Friday, April 4, 2014

Meet Your Makers: Nicole Bloch of Erra Creations

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your handmade business: 
Howdy! Nicole here! I am the owner and only creator for Erra Creations. I grew up in an artistic family that also owned a local supply shop- but spent all my school years training as a classical flutist. After being a grown up in an office job for a few years, I subconsciously knew I had to get back to my roots. I started playing around with broken bits and bobbles of my great-grandmothers old stash. Over the past few years, Erra has transformed into so much more fun. I work with lots of reclaimed materials and am now known for my work with bicycle parts. The part I love is the never ending evolution of my art- and making and being able to share the newest and most fun things with others, while staying green and earth happy!

How did you come up with your business name?  Long story short... I was having a post-work brew with a dear friend. We were discussing the need for a new something for me to do. He suggested  I open a vintage boutique. Granted that would have been awesome(!), but I knew I needed to have more creative input somehow. I chatted about how I had been tinkering with great-gram's old stash and POOF, Erra was born - elegant. reclaimed. reminiscent. avant-garde.

Where do you live?  In the
South Hills area of Pittsburgh, PA

Who’s in your family?  My house consists of my better half Pete and our 2 kids: Haleigh (14 yo-border collie) and Nicco, who we just rescued from Arkansas (1.5 yo- shepherd mix). Oh, and we have a family of dust bunnies, too.

 If you could sit down and talk to any person, living or dead, who would it be and why? 
I would LOVE to talk with my Grammie. She is my hero and Mother since she raised me, passed just before I graduated high school. First off, she was the kindest, most thoughtful, purposeful living person I have ever experienced. She did everything with grace and respect. She was a master decoupage artist, teacher (art and English) and a crazy good business woman. And a darn good cook- I need to ask her for a few recipes that we can't find :)

What inspires you?  In the past, I have responded to this question by saying something like "everything in the world around me inspires me". While this is true, I am learning that I am inspired by something being out of place or a void of something. Like right now typing this I got distracted while eating a pickled egg...wondering how I can re-create the funny texture from the bite side into resin. (you asked!)

What is your favorite item you make for Boutique 208 and why?  That's a hard one! Let's say my vintage sheet music cuff links and earrings because they have connected me to some fabulous people in the music world of Pittsburgh, I am a classical flutist, Boutique 208 is in the heart of the cultural district of Pittsburgh - across from Heinz Hall, and I think they're awesome!

What is your favorite item at Boutique 208 that’s not one of your own and why?  Greeting cards by John the Craftist. Why? Because they are simply the snarkiest cards and Pittsburgh themed= WIN!

What advice can you offer to someone who would like to start selling their handmade creations?  Continually review WHY you are selling your art and make sure you are ok with your answer! It's very easy to burn out and/or let your heart get beat on when your art is on the line. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Meet Your Makers: Kirsten Lowe-Rebel of K.LoRebel Art

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your handmade business:
K.LoRebel Art is the hand drawn art and illustrations of Kirsten Lowe-Rebel.  Recently, I've 
started turning my work into a line of wearable art jewelry, stationery and a Home-Bar-Art idea for customizable bottle drawings.  
How did you come up with your business name? It's kind of my name, like J-Lo but (Kirsten) Lowe-Rebel ; )

Where do you live? 
A Pittsburgh native, I have lived in various parts of the city.  I was raised in the Shaler/North Hills area and I now live in lovely Lawrenceville, PGH Pa.

Who’s in your family? 
My Grandparents are a huge part of my family. They both help me very much with my business. My sister lives close by in Bloomfield, I love her and want to always live close to her. My household consists of my boyfriend/partner and I, we both are living pretty creative lifestyles at the moment, as he is a composer, and we hope to someday be cat parents to one or a million cats.


If you could sit down and talk to any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I would actually much rather talk to someone from the future, if that could be an option? As in, anyone with future insight!

What inspires you?  Skilled professionals, basic and simple ideas, fashion, graphic texts and architecture, the hand drawn, food, booze and brand loyalty and enthusiasm.  I am also inspired by great color combinations... even though, I've recently taking a liking to the black and white color pallet.

What is your favorite item you make for Boutique 208 and why?
Art Print Money Clips! I think it's the perfect treat for the downtown professional. Why not add a little fun flair (and Pittsburgh pride) to your daily routine. They make great gifts for the gentlemen in our lives and I've been told that they are "lucky" as in hot at the casino! (***I am not promoting gambling here) However, they are definitely lucky money clips.


What is your favorite item at Boutique 208 that’s not one of your own and why?
I love the crocheted work of Alicia Kachmar. I think she is a very inspiring young lady and I have had the pleasure of meeting her during the crossings of her life here in PGH. Her stuffed plush cheery critters are totally up my alley, they are fun and cute but my favorite thing about them is the shorty stories that comes along with them. I am a proud owner of one of the BIGgest, Phattest @eternalsunshine (her biz name) perogies I've seen her make : )

What advice can you offer to someone who would like to start selling their handmade creations? 
I feel so new to the idea myself, it would feel ill fitting to supply sound advise.  I guess right now I would say: you'll never know unless you try... Do what feels right and keep learning new skills even if you're not sure how they will apply, because they will. It will ALL start to make sense! Oh, and also: allow yourself the time, because great things can happen when you stop procrastinating. 

Thank you so much for giving me the time to answer a few questions! Cheers!!! Shop at Boutique 208, Great community and representation of the Pittsburgh Indie Craft/Art scene! I am happy to be a part of it and the great location of what is now a really transforming downtown Pittsburgh ; )