Meet the Maker: Roberta Massuch

Hello! My name is Roberta, and I am the maker at roberta massuch ceramics. I create handbuilt porcelain pottery, sculpture, and drawings at The Clay Studio (Philadelphia, PA) where I am a Resident Artist. I’ve been working with clay for over 16 years, 5 of them here in Philadelphia.

I am excited to be returning for my second Art Star Craft Bazaar! The work I will be selling is the line of pottery I developed over the last two years using a unique method of building. I create molds by coil building a form, cut it in half, and fire it in the first firing (bisque). Then I use the ceramic form to press slabs of porcelain into the interior shape. This allows for the texture on the final piece to reflect the way my hands coil and pinch the original form – leaving a bumpy texture and evidence of the molding process.

I look to architecture for inspiration (Mexican pyramids, mid-century Modernism, and contemporary buildings) both in form and color decisions.


I think about how my minimalist; architectural pottery forms can become like little ‘cities’ or still lives when stacked or arranged in groups.


Quiet, simple vessels with white exterior surfaces are inextricably involved with nearby objects, and it is intriguing how the surface of one always affect the perception of another due to shifts in the intensity and direction of light covering the forms. Architectural, yet soft and inviting— the cups and bowls I make are asking to be held, to be touched, to be used.


All of my pottery is microwave and dishwasher safe. Durable and ready for everyday use! In addition to my booth at The Art Star Craft Bazaar, you can find my work at The Clay Studio (Philadelphia) in person or online. I am constantly making new pots, so keep an eye out by following me on instagram @bertiegoldtooth to keep up to date on what I have coming up next!

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Meet the Maker: Christine My Linh of Blush & May

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

This beautiful yet simple quote by Suzy Kassem was the beginning to my creative journey. I’ve learned that only through trial and error will we find our way to our goals. And so, with doubt aside I created YouTube videos documenting my newly learned obsession with bullet journaling. And then soon after, I started to receive requests of my artwork within my videos and that lead to Etsy at the end of 2017. By January 2018 Blush & May was in full production as a new small journal and stationery brand. Now I have a full range of journal printables, art prints, stickers, and journal cases all inspired by nature and my imagination.


My dad’s favorite line was “don’t worry, be happy.” It was as if he knew that everything would work out. And when he said those words, somehow, like magic, everything always worked out. I don’t know where my journey will take me, but I do know that everything will unfold magically as he believed. Life is similar to a rollercoaster and sometimes we need to simply enjoy the ups and learn from the downs. Plus I have a future vision for Blush & May that I will pursue with conviction and humility – which is to partner with local charities and nonprofits to create special product lines inspired by the organization to promote awareness. My hope is to accomplish this goal by the end of year. It has been an exciting few months and I can’t wait to see what else we can achieve in 2018.

My name is Christine My Linh and it would be lovely to meet you at my very first craft fair! Please stop by booth #9 at the Art Star Craft Bazaar on May 12th & 13th, you’ll be greeted with so much love! You can also connect with me on Instagram, Etsy, and/or YouTube if you like! Leave me a comment telling me that you found me through Art Star and I would love to say hello!

Cheers to a wonderful year for everyone!

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Meet The Maker: Sarah Bourne Rafferty of Atwater Designs


I’m a photographer and printmaker who loves combining her passion for the natural world with historic photographic processes. Atwater Designs is named for my mom’s side of the family. I also grew up surrounded by water on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and find as an adult that I need to be near water to feel alive and grounded. The name is both my identity and my yearning.

As a child, I loved exploring the outdoors mostly because it was the way my father and I got to spend time together. He taught me about the names of plants and trees. Together, we got our hands dirty in flower and vegetable gardens. These are some of my fondest memories. Those moments instilled in me a desire to be outside as often as possible. My creative process begins with walking the natural world around me and gathering specimens from which to create my prints. My hope is that in the creation and encasing of them into small frames and boxes, I am enabling others to invite a little specimen of the natural world into their homes.


My original blue botanical prints are called cyanotypes since they are made with a photosensitive chemical that turns blue, or cyan, upon development. As I walk wooded trails near my home with my dog, Tallie, I am amazed at the variety of plants that would be ideal for the creation of future cyanotypes. I love letting my thoughts wander as I walk.

Creating the prints is my favorite part. I often mix the chemicals and brush them onto paper a day or more before making the prints. I have better luck with more thoroughly dried chemistry. Then I get to select natural items I found while walking some of my favorite trails. On a sunny day, I’ll arrange the plants on the coated paper, with an eye towards composition and considering how each plant will render once and then expose the print to the sun. Experimenting with exposure times and spraying my subjects with water has been really fun lately.

