Flock Together: Team Up with HA Artists to Save Birds

Here’s another great way to love our town: love our wildlife! This year at Handmade Arcade (HA), local artists are teaming up on behalf of birds, and they’re making it fun and easy for you to join their life-saving effort.

Birds are beautiful … and vulnerable. In the US alone, up to 1 billion birds annually meet their demise after colliding with windows. Local artist and HA vendor Ashley Cecil, inspired by the bird conservation efforts of Powdermill Avian Research Center and BirdSafe Pittsburgh, hatched a plan. She set out to unite local artists to help Pittsburghers join the bird-saving effort. Their creations will debut at Handmade Arcade to raise funds and awareness for birds.

If you love birds, check out these special items:

• Infinity Scarf ($99) and 2’x4’ Coloring Poster ($22) by Ashley Cecil

Ashley’s work features illustrations of six bird species most susceptible to window collision fatalities. Wrap yourself in the delicate beauty of the Monongahela Warbler and other feathered friends, or bring home a coloring poster featuring the same flock.

• 6”x6” Tin Collage ($45) by Kim Fox of Workerbird
Kim compares her tin constructions to contemporary quilting. Her unique bird collage combines the rustic textures of aged wood and the rich patina of old tins.

• Stud Earrings ($40) and Bird Ornament ($155) by Gillian Preston of Broken Plates
Gillian created these delicate pieces in a hot glass studio, where she added layers of bold colors to molten glass and cut out striking shapes before polishing them into their final forms.

• Tea towel ($29) by Kirsten Lowe-Rebel of KLoRebel
Meet Randy, the Yellowthroat warbler and real-life inspiration behind Kirsten’s tea towel. Randy hangs around her studio, she says, but he’d like to be “out in the world serving some serious dirty martinis.”

• 16”x22” Silkscreen Print ($30) by Allison Glancey of strawberryluna
Allison loves birds and strives to produce clean, bright, happy, and modern pieces of art that are affordable to all. We think her silkscreen flock fits the bill.

Like what you see? See these items make their debut at the vendor booths. Limited sets of all seven products can be purchased at the discounted price of $395 at http://www.ashleycecil.com/shop and picked up at Handmade Arcade.

Handmade Arcade shoppers will also have an opportunity to speak with local ornithologists in person, and learn about ways to volunteer and help save birds—all while coloring a mural of birds most vulnerable to window collisions.

And don’t forget to check out the HA raffles for a special customized basket with just bird-safe items!

Ready to shop and help our feathered friends? We’ll see you at Handmade Arcade!


No, YOU’RE an Artist! 5 Fun Reasons to Explore Hands-on Handmade

New ideas. Original designs. Friendly chatter between craftspeople and craft enthusiasts. An inclusive, engaging environment. Each year, Handmade Arcade sparks a surge of creative energy, and you’re invited to get swept up in it!

So be sure to head over to Hands-On Handmade, a thoughtfully curated activity area adjacent to the Handmade Arcade vendor marketplace. That’s where local artists, art collectives, and nonprofits will lead engaging activities, demos, tutorials, games, and more. And it’s all free for all ages.

Hands-on Handmade 2016 is sponsored by The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh located at 1635 McFarland Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15216.

Here are 5 reasons why you’ll love it:

1.  You’ll learn something new.

Hands-on Handmade 2015. Image by Joey Kennedy.

Hands-on Handmade 2015

Experts and artists will share tips, tricks, and inside information! Join a brush lettering workshop with Katie Harbison from Gardner Ann’s to learn how to create beautiful lettering and magnificent mail (11am-3pm).

Or, grab a crayon and sit down with conservationists who are making Pittsburgh safer for birds. Scientists from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and BirdSafe Pittsburgh will teach you how to save our feathered friends while you color a mural created by local artist and Handmade Arcade vendor Ashley Cecil (11 a.m. – 7 p.m.).

All the while, TechShop will demo 3D printing, robotic cars, laser wood cutting and more (11 a.m. – 7 p.m.).

2. You’ll connect with other creatives. 

Bring your creativity, curiosity, and imagination and bask in inspiration!

