Meet The Maker: Chris Elsasser of Munstre


Munstre (mun-stir) began as a happy accident back in 2008, I used to make buttons for bands and events in the Boston area, and I’d do all of the layout and printing before finally running each piece through the button press. If the order was large enough I’d tape a few sheets of paper together in order to save time during the circle cutting stage – but in order to be sure everything lined up correctly on each sheet I’d hold the group of them up to a bright light. I’d hold them up, think “goddamnit the registration’s off again but hmm that’s a nice looking thing”, fix the registration and move on. It’s kind of a minimal moment, but one day after wrapping up an order I decided to print out one of my own simple designs onto some aged paper, I didn’t have a frame or anything built yet, but against the light that particular artwork came to life in a way that just didn’t quite work sitting on a computer screen… and I immediately felt like this thing had some potential. I at least wanted one for myself.


The problem then was I had very, very little experience with woodworking and no knowledge whatsoever of electrical wiring (although I DID mount a battery powered 3v fan motor to a slab of wood when I was in 3rd grade) so I had to kind of find my way. Fortunately my dad had all of the equipment I’d need to start, and he helped me make the first frame for these lightboxes while also showing me how to not explode myself or his garage. Every step since then has basically just been learning, practicing, refining, testing new ideas, refining those etc…


The style for Munstre has always reflected what I’m into in my own life, which tends to be antique or historic items with an ‘oddities’ edge to them, particularly medical ephemera. For years I’ve collected old photographs, books, clocks, 8mm films – all sorts of items that inform my decisions when it comes to design. Though each image is a product of a massive amount of photoshopping & digital painting, I try to impart enough real textures and layers around the focal point, and on some level keep the images grounded, so the viewer feels some connection to the piece while maintaining their curiosity.

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Over time these lightboxes showed up in stores, articles, a couple movies & tv shows. The support was very exciting, but it also became extremely exhausting. I had made so many little adjustments to my own construction & ideas along the way, I knew the process was probably far from efficient, and the idea of getting someone to help felt at once very needed & very daunting.

Eventually I was offered a FT Design job which of course ate up the majority of my production time, and I kept Munstre around as a minimal side project, thinking I’d return to it in a more dedicated way at another time. 6 months became a year, which became two. Then life made some adjustments for me, because somewhere in there I ended up meeting my now fiancee while she was in Medical school at Brown, and upon graduating she matched in Philadelphia for residency, so we picked up and moved down here without really knowing anyone. In the process of the move I decided to deactivate Munstre. Philly was a big reset button for me, and being the partner of a resident Physician I found myself with lots, and lots, and lots of alone time. I began using this time to refocus some creative energy, building a new workspace, re-discovering a love for music, and very slowly building a small recording studio as my interests grew. I started a music project called “Colurer”, and while I’m still writing and recording a full album (out in 2017) this process really helped wake me back up creatively. I’ve put out a handful of tracks, and am currently finalizing discussions to license some music for a movie coming out next year.


This summer I was hit with a drive to reinvigorate Munstre. Working with some new materials, like textured stained glass, more interesting frames, and some great options with LED’s I am probably more excited than I was at its first inception. This time around I am also more inspired by the things I’ve come to appreciate through my fiancee: cooking, gardening, a connection to nature, and a generally more positive outlook on life. If you’d told me in 2008 I would one day find inspiration from green beans I would’ve questioned the course my life was taking.

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On a whim I sent a vendor application into Art Star and used that as the catalyst to get the project back in full operation. I’ve since carved out space in our apartment, working partly on our deck, and the other in the back half of my studio. In here I’m designing, assembling the boxes, printing films from modified wide-format printers, painting, wiring, and photographing everything in a much more streamlined way than I’d ever done previously.

The following 6 photos by Kristine Eng

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Thank you Art Star for accepting Munstre as a vendor, while I’m very busy designing & building a new collection of images for the bazaar, I will be continuing to add new products on & my recently opened Etsy account (linked through my website). Looking forward to meeting everyone!


Munstre is on instagram as MunstreGlow:

If you’re curious about my music project Colurer check out

& instagram at Colurer

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Events We Love: Still Divided, An Election Party and Exhibit

We are very excited about this event, which has been organized by our friend Hope Rovelto of Little Chair Printing. We hope to see you there!

