Meet the Maker: Rachael Compton of by ren

Hi, my name is Rachael. I love jewelry, dancing, and my dog (not in that order). I started by ren two years ago with absolutely no knowledge of how to make jewelry or what the jewelry industry is all about. This may sound oversimplified and unhelpful, but I started my jewelry brand because one day I simply made the decision. In the beginning there were no long nights considering the risks and rewards, no thought-consumed days wondering about the business side of creativity. All of that came later. In the beginning all I thought was, “I love jewelry. How do you make it? How can I learn?” The University of Google along with trial and error taught me everything I know.

I have always loved jewelry and the power that it can hold. Throw on a necklace and get a boost of confidence. Slip on a statement pair of earrings and feel like you can take on the world. We wear it because we love how it makes us feel. Whether it’s an heirloom piece that has been passed down for generations or a quirky flea market find, jewelry is truly a wearable time capsule capable of storing memories and influencing our mood.

Before I started metalsmithing I never considered myself to be very creative. I thought art was for “artists”. Art is for everyone who is willing to give it a try. When I first turned on my torch, I was terrified, but once the initial nervousness passed it all became fun. My creativity started to appear in the metal I was hammering, sawing, and soldering. I work fulltime in a spare bedroom in my apartment here in Philadelphia. It is littered with tools and metals, but it’s functional and inspiring. My weekends are generally filled with pop-up markets and festivals, but during the weekdays you can find me hunched over my bench with a fist full of silver. I design intuitively and all at once. My pieces never turn out like their sketches anyway, so I save myself the time and just go for it. I often end up with a piece that looks nothing like I imagined in all the best ways. It keeps designing exciting and challenging, and that’s how I like it.

I love that this small business I’ve created has connected me with so many other hardworking, creative people, Erin and Megan being two of them. Their work ethic is inspiring, and they have built something that’s not only impressive, but also works to uplift fellow artists. Art Star Craft Bazaar is one of my favorite markets of the year. I used to go with my mom before I even started making jewelry, so to be able to come back another year is so exciting. You can find me there at booth #61! Come say hi. I’d love to meet you!
Photos by @joymasi

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Meet the Maker: Sarah Evans of Spiderbite Boutique

Hello there! I am Sarah Evans and I make monsters for a living! Spiderbite Boutique is the name of my creative endeavour, and has been my labor of love and fuzz for 14 years now.

My journey as a maker began while I was still an illustration undergrad at RISD in 2005. That was when I came up with the Nightmare Snatchers, monster journals that eat up whatever nightmare or fear is written on their pages. As the years have gone by, I have branched out into several other toy lines but my goal has always been to design toys that had a use. I don’t want them to be just fluffy whimsical things, but fluffy whimsical things with a purpose! Everything I make is creepy yet cute, fanciful yet functional, and is, in my own small way, how I try to add a little magic, with a dose of practicality, back into the world.

One of my most popular monsters are the Nervous Nellies who help you overcome your nerves, by helping them with theirs.

I am excited to debut my newest toy, the ‘Wishfuls’ at this Spring’s Art Star Bazaar. Whatever wish you place in their pocket, these little stars will hope and dream for right along with you. As you can see here, I’m wishing for a good and sunny day for the show!

Meaning and story-telling are an important part of my creative process. Even when something I make is just a silly little monster doodle, there is a story behind the image. I often collaborate with my resident wordsmith and father, Thomas Evans, who wrote all of the spells and poems that give life to my toys. Currently we are also working on several children’s books together, and some of the creatures in my magnets and stickers are characters from those stories.

All of my creations are handmade, designed, and illustrated in my studio space in Hockessin, DE. Having different spaces to make all of my different creations is paramount. I have a space for sewing and toy design, as well as a space for painting and illustrating. This way I can keep the multicolored faux fur tumble weeds away from my paintings.

I can’t wait for the Spring Art Star Bazaar, one of my favorite shows of the year. Come find me under the giant monster at booth #62 and follow my instagram @spiderbiteboutique to see what else I’ll be debuting at the show!

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Meet The Maker: Melissa Koenig Ceramics

I signed up for my very first ceramics class a month before my 31st birthday. I certainly was not thinking of it as a potential career; just a creative outlet for my somewhat boring professional life.

After the first class, I signed up for another, and then another, and then had what can only be described as a lightbulb moment. I found myself spending all of my free time at The Clay Studio, which had become my happy place, and all of my mental energy on fabrication and inspiration. Suddenly, that switch flipped and I thought, ‘Well, some people do this as a job, right? Why can’t I do it as a job too?’

That is precisely how Melissa Koenig Ceramics was born. (Well technically, and especially to the IRS, it was officially born many months later, but the seed was certainly planted!) I was lucky to have supremely supportive friends and family who lent their talents and encouragement, and now that epiphany is almost a year in the rearview.