You’ll find me at the Art Star Craft Bazaar on Mother’s Day weekend – May 12 and 13 – for my first Craft Bazaar! I’m delighted to be included in this year’s line-up. Stop by and say hello – you can’t miss me, everything is blue! You can also find me at various markets this Spring season, online at www.atwaterdesigns.com, on Instagram (I love Instagram!) @atwaterdesigns and on Facebook.

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Meet the Maker: Inés Chapela


My name is Inés Chapela and Inés Sí Studio is the production house for my designs; from silk scarves to greeting cards and calendars, all the products are born here, with the stroke of my pen, pencil or brush. Part affirmation and part nickname, the name Inés Sí evokes my childhood nickname, Inési, while also expressing a joyful “Sí!” (yes in Spanish) to the world. The playful rabbit in the Inés Sí logo is a nod to my love for the outdoors and my underlying desire to communicate through my art the sense of fulfillment that the natural world provides me. In a world that is quickly destroying natural spaces I truly believe that cultivating appreciation for nature is a powerful tool for conservation of these sacred spaces.

(My partner, Ben, built this beautiful tiny house in our backyard which I invaded and made into a studio!)


Mornings in the world of Inés Sí generally begin with a big mug of tea and a few deep stretches. I relish these moments of the day, when the world is waking up and things are still quiet, the baby ideas in my head are just beginning to germinate and set root.

(I am so inspired by the natural patterns that are formed in nature. I love animal tracks, leaf patterns, cracks in the ice.)


After breakfast, I’ll walk out to my studio in the field behind my house and make a list of the day’s tasks. If I’m in the early stages of design I will generally turn to reference images to find inspiration. I love looking at old botanical illustrations and I also keep a sketchbook full of ideas and photos ripped from old magazines. Inspiration comes in all forms however, and sometimes taking a walk or a good conversation with someone might be an equally important guiding step in my creative process.

(Traveling plays a huge role in inspiring me! Here I am soaking up the jungle in San Luis Potosí, Mexico)

Once I have decided on an idea for my design I get started with a series of rough sketches. I usually begin working with pencil or ink and I make fast drawings; just enough to get down an idea for composition and style.

If I’m working a block print, I’ll continue to hone the sketches until I’m satisfied with the layout and then I’ll transfer them on to a block to begin carving. I use a whole range of beautiful Pfeil carving tools made from pear wood to carve varying levels of detail into the linoleum. Once I’ve finished carving (and finished a few podcast series in the process) I pull test prints to see where more work is needed. I’ll go back and forth between test prints and carving until I achieve a print I really like. Then I’ll prep some acid-free paper and finish the final print!


You can find my work online at www.ineschapela.com or visit my page www.ineschapela.com/events to find out where I’ll be selling in person – come find me and say hi, I’d love to meet you! I’ll be at the Art Star Craft Bazaar on May 12th + 13 at Penn’s Landing Great Plaza. If you want to come along for the day to day creative process, you can follow me on Instagram @ines.si.studio or on Facebook @inessistudio.

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Meet the Maker: Erin Gardner of Grey Fox Felting

Hello, I’m Erin Gardner, the artist behind Grey Fox Felting. My decision to launch my business came after I had my first child. I wanted to build a creative career that would allow me to work from home. An artist all my life, I had earned my MFA in painting, and I had taught myself how to needle felt after stumbling upon some felting materials in a small art supply store in southern Vermont several years earlier. My fascination with this art form has continued to grow since then. I still work out of a home studio, where you’ll find me when I’m not building with blocks, running around outside, or reading to my two daughters.

For those who are curious or may be new to needle felting, this portable and meditative art form involves the use of a special barbed needle that is repeatedly poked into a bit of wool to lock the fibers together, forming felt. Concentrated pokes in any area of the wool result in it becoming smaller and denser, thereby allowing one to sculpt a three-dimensional form. Different colors and layers can be added to build up the form and create detail.

I love seeking out different animals to portray, and I often learn new facts about them in the process, be it scientific or symbolic. Each animal has a unique story. I also adorn some of my animals with floral and botanical imagery that is specific to either their geographic region or their cultural/symbolic significance. I have always admired arctic foxes, and it was while I was creating this one that I learned they are the only native land mammal in Iceland. I chose to adorn this fox with arctic poppies, a flower that is native to Iceland.