Witness History Direct from Ringside at the Ice Box

November 8 – November 10, 2016
Opening Reception: November 8, 7-11pm
2nd Thursday Opening: November 10, 6-9pm

(PHILADELPHIA – November 8, 2016) The ICEBOX at the Crane Arts Building will host a unique exhibition and election viewing party featuring the work of local, national and international artists. The main event will occur Tuesday, November 8, during one of the most highly anticipated Presidential elections of our time. Beginning at 7:00pm, live feeds of the election results from multiple news sources will be projected alongside an exhibition including politically themed broadsides, newspapers, ceramics, live screen printing of posters and t-shirts, an interactive map of the United States, Zine making with The Soap Box Community Print Shop & Zine Library, live post painting by Yomi and more. Dock St. Brewery will be debuting their newest brew: Pathological Lager.

The goal of the exhibition organizers is to capture and critique the spectacle of political discourse in our media landscape. The division of the gallery into blue and red spaces will mimic and call attention to the passionately divided supporters of Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. From the organizers: “The Still Divided exhibition and election party seeks to mimic the tension of our two party system. Even in the midst of a ‘united’ rhetoric, we remain a divided country.”

With an admission price of $25, Attendees will receive their choice of a handmade ceramic cup, beer, games, art, music, and a chance to watch history being made with artists and citizens from the Philadelphia area. Anyone who shows up with an “I voted” sticker receives a $5 discount. Students with a current ID get the “Debt Relief” $10 discount.

For more information about the exhibition, or to speak with the organizers, please contact Hope Rovelto by calling (585) 615-2184 or emailing at
Facebook Event Invite

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Meet The Maker: Jen Gubicza of Zooguu


Hello, I’m Jen, and my business is called Zooguu. I live outside of Boston, MA and making things has always been a part of who I am. I have a background in graphic design for the audience of kids and families. For ten years, I worked alongside a creative team designing logos, websites, product design and toy packaging. Translating an object from 2D to 3D is a challenge I enjoy very much. I started hand sewing little creatures as a hobby in the early 2000s, bought my first sewing machine in 2008, and left my full-time design job six months after that to start Zooguu.


Zooguu’s original product offering was handmade toys, but in the last few years the focus has moved onto home decor. The faux taxidermy pieces appeal to a wide range of ages and I sell to people decorating kids’ rooms, students outfitting their college dorms, and adults sprucing up their offices with a bit of humor. I love doing craft shows, and meeting all of the people who will be taking our work home. We spend all week sewing, cutting, painting and stuffing, so it’s always a treat to see people react to the work. We get a lot of smiles and laughter in our booth, and it’s a great feeling.


The Zooguu studio is located in Nahant, MA, in a historic schoolhouse on an island just north of Boston. I have to say, working every day on a beautiful island isn’t so bad. I used to have a studio at home, but as the business grew, it became important to separate work and home life. I now have a couple of wonderful studio assistants that come and help with various stages of production work, but I still have my hands on every piece. Hiring help has allowed me to get better sleep, meet the growing demand for the work, and have time to dream up new designs.

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I am inspired by animals, textures in nature, street fashion, pop culture, and the wonderfully supportive community of creative small business owners I have been lucky enough to know over the years. One of the best things about owning a tiny business has been meeting others that are doing the same thing and sharing knowledge and support.

Find Zooguu at our upcoming November 19th and 20th Art Star Craft Bazaar or at

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Meet The Maker: Hilary Hertzler

My work is colorful, textured, and sometimes very large. I am very attracted to contrast. I like to push the balance of what people expect in jewelry. I like making things that are a riot of color and texture and unexpected material combinations.

Ironically, I’ve never really been someone who wears a lot of jewelry. This is not to say that I didn’t like jewelry. I just never felt the urge to wear it on a regular basis – to find those ‘go to’ pieces that I could wear every day. The jewelry I did buy for myself tended to be one-off, handmade pieces – items that made me feel like I was expressing a part of myself that wasn’t so apparent to most people. A little wink to who I wished to be.


I get a lot of visceral reactions to my jewelry. People want to touch it, which makes me very happy. Touch is such a personal kind of connection – and I want my jewelry to feel personal. Even still, people often ruminate on my work saying, ‘It is beautiful. It would really look good on so and so. I wish I could pull it off.’ I can identify with this line of thought, but I try not to subscribe to it. I believe that, at our best, our choices in art, jewelry, clothing are expressions of who we are, aspirations of who we’d like to be.


What I hope when a customer buys a piece of mine is that it makes you feel strong and happy in your own skin. That it makes you smile and brings you a bit of joy when you wear it. That it helps you to express a part of yourself that isn’t so apparent to others or easy to express. That the rules you’ve created for yourself fall away a little when you wear it.