Make eco-conscious friends while Melissa Mason shows you how to turn trash into treasures with flowers made from plastic shopping and newspaper bags (3-7 p.m.).

Collaborate on a public mural as we celebrate our city. The Ellis School will host “Profiles of Pittsburgh” so you can create your own vinyl cut-outs to take home and contribute to a community-based mural (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.).

Hands-on Handmade 2015

Hands-on Handmade 2015

3. You can share and be part of something special.

Visit Urban Pathways Charter School for postcard making. Some of the day’s cards will  be sent to U.S. soldiers serving abroad during the holiday season. (3 -7 p.m.)

Or, be part of 1,000 Birds with the Union Project. This is a special endeavor in which hundreds of people in after-school programs, nursing homes, outreach events, and community centers have come together to create a flock of 1,000+ unique clay birds. Each participant is encouraged to include a message of hope for their community. It’s a wonderful way to create and pass messages of hope between neighbors (11 a.m. – 7 p.m.).

4. You might surprise yourself.

Hands-on Handmade 2015

Hands-on Handmade 2015

Maybe you’ve never thought of yourself as an artist before. Or maybe you have—but you’re ready to discover a brand new medium. Whatever your level of experience, you’ll find the supplies and inspiration you need to connect with your inner artist.

Hatch Art Studio will show you how to create a miniature world inside a very tiny tin. They’ll have fabric, feathers, tiny trees, buttons, stamps, and more to create snowy scenes, glittering cities, miniature towns, or whatever you imagine. See what wild world you can dream up (3 – 7 p.m.)!

You can even be a fashion designer for a day with Spool. Owners of the Allentown-based shop will show you how to make fabric-covered pins, hair accessories, and eye-popping wearables. You’ll  strut away in style (3 – 7 p.m.).

5. It FREE for all ages. 

Did we mention that Hands-on Handmade is FREE? Even the fun creations you get to take home! You’ll get to treat yourself to something fun, while discovering local businesses, arts organizations and artists to support.

Handmade Arcade is excited to announce that Hands-on Handmade 2016 is sponsored by The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh located at 1635 McFarland Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15216.


Made with Love: Family-Friendly Crafts at Handmade Arcade

Let’s get family-friendly! At Handmade Arcade, that means exploring crafts that are fun, functional for all ages, and help leave our planet in better shape for our children and future generations. Check out some of the one-of-a-kind goods you can grab for the entire family this year (including our four-legged kin). Don’t forget about hip baby shower and birthday gifts, too!

oliveboBrowsing olive+bo ain’t no stroll through Babies R Us. (No offense, Babies R Us.) If you have your own definition of “cute,” and it includes skulls and storm clouds, stop and see this Philadelphia-based crafter.

olive+bo is bringing minimalist and gender-neutral handmade quilts and accessories for the modern baby, child, and parent.

We’re charmed by the cloud mobile, which dangles whimsical white, gray, or black clouds over a baby’s crib or in a kid’s room. Add a coordinating cloud pillow or lend some color with a huggable stuffed rainbow. The smiling skull quilt is perfect for a badass little kid’s room, but no one’s judging if you decide to keep it for yourself, mom and dad.

lumpkinOkay, while we’re talking about cute, Lumpkin from Lancaster, PA is pretty easy to fawn over.

All Lumpkin merchandise is created using upcycled, vintage, or sustainable resources. They craft heirloom-quality treasures that are safe for children (who will one day inherit the planet).

And are they ever cute! We love the plush toys featuring friendly-faced creatures and, get this – snuggly, huggable little fruits and veggies! They’re perfect for playtime and look adorable on display in a kidlet’s room.

ottofinnDesign-conscious moms and dads shop Otto Fin. Creators Ross and Rona value art, design, and functionality, and it shows. Their napkins, tea towels, tote bags, and fashionably functional children’s accessories embody a clean, modern, and natural aesthetic.

Don’t miss the bandana baby bibs, with patterns starring swans, night skies, foxes, and pretzels. No kids? No problem. We think your dog would look dashing in the canine bandanas, designed to slip through a dog collar.