After researching so many materials and learning the different techniques that worked best for my own studio practice, I decided to begin offering the same wool and felting tools I use in my felting work, and I began to design my own line of felting kits. My line continues to grow, and you’ll be able to find my newest kit at the May Art Star Craft Bazaar! See if you can guess whooo it is…

I hope you’ll stop and say hello! You can also find Grey Fox Felting online:

greyfoxfelting.com
etsy.com/shop/greyfoxfelting
Instagram: @greyfoxfelting
Facebook: facebook.com/greyfoxfelting

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Upcoming Exhibition: “Petite Tales” by Horrible Adorables

We are thrilled to announce our 2nd solo show with the dynamic duo that is Jordan Perme & Christopher Lees of the Cleveland, Oh based company, Horrible Adorables.  The exhibition, titled “Petite Tales” will feature a brand new collection of colorful felt creatures that are inspired by folklore and fairytales. Fans of the popular faux taxidermy will delight in this new breed of enchanting story tellers!

The exhibition will be up from April 14th – June 10th. There will be an opening reception with the artists on April 14th from 6-8pm. Please email us at info@artstarphilly.com if you are interested in a digital collector’s preview of the work.

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Upcoming Exhibition with Ron Nicole

A Poor Girl’s Flower
February 10th – April 8th
at Art Star Gallery
Opening Reception: February 10th from 6-8pm
Email us at info@artstarphilly.com if you would like a copy
of the digital collector’s preview

Philadelphia based artist, Ron Nicole, will be exhibiting her line of plaster and cement wall art that she refers to as ‘flower fossils’. She creates intricate floral compositions by pressing flowers into clay leaving deep impressions. The flowers are then delicately removed and a plaster/cement mix is poured on top. Once the mix sets it is peeled back to reveal a fossil of the floral arrangement, much like a memory preserved in time. Typically the pieces are finished simply. The muted colors of the plaster (often tinted subtly in light grey, off-white, or black) imbue the piece with a shadow-like quality. In this latest body of work, Nicole will be experimenting with color as an expression of celebration.

In her own words: This collection is a study of flowers. Flowers mean so much to us. We give them in happiness and sadness. We offer them in celebration, to lift someone’s spirit, to wish them well, to say I’m sorry, or just because. My inspired floral fossil are more than creating something pretty. Flowers are beautiful on their own. Their preservation is my way of preserving a memory. As a child, I remember the first time I decided to pick up a pencil to see if I could draw the flower in front of me. To my surprise it was very easy for me and it turned out really well. As a 7 or 8 year old that blew my mind. Growing up in the projects within an urban environment didn’t offer many nature like adventures. Playing in a field of flowers would only happen in my day dreams. So I would draw them. Drawing flowers started me on a path that would eventually get me here. This is by far my favorite form of flower preservation. Not only do I get to stop time in it’s place, but I can captures all of it’s subtle details that I wasn’t able to convey in my drawings.

My first fossils started as a blank canvas to show my humbleness and gratitude towards nature and it’s natural beauty. This time around I decided to add color as a form of celebration. I’m so happy to be doing what I love and this type of feeling deserves the spot light. Adding color is my way of stepping out of my shell and being proud of what I do. Coloring my pieces represents my ability to not be afraid of success or happiness and the flowers are my dream coming true. This poor girl has found her flower.

About the Artist:
Ronni Nicole Robinson was born in Philadelphia in 1980. She studied graphic design at the University of Maryland and worked for a few years in corporate America before transitioning into the hospitality industry. It was while working at Morimoto in Philadelphia that she met her future husband, David. Before settling down the couple spent nearly three years doing seasonal resort work on the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard, as well as on the ski slopes of Park City, UT. Ronni currently resides in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood in center city Philadelphia with her husband and their two furry animal friends Powder and Liberty.

Learn more http://www.ronnicole.com/
Follow her on instagram for daily inspiration and beauty https://www.instagram.com/iamronnicole/

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Meet The Maker: Jennifer Manzella of JLManzella Prints

*Photo Credit: Ben Pelta-Heller

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I’m a local artist, printmaker and educator and I just moved back to Philadelphia after over a decade in Athens, Georgia where I received an MFA in printmaking from The University of Georgia. I love living in this city! I now live in South Philadelphia and I make prints at a studio called BYO Print, a print cooperative located in Sharktown studios in Old Kensington/Fishtown. As a member of BYO I have access to presses, etching mordants, screen-printing supplies and other print related equipment. The medium size Charles Brand etching/relief press is the piece of equipment I use the most in the studio.

