Thank you to the MANY vendors who applied to be a part of Handmade Arcade 2015. The planning committee is hard at work organizing and jurying. Notifications to applicants will be sent in early Oct. We are looking forward to another amazing year of talent and fun! JOEY-KENNEDY-HMA-2013-0031

Today is the day!

HAshoppersThank you all for love and support. We can’t wait to see everyone today at HANDMADE ARCADE 2014! 

Here is some important information you may need to know: 

  • Admission is FREE!
  • The Vendors are ready for you. You can view a our Vendor Map here to find your favorite vendors or to discover new artists and crafters.
  • Directions to the David L. Convention Center (DLCC) can found on online here.
  • The DLCC has a large parking lot with a low daily of $10 for the day.
  • The garages run by the Pittsburgh Parking Authority will be FREE Saturday, December 6. For the complete list of free garages and information visit
  • Visit for real time parking garage updates!
  • Entrance to Handmade Arcade is through the West Lobby (across the street from the parking garage). View the map here.
  • INBOUND FORT PITT TUNNEL WILL BE CLOSED this weekend. Find the detour directions here. 

The Organizers of Handmade Arcade want to thank everyone in Pittsburgh and beyond for your support. We work all year long to bring you this event and seeing it come to fruition with the fanfare and excitement makes the long hours well worth it.


Get Ready for the Holidays with HA!

The winter season is here, and we all need ways to cozy up and stay warm!  Handmade Arcade has several vendors that add a personal touch, and make this holiday season one to remember. Whether you are looking for a gift or a treat for yourself, these vendors have unique gifts and wares perfect for this holiday season.


Photo taken by: Audra Azoury

Audra Azoury Jewelry creates handmade pieces inspired by architecture and natural surroundings. Her ornaments and cards have arrived just in time for the holiday season!

“It gets busier every year. I was working on holiday designs in May” Azoury tells us.

This is her third year as a HA vendor. She says she has gained retail shops and friends who share her love of being crafty! Her collection blossomed from her trip to Fallingwater. Since then, she has built a wonderful collection with a Pittsburgh touch.

“I am a designer working mainly with steel.  Steel is in the blood of all of us Pittsburgher’s.”

This year she was accepted as an Emerging Artists for Three Rivers Arts Festival, and also has custom designs in The Warhol and The Frick.

Give your family and friends a thoughtful gift with a handmade ornament or card this year!

Preview Audra Azoury Jewelry on Etsy

nina ramone

Photo taken by: Dana Valenta

Nina Ramone will keep you warm this winter with her cozy knits. She creates original and chic neckwear and hats. She crochets year round to ensure she has enough items for everyone this fall and winter!

“I am always extra busy as soon as Thanksgiving ends and the holiday shopping frenzy begins” creator Dana says.

Dana Valenta is the owner, and named her business after her beloved german shepherd. Her shepherd is a “fancy lady” she says.

This will be Dana’s fourth year as a HA vendor. She looks forward to shopping the event almost as much as she enjoys working it!

“I personally make everything by hand, from the pom pom balls on the top of the caps, the faux fur poofs on the straps right down to the wooden tree branch buttons I use on the neck warmers.”

Each year Dana offers a few new items so that there is always something fresh for customers to see. She thanks her husband PJ and her assistant Erica for helping her prepare for this years show!

Preview Nina Ramone on Etsy

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Photo taken by: Recollection Photography / Cindy Parker

1820 House Candle Co. will set the holiday mood in everyone’s home this season. With scents like “winter sweater”, balsam citrus, and “elemental winter” their holiday collection is perfect.

“This year you will see on our letterpress candle caps a red stamp.   This stamp is applied lovingly by hand to each and every holiday candle.   The 10 | 14  Holiday Batch represents our 10th holiday season of candle making in 2014” creator Melissa Smith says.

This is their third year as a HA vendor. Melissa wanted to create a business of her own that would satisfy her creative mind as well as benefit farmers by using natural plant based waxes. As soon as Halloween ends, her life “goes into overdrive.”