As a still-very-new entrepreneur, everything is so exciting. (Scary, but exciting!) I’m hustling, and it’s hard work, but I’m finding my groove and my niche, and am thrilled about the future.


I am delighted to be participating in the upcoming Spring Art Star Craft Bazaar, and still can’t believe I’m vending and not just shopping! If you want to see a sneak peak of what I’ll be bringing, check out my Instagram, and please stop by and say hi!

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Art Star at The Bourse

Exciting news! We have opened up a 2nd space at The Bourse! If you work or live near center city, this will be a convenient place to stop for all your  handmade Art Star goodies.

Our shop is a 17ft x 12ft space just to the right of Menagerie Coffee when you enter at 5th and Market. Much like our Northern Liberties shop, we’ll be selling a diverse collection of handmade goods by local and national artists.

Shop Hours: Thursday – Saturday 11-8pm and Sunday 11-6pm

If you haven’t been to the newly renovated Bourse – it is beautiful and filled with new, yummy food vendors like Chaat and Chai, FreeByrd Chicken, Grubhouse, LaLo, Mighty Melt, Rebel Taco, and more! Plus, Bluebird Distillery which makes amazing cocktails. There is also Penzy Spices right on the corner and a bunch more.

Founded in 1891 by George Bartol, The Bourse was the first in the world to house a stock exchange, maritime exchange, and grain-trading exchange simultaneously. Today, the historic space has been repurposed into an internationally inspired food hall with deep local roots.

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2019 Fall Calendar of Events

Art Star Pop Up Market at Spruce Street Harbor Park
Every Weekend, May 11th + 12th, 1-6pm
From May 18th – September 29th
A new mix of 12-20 craft vendors each day!

North Front Street Festival
Sunday, September 15th, 10-5pm
under the El at Front and Cecil B Moore in Fishtown
in partnership with Farm To City, Fishtown Co., International Bar, Evil Genius Brewing Co
40 Curated Craft Vendors, Farm To City Farmer’s Market, Booze, Beer, Food, and Live Music

Art Star Pop Up Market at Midtown Village Fall Festival
October 5th, 12-8pm
30 Curated Craft Vendors within this huge Center City Festival

Art Star Pop Up Market at Cherry Street Pier
Sunday, October 27th, 11am-5pm
30+ Curated Craft Vendors, Food Vendors, City Planter

Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar
November 23rd + 24th, 11-5pm
at the Event Center at Sugarhouse Casino
75 Curated Craft Vendors, Make + Takes, Food, and Bars

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Janell Wysock Joins Art Star

Exciting news! Janell Wysock Textiles will be moving into our gallery on March 1st! Our shop will remain in the front portion and Janell will be taking over the back space.

Though we loved hosting regular exhibitions in our gallery, we were never able to give them the full attention that they deserved. We have decided to focus fully on our Shop, Bazaars, and Pop Ups. We will continue to carry original art in our shop though, so check in often.

Janell will be displaying and selling her gorgeous line of woven garments and home goods in this space. She will also be hosting regular textile based classes and workshops. We plan to schedule our own regular craft workshops as well, so stay tuned.

We think that this partnership will be greatly beneficial to both our businesses and the craft loving community that we both serve. We are looking forward to what 2019 will bring!

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Meet the Maker: Damian and Jenn Liddiard of Treeline & Tide

We’re Damian and Jenn Liddiard, the creative minds and hands behind Treeline & Tide. With a background in architecture (Damian) and graphic design (Jenn), we are a husband-and-wife team creating everyday goods that are both innovative and timeless. Beginning with Jenn’s hand-drawn designs and using sustainably-forested wood, our process fuses traditional craft techniques with technology.

We’ve been designing together since we first met, but it wasn’t until 2012 when Jenn began making jewelry part-time at a fabrication lab, that our creative partnership started growing into a business. It was a gradual process; Jenn left her job in order to spend time with our young kids and commit to her creative passion full-heartedly. Within a few years’ time, Damian was able to leave his job as well. Today, Treeline & Tide is a natural extension of how we’ve always lived; working and creating together in our home studio.

We’re designers first, so we immerse ourselves in a product’s every little detail. We create each item envisioning it as a gift in everyday life – whether it’s for an anniversary, a thank you for groomsmen or bridesmaids, or simply something special for you. To continue the cycle of giving, we partner with One Tree Planted to support reforestation – one tree is planted for every product sold.

You can find our work in over 70 stores nationwide, on our website, and at the upcoming Art Star Craft Bazaar for the first time! Follow us on Instagram @treelineandtide to see everything we’re up to.

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Meet the Maker: Emily Uchytil

Hi! My name is Emily Uchytil. I am an oil painter based out of Baltimore, Maryland. I create paintings on vintage wallpaper that are inspired by my interest in ecology, entomology, and patterns.