Creating something handmade is so personal. I like to think that I am passing along a certain energy to those who wear my jewelry. In turn, you will shape it into something for yourself, for your life. It’s a lofty goal for a small item, perhaps – but a vital one, one that affirms what makes us human: the power to recreate ourselves.


A few months ago I had a request from a customer for repair services. She was looking for someone to repair a necklace that her grandmother recently gifted her. It was a beautiful, intricately beaded piece that her grandmother bought for herself when she was a 16 year old girl in South Africa. When I received the package in the mail, I opened it up only to be hit by a warm, sweet smell. The beads were handmade, unfinished clay, rough and warm – impregnated with the perfume of her grandmother. It was a perfect, full circle moment for me and a reminder of why I feel very lucky to do what I do – to create, to connect, and pass it along.

Find Hilary’s intricately woven jewelry at our upcoming Art Star Craft Bazaar or visit her website at

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Meet The Maker: Mariko Iwata of Miks Letterpress

Hello and welcome to our Meet the Maker blog series! Twice a week we will be profiling one of our talented vendors who will be participating in our Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar on November 19th and 20th at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. This is a great way to get to know each of our artists better. Learn more about their process, get a glimpse into their studio, and meet the person behind the beautiful products they create! We will be posting these every Tuesday and Thursday until the show. Join our Facebook Event so you are notified as soon as a new post is up. Enjoy!

Hi I’m Mariko and I design and print modern and funny letterpress greeting cards as well as minimal wedding invitations.

I am all about the hand written note. Nothing says “you’re worth it” than someone who gets out a pen, thinks of something to write, licks the envelope and rifles through their drawer for stamps. Oh, yeah and then remembers to send the letter.

The sentiments printed on my cards are modern and funny as well as gushingly sentimental. I try to think of something unique that people today want to say like “i wait to watch tv shows with you” to express love. Most cards also have a blind impression that you can only see if you’re up close, like a secret message.

I love printing. I have a heidelberg windmill letterpress machine in my studio in Mt. Rainier, MD. It’s heavy and large and quite awesome when it comes to letterpress printing. I got it two years ago when I decided I’d pour my heart into designing and printing stationery and wedding invitations.

There are a number of steps involved in printing, starting from the design and concept, getting plates made, inking up your machine, setting up a design on the machine to then finally print. Here is a video that I did with Below the Park that shows the multiple steps.

Miks Letterpress – Clones from Below The Park on Vimeo.

This year I’ve been focusing more on my modern wedding invitation line. The wedding line is minimal, simple and great for the couple who wants their wedding invitation suite to be unique and different. I use gold foil, letterpress and watercolor in my work.

I’m so excited to be at the Art Star Craft Bazaar this year. I’ll have a number of new items that I don’t have yet online and will be debuting at the show. I’m super excited to be in Philly this year with other super talented makers.

Mariko Iwata is the creative force behind Miks Letterpress +. When she is not printing and being a boss lady she is hanging out with her husband (the inspiration for many of her cards) and 8 month old son (who frequents craft fairs with her and will be at Art Star). Follow Miks Letterpress + on instagram (@mikspress) and check out her site

Photos by Jon Moses Photography & Rachel Lynn Photography
Video by Below the Park

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Upcoming Exhibition with Julianna Swaney

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Ever wonder who the talented artist behind all of our adorable Art Star Craft Bazaar Posters is? Well, it is none other than Portland based illustrator Julianna Swaney. We are so pleased to announce that we are hosting a solo exhibition with this beloved Art Star artist. This will be our first show with Julianna and we are bursting with excitement. This is an amazing opportunity to snag an original illustration! If you are interested in receiving a collector’s preview of the work, please email me at

We will be hosting an opening reception on Saturday, September 17th from 5-7. Complimentary refreshments provided.

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Meet The Maker: Amanda Hagerman


2016 has been a big year for me. In January I resigned from my high school art teaching position of almost 8 years to pursue my passion of designing and making jewelry, full-time. It was a leap into the unknown. Although running a business is grueling at times, I love every minute of it and have no regrets. I am living my dream.

I’ve always loved creating. I have fond memories of playing in the woods as a young girl growing up in rural Pennsylvania. Whether it was rearranging rocks in the stream by my house to build a man-made swimming hole (if you found a crayfish that was a major score), or leaning large branches against a tree to form a make shift teepee fort, I’ve always had the urge to make things. This urge carried over into loving art class all throughout school and being inspired by talented artists in all mediums. I was introduced to the concept of metalworking in high school and pursued this interest further in college by earning a B.F.A in Fine Metals in addition to my art education degree.