“I’m making candles, packing shipping, filling stocklist orders and working up to 13 hours a day at least 6 days a week.   We are literally…insane busy in a good way through the holiday.”

This year, two of their lines have received ADDY awards for packaging and design, they became a product pick in Refueled Magazine, and have more retailers interested in their line.

1820’s design, sustainable resources, and creative blends of fragrance set them apart in the candle making business.

Preview 1820 House Candle Co. on Twitter


Photo given by: Amber Coppings

XMittens creates fingerless mittens that help you stay warm for the winter, and still be practical. This way, the mittens do not get in the way of your daily activities. Owner and creator Amber Coppings had both practical and artistic inspiration.

“My practical inspiration was a distinct need to be warmer while I worked in my studio… My artistic inspiration to include textural sewing elements and colorful sewn details came from traveling to Japan… I translated this design aesthetic into Xmittens.”

This is Amber’s 6th year as a HA vendor. She has always felt that the vendors show themselves as artists first. She knows she is supported when she reveals new items and new directions. Her typical holiday season begins in August when people start buying her jackets and hoodie vests for the fall season.

“I’ve always been excited by the idea of the human body as an exhibition space, so most of my work…whether hand-dyed, sewn, avant-grade, practical, or fashionable…uses the idea of wearable art to propel itself in the world.”

This year Amber has begun working with the Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts to teach fabric dyeing and digital surface pattern design classes for adults. She is also invited to be a rostered artist with the Artist Residency Program, and works in a local school teaching fifth graders.

You can only find her XMittens in person this holiday season at Handmade Arcade!

Preview XMittens on Etsy

Welcome First Time Vendors!

Each year Handmade Arcade carefully reviews our applicants for new and original vendors to bring their unique wares to sell. This year is no different. Handmade Arcade is excited to welcome NEW vendors House of Pingting, Woollow, theBird+theBeard, Funkbaby Vintage, and Arsenal Handicraft.



Photo illustrated by:  David Pohl

House of Pingting, run by David Pohl, creates limited edition prints, cards and clothing that feature Pohl’s illustration work. He pulls inspiration from one of his favorite artists Andy Warhol. As a Pittsburgh native, he is incredibly influenced by the textures of the city.

“I work with textures that I scan in from a variety of sources like paper, fabric, wood and various painted surfaces” Pohl says.

Pohl was HA’s DJ in 2012. This year we are lucky enough to have him vend his products! He also works as a self-employed freelance illustrator, and an editorial illustrator for magazines and newspapers. One successful image he has created is the Tomato image.

“I live in Spring Hill, right up the hill from the Heinz Factory. When they used to make ketchup there, I could smell the tomatoes cooking from my house in August.”

This year he has an impressive resume including creating illustrations for Reader’s Digest, Harvard Law Bulletin, and the Humane Society of the United States. He is also working with Pittsburgh yoga teacher Richard Gartner to develop his logo for a new yoga app. The app will be available for download in the iPhone in early 2015!

Check out House of Pingting’s Facebook for more information.



Photo given by: Leslee Schwirian

Woollow, run by Leslee Schwirian, is committed to providing their customers with high quality, all natural wool socks. Leslee quit her job as a nurse to spend more time on her 80 acre farm.

“We spend most of our time outside in the winter and discovered merino wool and alpaca socks are the warmest so we decided to start knitting socks also.” she says.

Her business in southwestern Pennsylvania uses the natural fibers animals give us instead of man-made petroleum byproducts.

“We are trying to show others that you can use natural fibers animals provide for us to help us sleep better at night, and use the fiber to make socks that can be worn all year  round because of the special qualities of wool.”

This year, Leslee was a vendor at the Mother Earth Festival at Seven Springs, she will be at the Maryland Christmas show, and also at the Pennsylvania Farm show in January.

Preview Woollow’s products on the website.