One more reason to love them: This Pittsburgh-based pair is conscious of their environmental impact and makes every effort to consider the planet in their fabrics, water-based inks, and packaging.

sasisafiLaura from SafiSani of Pittsburgh makes unique bags for the preschool set. She’s bringing one-of-a-kind backpacks, small bags, and other accessories specially made for 2 to 5 year olds.

As she says, “Every kiddo needs a place to carry their treasures.” Her perfectly pint-sized backpacks feature whimsical prints and plenty of space for toys and snacks. Or, check out the zipper bags, ideal for a 3-year-old’s special collection of rocks, shells, or plastic animals. They’re made to be durable enough for airplane rides and car trips, and can be washed again and again.

SafiSani bags will make sure your kiddo is hip and organized. Be sure to rock a fun pattern — like the retro monster print or happy little houses.

Whether you’re single, hitched, or have kids of the two- or four-legged variety, your family can get squeaky clean with Pip & Lola’s. They’ll be at Handmade Arcade with amazingly emollient soaps.

Sami the Soap Goddess says that most bath and beauty bars are detergent-based and strip your skin of its natural oils, leaving it dull, dry and itchy. After suffering from psoriasis, she formulated these cleansers to be super-fatted with skin nourishing oils that are eco- and family friendly. They’re also vegan or vegetarian.

Wake up with their chamomile/peppermint tea soap and party down with the porter (beer) shampoo bar. Scub your little sweetie with the honeyed oats bar. With the Dirty Dog bar, you can even shampoo your pooch!

Are you as excited as we are? Check out the complete list of Handmade Arcade 2016 vendors here.

Home Sweet Home: Shop Home Décor at Handmade Arcade 2016

Whether your home is contemporary, cozy, or eclectic, you’ll find plenty of home décor items to love at Handmade Arcade. Here are a few vendors who can help you make your home uniquely “you!”

klugoworldVisit Klugworld to visit a colorful world where dogs drive, cats play the drums, and all pets go to Heaven. Dave Klug (you’ve seen his murals at The Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, PPG Paints Arena, and Primanti Brothers Restaurants) will be bringing silkscreens, woodcuts, and even pet bowls to add lovable, pet-themed whimsy to your home.


studioglasscoPittsburgh-based Studio Glass Company is new to Handmade Arcade. Daniel Buchanan makes art glass tableware, lighting, and architectural installations. Vivid colors meet bold shapes in his functional contemporary art pieces. Gaze into a koi pond platter, bask in the warm glow of a glass table lamp, or hang a scene from Pittsburgh’s past on your wall.


Veteran Handmade Arcade commonrebelsshoppers will remember My Favorite Mirror and their pocket mirrors made from kids’ books and magazines. Now they’ve got an expanded repertoire and a new name — Common Rebels. These “purveyors of awesome” offer nightlights, mouse pads, coasters, and other goodies so you can surround yourself with cute stuff. Their funny, cheeky designs feature tacos, rainbow sloths, animals in business wear, hedgehogs, and a whole lot more.

simonsgranddaugtherVal Snyder of Simon’s Granddaughter scours antique stores across the country and brings the best treasures back to Pittsburgh. Here, she turns bone china, porcelain, pressed glass, teacups, and candlesticks into one-of-a-kind pieces. We love her elegantly eccentric three-tiered stands, which are perfect for displaying your jewelry or serving high tea. Check out her inspirational Pittsburgh wall plates—a great gift for any sweet, sarcastic yinzer.

hannahgraceclackIn a hilltop studio along the Monongahela River, Hannah Grace Clark paints tranquil scenes starring bears, narwhals, gentle giants, and sleepy seaside towns. Her oil paintings are rich with dreamy detail and tell the story of weird and wondrous creatures in a fantasy world. We think her artwork is a lovely way to invite a little imagination into your home!


Excited yet? That’s not all. From jewelry to bath and body products, there’s lots more to see at Handmade Arcade 2016. View the complete list of vendors here.