In 2014 (after about 6 years of having no feasible space to work as a metalsmith) I obtained my studio. I taught all week and worked in my studio during the off hours. Eventually, Amanda Hagerman Jewelry was established. It took several months of creative exploring to find my voice as an artist. I knew I wanted to create fashion forward designs that had a rustic, almost ancient appeal and I kept coming back to the notion of wanting my work to somehow reflect nature. Over time, I developed a lost wax casting technique combining geometric shapes with a rocky, ridge like surface. The result of this reflected the mountainous scenery I grew up around as a child. It embodied the parts of the landscape that make me feel whole and center me spiritually. It also achieved the rugged ancient look I desired with a fun and edgy twist. Each day I work to hone this technique and what has now become my signature style. It continues to grow and evolve and I’m excited to see where it will lead…

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Each piece begins as a drawing on paper. I start with geometric shapes based on the elements in the landscape, specifically rocks, ridges, and ravines that influence the aesthetic of my work. After rendering the shapes, I make several paper copies of those shapes. From there I cut them out and rearrange them into various compositions. This is how I develop all of my designs. This process alone often takes hours, but is very satisfying and exciting. Once I have developed a series of sound designs, I set off to work in my studio.


To create my work, I often combine lost wax casting and fabrication processes. Items with my signature textured ridge surface are first hand sculpted using a combination of modeling and sheet waxes. The wax is malleable and allows me to manipulate the surface in order to achieve the desired surface textures. These pieces are then cast centrifugally using the lost wax casting process. This is an ancient technique that dates back to over 5700 years ago, which today involves investing pieces into a plaster cylinder, melting all of the wax out in a kiln, and pouring molten metal into the void where wax once was. Casting is an art in itself, one that brings me great satisfaction and control over what I create. Once shapes are perfected (after casting and finishing) I make molds of those pieces, unless they are for a one-of-a-kind design. Mold making saves me time in reproducing the wax pieces for my production line. In the images above, you see several pink wax pieces that have been made from molds of an original copy. Other details of my work are hand fabricated directly in metal by cutting sheet, forging wire, soldering prongs & jump rings, etc.

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My process is truly my identity as an artist. I stand for the slow made item. The piece that was worked by hand from start to finish. I am about celebrating the Maker’s mark and the beauty of artistic exploration all the while finding balance in imperfection and skilled craftsmanship. I’ve been told that each of my pieces have soul. I believe it’s the care and attention to detail given individually to each piece that plays a role in establishing that. Because each piece is individually handcrafted, no two pieces will ever be precisely the same. In today’s world we often see things mass produced by machine. Millions of cookie cutter items that make us lose connection with the concept of artisan made and skilled craftsmanship. My work may not be precision perfect like items made by a machine, but I think there is great beauty in the imperfections. Behind each piece there is intention, consideration, and selfless devotion of time. In fact, a great deal of back pain inducing time, but time incredibly well spent nonetheless.


My work varies from large statement pieces to small dainty adornments, perfect for everyday wear. It consists of Argentium Silver and 14K gold vermeil. Everything, including the casting, is completed in my studio with the exception of the vermeil finish (for quality and certification purposes). All jewelry is nickel free and made in the most ethical ways possible.

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I plan to have my entire collection, plus brand new one-of-a-kind pieces with me in Asbury Park! I can’t wait to see you there! Find me at booth #7!

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Get to know Hot Sand Glass Studio in Asbury Park!

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Hi everybody, welcome to a little picture of Hot Sand. We have been blowing glass for almost 10 years in Asbury Park. Originally founded by Thomas Stevens and Paul Elyseev, Hot Sand has always been a place for the public to blow glass and for local Glassblowers to show their works. Glassblowing typically has a fairly high barrier to entry, meaning that a lot is needed to get the show on the road, as it were. With the introduction of Walk-In Glassblowing we have been able to get that barrier just about as low as it can get! Anyone can walk in off the street, any day and let us know they want to blow glass and we happily comply. Typically it’s a much more formal affair and we are happy to make it easy peasy!


We have many Walk-In Activities ranging from a simple bubble to a pumpkin and an apple, a vase or a drinking glass and everything in between. When you arrive here you are greeted by one of our very helpful employees and we collaborate with you on deciding what it is you want to make, what colors you would like it to be and how you would like those colors laid out. We offer a myriad of different design elements that can be combined in many ways and with the broad selection of colors you can choose from, the combinations are nearly endless!


Also offered is more formal instruction that will set you on the path to becoming a Glassblower. If you want to learn all the in’s and out’s of this craft, Hot Sand is the place to start. We can walk you through all the particulars and eventually set you free in the Hot Shop so that you can eventually begin expressing your imagination with glass as the medium for your creativity.