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The process of printmaking informs my imagery. I work mainly in relief printing with woodblock and linoleum. Sometimes I use a color reduction process where I print all the colors from one block, carving each one away as I print, while other times I print a single image with multiple blocks. The process of relief printing is one of the oldest forms of making multiple images. For me, it usually starts with a sketch directly onto the block. The next step is carving the block where a lot of changes can happen to the imagery. The space around the image is carved so that what is printed is raised, therefore it is in “relief”. Rolling ink over the block with a brayer then inks that raised surface, which is printed by placing paper on top of the inked block and applying pressure. I use a press that allows an even amount of pressure to transfer the ink to the paper.

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When printing multiple blocks, I use transparent additives in my ink to create layered colors and gradients. It’s important to use some sort of registration technique to align each of the blocks on the paper, therefore, I use a registration jig to hold the paper in the same place each time I print a different block.

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I draw a lot of inspiration from traditional Japanese woodblock prints of the 17th and 19th century and I’m interesting in the intersection between urban and natural landscapes. My own photos are often the source material for the drawings and prints I make and sometimes I’ll combine elements from several different pictures to make something completely new.

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Rarely do I have a fully formed plan of how the prints are going to work out because in the process of printmaking there is quite a bit of unpredictability. I work with my mistakes and sometimes rework my blocks. Because I often work in layers it’s hard to know exactly how colors are going to print on top of each other. Pulling the print after carving, mixing colors and printing is the most exciting part.

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You can explore more of my print work on my website: www.jlmanzella.net or follow me on instagram @j.l.manzella. My prints will be on sale at the upcoming Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar this weekend at the Event Space at SugarHouse Casino.

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Meet the Maker: Nicolette Absil

portraitHi, my name is Nicolette. I’m a full time studio jeweler and enamelist whose studio is based in the Old Kensington area of Philadelphia, PA. I create jewelry that features hand drawn, nature inspired imagery on enamel. I show my work across the US at craft shows, galleries, and retailers, including Art Star!

flower pendants

From botanical gardens, to state parks, to the plant life peaking through the cracks in the cement in the city – I’m influenced by nature. Currently, I adore drawing flowers. I’m drawn to their gestural forms, their textures, and serene feelings flowers invoke. Most of my work starts with a drawing from life or photo I’ve taken.

sketch
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Each piece is hand drawn or painted on enamel. Enameling is a technique where I fuse powdered glass to copper in a kiln at temperatures close to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. After I draw the imagery, the enamel piece is fused again in the kiln. Each piece I work on usually goes through 5 or more firings from start to finish before becoming a finished piece! I then fabricate settings for the enamel work out of sterling silver, or sometimes gold, creating wearable artwork.

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I love that I am able to combine my illustrations with such a traditional, historical technique like enameling to create future heirloom quality jewelry. I like the idea that my work might someday be handed down through generations and live longer than I will. I’m excited to be showing at the Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar this month and I hope you’ll come check out my work in Booth 5!

http://nicoletteabsil.com/home.html
https://www.instagram.com/nicoletteabsil/
https://squareup.com/store/nicolette-absil-studios

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Meet The Maker: Rebecca + Danielle of Remark Glass

Hi! This is Rebecca and Danielle from Remark Glass. We use bottle glass to make hand blown dinnerware, barware, and home furnishings.

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Remark’s studio is located in the Bok building in South Philly. We’ve been working together alongside some close friends since 2015 to design and produce our recycled glass line of work.

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We started working with bottle glass because it is an untapped resource, a unique design opportunity, and a sustainable and energy efficient way to accomplish our glass blowing dreams. Now we collect bottles from neighbors, friends, and local businesses to give them a new life as beautiful and functional everyday wares.

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Our process is different than that of a typical glassblowing studio. First, we hand select what bottles we are transforming. They get de-labeled, cleaned, and often cut to a shorter height on a diamond saw depending on the final shape we are aiming to achieve. We pre-heat the glass in a kiln to make it malleable. Once it is “warm” (1050 degrees fahrenheit), we then pick up the bottle glass on the end of a steel rod or pipe to heat it further and transform it using traditional glassblowing techniques.

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This process is used to take one bottle at a time up to 2000 degrees to spin it, blow air into it, and shape it with tools to shift the glass into its final form.

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You can find our products online at remarkglass.com and at a lot of local events in Philadelphia. We’re excited to be joining Art Star at Sugarhouse in a couple weeks and look forward to meeting you there. Come find us in booth 23 and bring us some bottles if you’d like! In the meantime, follow us on Instagram @remarkglass and Facebook @remarkglass to see new designs fresh out of the oven and where you can find us for live demos and sales!

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