are involved in supporting mainstays like The Zephyr Pub that need to be remembered and patronized.  One way to do that is to become involved in the Keep Kent Weird movement--showing your support for the uniqueness of local Kent.  And another way to support Kent is to shop local and buy from local artists--at events like the Last Chance Holiday Bazaar.

What can we expect to see at Last Chance Holiday Bazaar?  J Hudson told me, "The vendors at Last Chance Holiday Bazaar are an eclectic mix of Kent area artists and crafters, from recent Kent art student grads to established painters and jewelry makers. Others [from places throughout Northeast Ohio] are cottage industry creative types. Their work represents a wide range of aesthetics, styles and media. Some of their works are great to look at and others are practical and can be used. All will make great gifts. We are also going to have vintage clothes."

There will be approximately 20 vendors--please check out the vendors' names and photos of their goods on the facebook event wall.  This is a smaller event--one that relies on word-of-mouth promotion, so please share this event with your friends and family.  And, this event would not be possible without the support of The Zephyr Pub, it's owners, Michael and Nancy, and the manager, Patty Restaine.  Many thanks to everyone whose efforts go into making opportunities like this happen.  Keep Kent Weird.

Last Chance Holiday Bazaar is Sunday, Dec. 22nd, 11am-6pm
at the Zephyr Pub: 106 W. Main Street in downtown Kent, OH 
check out the Facebook event wall for more information and vendor profiles.

I'll see everyone there--I'll be one of the vendors, selling my holiday greeting cards.  Be sure to stop by and say 'hi.'

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tats for Tots at Arkham Tattoo

Tats for Tots at Arkham Tattoo 
by Brit Charek

A few weeks back, guest blogger Mathias King posted about his experience at Good Life Gives Back, a charity event where Good Life Tattoos & Piercings offered discounted prices and used the proceeds to buy toys for the waiting rooms at Akron Children's Hospital, which is a pretty cool idea.

It looks like Goodlife isn't the only shop in town interested in giving back-- this Saturday between noon and 11pm, Arkham Tattoo in North Akron is hosting a toy drive for Toys For Tots appropriately called 'Tats For Tots.' Here's the deal: Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots and $20 and you can choose from a huge selection of traditional tattoos!

This is a charity event, so be mindful of the rules. No custom work will be done during the event, and the flash sheet won't be released until the day of the event. You might want to show up early to make sure you get a spot in line. Check out the Facebook event for more details.

Arkham Tattoo is located at 788 N. Main St., Akron, Ohio 44310

Arkham Tattoo's Website
Arkham Tattoo's Facebook Page
Tats for Tots Event Page

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mustill Store Holiday Open House--Dec. 14th

Cascade Locks Park Association's Mustill Store Holiday Open House--2013

Mustill Store Holiday Open House
by Joanna Wilson

If you've been following along on this blog, then you know that over the past few weeks I've been making suggestions on local places to shop for your handmade holiday gifts.  When you shop locally, your money helps to support the local economy.  And, when you buy handmade, you help to support a local artist.  Another wonderful opportunity to shop locally and support neighborhood artisans is happening this weekend, Saturday December 14th at the Mustill Store Holiday Open House, 11am-3pm.

The Mustill House and Store decked with boughs of greenery.

You're familiar with the Mustill Store, right?  The Mustill Store is the historic house and store that is located on the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway--right along the Towpath (at the bottom of North Street, just above Howard Street).  The Mustill Store serves as the primary visitor's center for the Canalway.  The building's operation and volunteers are organized by the Cascade Locks Park Association who also work with others to help preserve and develop the area.  Remember Canal Fest and the Duck Derby this past summer?  That previous event as well as this week's Holiday Open House are fundraisers to help support this local non-profit organization and it's preservation of Akron's history.  For more information, check out the website for the Cascade Locks Park Association here.

Help support the CLPA and shop the Holiday Open House.

Saturday, Dec. 14th's Holiday Open House at the Mustill Store will be featuring locally made items such as items such as soap, honey, jam, scarves, hats, and more.  There will also be complimentary beverages and food treats for those shopping!  Not able to attend this Saturday?  You can also visit the Store the following days during the week for these extended hours: Sunday Dec. 15th 11am-3pm, Monday Dec. 16th 9am-6pm, Tuesday Dec. 17th 9am-6pm, Weds Dec. 18th 9am-3pm, Thursday Dec. 19th 9am-3pm, Friday Dec. 20th 9am-3pm.  