We have a tight knit group of Glassblowers that work here and they have learned to blow glass in many different manners. There are people with degrees in glassblowing here, we have many people that have trained internationally and stateside. The 2 guys that started the business even have worked in glass factories in Europe!


All that said, we would love to see you in the studio. Any day we are open you and your loved ones are welcome to stop by the studio to blow glass with us, do a bit of shopping, or just watch!  We look forward to seeing you soon in the shop or at the upcoming Art Star Asbury Park event!


Visit Hot Sand’s booth at this weekend’s bazaar and  make a small sun tile for $24 or a large one for $36! They will fire it in their studio and you can either pick it up later or they will ship it to you for a small additional fee. See you there!

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Meet The Maker: Nicole Hemmerly of MossHound Designs

image 1Hey there! My name is Nicole Hemmerly and I am a macramé artist & the owner of a super fun business called MossHound Designs. Aptly named after two of my favorite things, moss (and anything moss colored) and our hound dog Maycie, the peaceful beast.

image 6It all came about after spending most of 2015 craving a craft, craving something purely fun and uplifting to my soul. While doing research on different crafts I came across this weird knotting technique popular in the 70’s and thought “where have you been all my life!” You see, growing up we didn’t have a stitch of macramé in the house. However, my parents and the house I grew up in, is a complete inspiration to me. My mother can decorate with such ease & is crafty as all get out and my desire to be in the great outdoors comes from my father. My husband and I also share the same love for nature. When we go hiking, he helps me pick out the natural stones and driftwood I use.

image 4 image 3My pieces are a culmination of earthy but bright color schemes and an equal mix of vintage and natural fibers. The cord I use for the macramé is 100% cotton and produced in the USA. The cream yarn used for weavings comes straight off the sheep on my in laws farm in northern Pennsylvania and the other yarn colors were taken out of an old school house being torn down. I try to repurpose and reuse as much as I possibly can.

image 5What started out as a little craft is now a full-fledged business adventure that has expanded in ways I could have never imagined! Currently, I have been hand painting deer skulls, dip dying fabric, decorating with succulents and houseplants, weaving and even have created macramé pieces for weddings.

image 7Swing by booth #10 and say hi! I love meeting new people and can’t wait to see you all!
Follow us on Instagram @mosshound_designs to stay current on products and giveaways.

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Meet the Maker “Claudia Chloe”

I didn’t know I wanted to take pictures until I was accidentally placed in the photography program at Monmouth University after receiving my associates in fine art at community college. I had no idea what I was going to do for a living at that point, so I took it as a sign to put down the paintbrush and pick up the camera. And I am so beyond thankful that I did.

image 1Living a two minute bike ride from the Asbury Park Boardwalk my whole life, I have always been heavily influenced by the playfulness of the beach-goer lifestyle. The bright colors of umbrellas and swooping lines of the Atlantic Ocean’s tides are a huge part of my aesthetic.

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I’ve been attracted to aerial images since I began studying photography. I love the way they can simplify and organize such a chaotic world. So, when I had my first opportunity to hang out the side of a doors-off helicopter to shoot the beaches of Miami last spring, I was thrilled and I am so grateful that I was able to have that first experience.

In the last year I’ve also shot over Manhattan, Sedona, and most recently, the coast of the Jersey Shore from Seaside Heights to Asbury Park.

image 3I hung a few of my shots in a local shop on the boardwalk, The Market, that summer, and the response was so overwhelming that soon after, I registered Claudia Chloe as a business and set up my own Etsy shop. I am now in several other shops both online and up and down the Jersey Shore.

image 4I print the majority of my images myself. Watching my digital files turn into tangible objects that people want in their homes is definitely the most rewarding aspect of owning my company.

image 5No matter where I am, I like all of my images to make the viewer feel the way I do when I’m up in the helicopter – completely elated with the overwhelming beauty of the landscape and the way the human figure interacts with it. I never feel more connected to this world than when I am dangling 1,000 feet above it.

image 6When I’m not shooting, printing, editing, or answering emails, you can find me on the Boardwalk with my puppy, Lula Mae. In the past several years, Asbury Park has completely flourished with small businesses and artists and it is just so exciting to be a tiny part of this expanding creative community.

image 8I’ll be flying over Asbury Park again on the morning of Saturday, August 6th. So, if you are in the area, look up and wave!

image 9Claudia Chloe will be selling prints of her photos at our Art Star Craft Bazaar in Asbury Park on July 30th + 31st! Find her work online HERE.

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