Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Featured Exhibitor: PartlyCloudy Collective

PartlyCloudy Collective was started by creators Sara Hammerstad and Jessica Newton, classmates from St. Cloud State who love making things by hand. Their creativity knows no bounds; they make home decor, practical goods, jewelry, and special holiday ornaments. Sara and Jessica's collaboration has produced the sweetest stocking stuffers, and their variety of handmade treasures will make everyone on your holiday shopping list happy!
Who are you and what do you do?

Jessica Newton and Sara Hammerstad make up the duo of PartlyCloudy Collective. We are two friends that are both graphic designers by day, but enjoy spending some time away from our computers and making something with our hands. In some shape or form, everything is handmade by the two of us at our kitchen table.

Will you be featuring any special holiday items?

Around the holidays we both create various holiday ornaments. Some are made from felt and vintage buttons while others are small pieces of wood burned by hand.

What do your customers love most about your products?

Everything we make is handmade with love, and we make items that we would want to purchase ourselves.

Have you always been passionate about art and design?

We both have been makers of sorts since our childhood. The two of us met in art school at St. Cloud State University and both work as graphic designers, so a lot of our lives are spent dedicated to creative pursuits. I don’t know what I would do without the many creative outlets in my life. I (Jessica) remember entering every coloring or poster contest I could as a kid including winning a safety poster contest for my mom’s work at a young age.

What do you love most about craft show vending?

We love meeting the customers and talking to them about our craft. It’s fun to see how people react and relate to our products and how different items strike a chord with each individual customer. Our conversations often help us see the products in a different light and often spark an idea of what to
make next.

How did you get started in your business?

PartlyCloudy started in the summer of 2014. We had always wanted to start our own craft business, so after a few afternoons spent crafting with friends, we met at a local diner to discuss the logistics of making it happen. Our free time is spent working with new materials and building our inventory.

Where did your business name come from?

The two of us met in college at St. Cloud State University. We shared a Fundamentals of Drawing class and quickly bonded over the in-class assignments and became fast friends. When we decided to start the business we knew we wanted the name to somehow reference our days at St. Cloud
State and PartlyCloudy Collective was born.
Check out more of PartlyCloudy's products online, and be sure to stop by their booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 3-5, 2017 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!
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Posted by Jonathan at 9:15 PM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS

CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Featured Exhibitor: Whatknots & Tangents

Stacy Bifulk is a second generation woodworker who creates custom keepsake boxes. Whatknots & Tangents became her full time business this fall, and the keepsake wine boxes for couples to open on their wedding anniversary have quickly become her favorite item to make. We think these boxes are the perfect special gift to mark any special occasion, from anniversaries to holidays. Stacy's work is not only beautiful, we love that she brings people together with her craft.
Is this a full-time business for you?

I just took the leap this fall. I’ve spent the past few years straddling two worlds – one as a marketer for a local medical device company and, well… this. I’ve always had a passion for art and this is my creative outlet. This fall I decided to pursue my dreams fulltime. I couldn’t be more excited about the journey… and learning curve… ahead of me as I work to build Whatknots and Tangents. And I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to participate in the Minneapolis Gift Expo.

What’s your favorite item that you sell?

I build anniversary wine boxes, which is a beautiful tradition I first witnessed at a dear friend’s wedding. Couples place a bottle of their favorite wine in the anniversary box along with two sealed letters. On their anniversary, they open the letters and enjoy them over the bottle of wine. Then, they repeat the tradition for the next year. These projects are often built custom for the couple, which gives me the chance to explore new designs and take on new challenges. I just love the idea and adore sharing it with folks.

How did you get started in your business?

My father is a longtime woodworker. I learned everything I know from him. When I first expressed interest, I would come to him with complex designs. I remember him laughing and suggesting we start with a box. My complex designs are now infused into the pieces I build today… and it gives me great pleasure to see him smile at my work.

How does the city you live in influence your work?

Stillwater has a strong community of artists. You never know who you’ll meet on Main Street or what conversation you’ll strike up. Different folks. Different mediums. Different perspectives. I find myself learning tricks, discovering resources… and enjoying the camaraderie from others that are following their passion. I consider myself quite lucky to call Stillwater home.

What are some other inspirations for your work?

People. Although I am a textbook introvert, I often get my best ideas while in conversation with others. I can overthink things… just ask my friends and family. And I’m a recovering perfectionist. So my friends and family ground me and help me get out of my own head. They’re an essential component to my creative process and I’m forever grateful to have each one of them in my life.
Check out more of Stacy's work online, and be sure to stop by her booth at the Minneapolis Gift & Art Expo, November 3-5, 2017 at the Minneapolis Convention Center!
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Posted by Jonathan at 8:17 PM  ⁙  0 COMMENTS

CATEGORY:  Featured Exhibitors