There will be volunteers gift wrapping on Sunday, Dec 15th from 11am-3pm, Mon, Dec 16th from 2pm-6pm, and Tues Dec. 17th, 2pm-6pm.  People can drop their gifts to be wrapped by volunteers, and donations are welcome. All proceeds go directly to the projects and programs of the CLPA. 330.374.5625 is the store phone if anyone wants more details or has any questions. See you at the Holiday Open House!

Holiday Open House: Saturday Dec. 14th 11am-3pm and extended hours during the following week.

For more information:
Mustill Store Holiday Open House facebook event
Cascade Locks Park Association website
call the Store phone for questions answered: 330-374-5625 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Portage Trail Barn--Winter Sale 2013

Look for the sign on Portage Trail Extension--perhaps 100 yards west of State Rd. in Cuyahoga Falls.

Portage Trail Barn--Winter Sale 2013
by Joanna Wilson

"Shop local. Buy handmade" is the slogan of the Portage Trail Barn.  This slogan can be seen on bumper stickers labeling cars throughout the Empire.  But it's also a way of life for many people in our community.  In the past, I've shared Portage Trail Barn events among others through this website and its many social networking extensions.  But today I'd like to step back and focus on the Barn--a growing, integral part of the local arts and crafts scene.

Portage Trail Barn is quite literally a BARN!

"A community of crafters displayed together in an intimate setting, not overcrowded nor overwhelming."

I recently spoke with the Barn's owner/creator Mary Beth Filon about how she got started.  Mary Beth said the Portage Trail Barn started out in the spring of 2011 as a place where she could sell her own crafts.  Looking to avoid the craft show circuit and on-line markets, Mary Beth and her mom decided to open their own shop--one she had built right on her property.  Since early 2011, she typically opens the Barn for sales once a season, about three or four times a year, and includes not only her own crafts but those from other local vendors as well.  Mary Beth makes a special effort to surround herself with artists and crafters that understand sustainability--stocking her barn with products that are re-purposed and up-cycled from used and vintage items.

"Because the different types of crafts are spread out and displayed uniquely, visitors can really be inspired by how items could be used in their homes or as gifts for loved ones."

"Our customers appreciate the story of these items.  They are happy to do their part to prevent re-purposed things from being thrown out."

Said Filon, "I love the fact that Portage Trail Barn is all about sustainability. When I go in there I see so many re-purposed items that would normally just be discarded, from clothing and wood remnants to antiques.  I like it when I buy something there, I feel like I'm doing my part to reduce waste. The best part is you would never know that they were discarded items because the items are so artfully crafted. The crafts truly are unique. They're not just something that you would see at typical craft shows where everything may start to look the same."

"The Portage Trail Barn takes separate vendors with different talents and unites them into one combined store.  It makes the artists and the shoppers feel like they're part of something bigger.... like a local art family.  [PTB] is different from other craft shows in that it feels more home-y.  It embraces the idea of community."

I asked Mary Beth to describe what type of items will be available at the Winter Sale.  She replied:
Cloth dolls, toys, and kids gifts
Lathe turned vases, pens, and other woodwork
Wine accessories and gifts
Re-purposed mittens, hats, totes, and purses
Vintage inspired jewelry
Greeting cards
Hostess towels and other gifts

And, I'm sure there will be more surprises.  As you consider where to spend your money this holiday season, I encourage you to continue to shop local and buy handmade.  Not only will you be helping to support a local member of our arts and crafts community, but you'll be buying something unique and not mass-produced. 

Portage Trail Barn--Winter Sale 2013 is over two weekends:
Thur-Sat Dec. 5th-7th,  (Thursday 3pm-8pm) (Friday and Saturday 10am-3pm)
Thur-Sat Dec. 12th-14th, (Thursday 3pm-8pm) (Friday and Saturday 10am-3pm)

Check out the Portage Trail Barn website:
Portage Trail Barn page on fb
RSVP to the Winter Sale event on FB

Portage Trail Barn is located at 151 W. Portage Trail Ext., Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223