If it’s Monday, it must be time to introduce you to another great new Try Handmade columnist. Today’s wonderful addition is Tara Gentile of Handmade In PA.net fame. Every week she’ll be bringing you Shop Local — the best in handmade from local scenes all around the world.
Do you know of a location ripe for the picking? Does a particular city or district spring to mind when you think ‘handmade?’ If so, leave a tip for Tara in the comments and maybe your town will be next!
Before I go exploring the globe for unique handmade finds where you live, I thought I’d share some finds from my own backyard.
Kutztown, Pennsylvania, USA – about 90 minutes northeast of Philadelphia – is the home of Kutztown University, a vibrant Pennsylvania Dutch community, and now the Z-town Made indie craft collective. The ladies of Z-town Made all went to Kutztown University to pursue various endeavors and then spread out into “the big city.” But Kutztown called them back, allowing them to focus on their craft without the distraction of city life, mainstream design, or intense competition.
In addition to the beautiful work below, Z-town Made includes two other crafters: Mary Oswald of Collier Leeds and Jen Lindsay of Clothesline Designs. Mary creates high-end, hand-crafted leather & brass collars for (wo)man’s best friend. Jen focuses on designing for babies & toddlers with tummy-time mats, appliqued onesies, and giraffe softees in beautiful fabrics.
Z-town Made meets weekly to support each others’ businesses, learn new skills, and plan events.
Kutztown is sure to keep cranking out great crafters – the university has a BFA degree with an emphasis in crafts.
Clockwise – starting in upper left:
Peacock Feature Necklace – handcut sterling silver – by Karen Stanford of Skylark Studio
Stoplight Placemat Set in Curry, Charcoal, and Cloud – hand-screened on linen – by Sara Smedley
L. O. V. E. Letters – pink embroidery on gold metallic fabric – by Kimberly Scola of chezsucrechez
Hawk Mother Wooden Postcard – original illustration printed on maple veneer – by Melanie Linder of Spread the Love