I studied painting, illustration, and art history at the Hartford Art School in Hartford, CT and graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Shortly after, I moved to Baltimore to live and work in an artist collective space called The Whole Gallery. It was there that I met my partner, Michel Anderson, a fellow artist and photographer. We both have spent a good amount of time traveling and living abroad but we found ourselves continually drawn to the creative scene in Baltimore. We took this as a sign and decided to set roots here.

In 2012, I came across a substantial supply of vintage wallpaper in an old dancehall in Thomas, West Virginia that quickly became my new canvas. My goal is to remove natural subjects from their native habitats and place them into an inherently human space; positioned as if they are posing for a portrait session in front of decorative, man-made wallpaper. My hope is to inspire people to celebrate the beautiful life forms around us and their significant role in our lives. You can check more of my work at or on instgram, @emuchytil.

Over the years I maintained a strong studio practice while making a living with alternative sources of income (bar tending, serving, teaching). Ten years after graduating from college I took the leap into painting full time. I feel lucky to have the support of a solid network of friends who are also creating art full time which has given me the confidence to take on the business and marketing side of art as well, which to my surprise, i quite like! My studio is located at the Hooper Mill building in Historic Woodberry, located right near an entrance to Druid Hill park.

I look forward to vending at Art Star’s 2018 Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar. I’ll be at booth #56. Come say hi!

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Meet the Maker: Jessee Maloney of Art School Dropout

Hello! My name is Jessee and I am the sole owner and operator of Art School Dropout. I have been in this position for 16 years now with a few interruptions here and there. I have an issue sticking to just one kind of product or technique, but no matter what the style is the same. I just really enjoy learning and am constantly adding new skills to my arsenal. You name the art or craft and I have probably tried it.

I took a break from my shop for a few years to work as a professional quilter for major fabric companies and as a online educator for sewing machine and craft gadget companies. It was a lot of fun for awhile, but it never felt like I was doing what i really loved.

During that time I also joined a makerspace and was taught how to use a laser cutter, 3D printers, and many other pieces of equipment. I realized I was a full on maker, not just a crafter or a quilter or whatever other label i was given. It became my new favorite thing to do and it slowly pushed me back to my original path which was making brightly colored jewelry and accessories.

So here I am now, making jewelry almost non stop as well as a few sewn items here and there. I have since bought my own laser cutter and am constantly amazed at what it can do. I am beyond excited to be a vendor at the Holiday Art Star Bazaar. It’s been many years since I have done any Art Star shows and I’ve always enjoyed them.

Visit Art School Dropout’s website to purchase her goods and follow her on Instagram

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Meet the Maker: Ali Doucette of Black Ridge

Hi! My name is Ali Doucette, I am a graphic designer by day and crafter by night, who just this past year started turning my side-hustle dreams into reality.

My career path has led me from large agencies to small branding studios, and though I love what I do, the longing for a different type of craft persisted. To fulfill this need, I decided to step away from the computer in my free time and began trying out some new hands-on arts. After a little trial and error, I found just the right fit through a mix of macramé and traditional dip pen and ink illustration, which I now sell under the name Black Ridge.

At Black Ridge, we design and create handmade home decor, with locally sourced materials and an unwavering respect for quality craft. Our products range from macramé wall art and hanging terrariums to a variety of pen and ink floral prints, bags, and more. Along with our dedication to thoughtful product creation, we also aim to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Every month, a portion of our proceeds go to charity: water to help bring clean water to those without.

The natural wood used in our macramé wall hangings is typically sourced from the Wissahickon Valley (which can cause a lot of funny looks as I’m walking around with a backpack full of sticks!) After gathering, getting the wood ready to use is a big part of the process. First, I do a thorough washing in a mix of bleach and soap, and then I let the wood soak overnight in a similar solution.

After letting it dry the next day, I sand and seal each branch with a matte acrylic sealant. Sometimes I’ll use wooden dowels that have been stained and sealed in a similar process for a different look. I then match each branch or dowel with a size of string and color, and with all of the materials in place I move on to the next phase. Many times I will sketch out the pattern prior to beginning a project, but more and more I just feel it out as I go and see where I end up! At the end of working a new pattern, I’ll give it a name—right now I’m using constellation and star names, or landmarks that have a personal connection to where the piece was created.

Our wildflower drawings are pencil sketched by hand and then inked with the traditional dip pen method. The originals are then scanned at a high resolution and printed on drawing paper.

Our reusable tote bags were printed by Awesome Dudes Printing, a local print shop here in Philadelphia.

My fiance and I just recently started doing festivals through Black Ridge, and I’m already obsessed. We’ve met so many amazing artists and have had a lot of fun, I can’t wait to experience the festivals in Holiday season and see where the next year takes us! When I’m not working, you can find me hiking and brewery hopping, or at home cooking, crafting, and Netflix binging. Originally from Downingtown, Pa., I have spent the last 10 years living within walking distance of the Wissahickon in Philadelphia, Pa.

Find Black Ridge on Instagram. Purchase her items at our upcoming Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar or on her Website.

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