Brand Spankin’ New (To You!): First-Time Vendors at Handmade Arcade 2016

When you’re a veteran Handmade Arcade shopper, it’s hard to decide what’s more exciting: returning to your favorite vendors year after year, or discovering new favorites!

Get ready to explore lots of never-before-seen goods this year, as HA welcomes more than 40 first-time vendors with one-of-a-kind wares. We’ll tempt you with just a few of them now …

Jewelry: Frost Finery
frostHigh-tech meets handmade to produce this sleek, modern and sometimes adorable jewelry. Frost Finery jewelry studio in Pittsburgh is the creation of owner and self-described shine-maker Melissa Frost. She combines old and new techniques (metal laser cutting, 3-D design and traditional metal-smithing) with metal, gems, and even plants and wood. We love her chunky quartz crystals on a delicate sterling chain, laser-cut leather wrist cuffs, and tiny coffee cups to adorn a caffeine-lover’s ears. Look for edgy statement pieces like hammered metal-chain-link necklaces, alongside sweet surprises like a kitten you can wrap around your finger.

Housewares: Rustbelt Workshop
rustbeltSimple meets wild at Pittsburgh-based Rustbelt Workshop. Browse living artwork made from plants, wood and glass. Succulents take center stage in wood and stone planters, while moss makes a home in lightbulbs and antique glass globes. You’ll find elegantly rustic terrariums and hanging art made from driftwood, ferns, reclaimed wood and more.


Bath & Body: Lovett Sundries
lovettNo colors. No fragrances. No chemicals. No frills. Just good, clean, finely crafted apothecary products. Lovett Sundries is a family company based out of Wilkinsburg. Stop by their booth for body, hair, shaving and household cleaning goods. From texturing sea salt spray for hair (made from filtered water, Epsom salt, aloe vera and sea salt) to laundry soap (baking soda, borax, coconut oil, filtered water, lye), simple ingredients are gentle on the body while getting the job done. Check out the Lovett Sundries deodorant, peppermint lip tint, dry shampoo, charcoal soap and other items, too!

Artwork/Prints: nola & vi
nolaAdd a warm, sweet and dreamy touch to your home with felt and embroidery keepsakes by nola & vi. Owner and creator Julie Lynch has been making art in Pittsburgh all her life. Today, her hoop art wreaths, pillows and party favors play with modern designs and bright and pastel colors. They’ve also got personality, as cats in bow ties, surprised French bulldogs, vacationing panda bears, sleeping foxes and amused unicorns make themselves at home among her designs. We love her lifelike bunches of felt flowers!

Accessories: Chillibibbi
chillibilliYou haven’t shopped leather goods like Chillibibbi before. This Pittsburgh-based designer uses leftover pieces of leather to make one-of-a-kind handbags. They say, “We upcycle leather because we are of the view that if an animal loses its life for us, the least we could do is use all of the skin.” The result is eye-catching cross-body, clutch and laptop bags for men and women. Browse items with bright and natural colors, bold designs and original embroidery. With zipper pockets, sturdy cotton linings and adjustable straps, each work of art is as functional as it is fashionable.

Stationery: Cannibal Paper Goods
cannibalBookworms should make a beeline for Cannibal Paper Goods. This Pittsburgh-based studio and bookbindery deconstructs old and abandoned books to make journals, sketchbooks, boxes and more. They stalk thrift stores and estate and library sales for the best vintage designs. Like the best hunters, they make sure no part of the book goes to waste. We took a sneak peek at their Instagram page and loved their paper flowers, pocket-sized mini books, and pins starring salvaged storybooks, Hardy Boys mysteries, and more.

Other: Louson Drums
lousonLouson Drums is a two-person company that makes drums right here in Pittsburgh. Stop by their booth to tap custom drum kits, shakers and other percussive instruments. Be sure to check out the cajóns, or box-shaped percussion instruments perfect for “pleasing low notes and poppy slaps.” Gorgeous glossy woods in espresso, moss green and other rich shades make them a treat for the eyes as well as the ears. A friendly jam session may be in your future!

Visit our Vendor Page for a complete list of Handmade 2016 vendors.