Photo taken by:  Jessica Schaefer

theBird+theBeard creates custom invitations and stationary goods. Jessica Schaefer (the bird) and husband Karl (the beard) began by designing their own wedding invitations and stationary at The Library in the Southside.

“The company name comes, obviously, from Karl’s manly, rugged beard, and I chose the Bird moniker as an alliterative nod to the British slang for woman.” Jessica says.

This year they are hoping to get their names out there as Pittsburgh makers, show off their products and sell their cards. They describe their craft as “a little nerdy” because of their periodic-table based greeting cards.

“Our goal, as we launch new designs, is to always have some sort of scientific or educational undertones to what we make.”

This year they have been involved with I Made It!, the inaugural CLEVER inDeed trunk show, and have been welcomed into Hitchburgh- a community of artisan wedding vendors in Pittsburgh.

Jessica says they have shopped Handmade Arcade the past several years and are excited to meet the people who support the local crafting scene.

Check out theBird+theBeard on Etsy.


Photo by Karen Stipetich

Funkbaby Vintage, run by Karen Stipetich, paints a story with each wreath they create. Their one of a kind holiday wreaths use vintage elements such as delicate glass bulbs and other hand selected ornaments.

“In my designs, I contrast an elegant vintage vibe with a little bit of funk and a dash of sparkle…Each wreath is one-of-a-kind and tells its own story” Stipetich says.

Funkbaby Vintage was born after Karen presented her first batch at her annual cookie exchange. Friends and family couldn’t get enough of them, and now she has a successful business doing what she loves. This year she looks forward to being a part of HA.

“Since I have just started selling my wreaths, I am excited to share them with a broader audience. I’m looking forward to seeing people’s reaction to them. I also hope I have some time to look at what other beautiful crafts are there this year.”

This past year Karen has began making yarn bombed antique chairs, using vintage tins, toys and dolls to make visual art, and collaborating with her husband on this new project. Handicrafts have been a big part of Karen’s life and family traditions.



Photo taken by:  Arsenal Handicraft

 Arsenal Handicraft, run by Dennis and Christina Jacobs, creates prints and paper goods. Their products are all printed in their home studio. All their work is illustrated form scratch, and they are most inspired by good storytelling.

“We try to have every piece that we make tell a story that is open for the viewer’s interpretation” Dennis says.

Dennis and Christina feel very lucky to join HA this year. They are excited to be able to sell their products among so many talented vendors. They say they never know what to expect at a new show, so they try to come ready for anything!

“We love meeting other artists and shoppers at these events and hearing their reactions to our work for the first time.”

This year they have branched out to shows farther away from home, including Washington DC and now Pittsburgh.

Check out Arsenal Handicraft on Facebook.

Pittsburgh Themed Goodies Make Great Gifts!

burghthemeThis year we have many vendors from the ‘Burgh who use our beautiful city as their inspiration to create their own handmade treasures. You can find paper craft, T-shirts, ceramics and artwork illustrations that reflect our cities’ unique “yinzer” culture!

Read on to discover the story behind a few of Handmade Arcade’s Pittsburgh themed vendors including Abandoned PittsburghPittsburgh PotterySteel City Cotton Works and John the Craftist.


“Spirits: Overholt Distillery” Taken By: Chuck Beard

Abandoned Pittsburgh is run by Chuck Beard. He combined his interest of photography and wandering Pittsburgh’s forgotten places to create his artwork.

“Most of these sites are inherently photogenic in all their gritty glory” says Beard.

This is Abandoned Pittsburgh’s first year as a HA vendor. He says his craft is 80% curiosity and 20% photography. His day job is being the Art Director at Pittsburgh Magazine and freelancing. This year he published his third “Abandoned Pittsburgh” book and participated in several markets including the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

“After living in Florida and Vermont, I fell in love with a Pittsburgher and moved here in 2008.”

Check out Abandoned Pittsburgh’s Facebook for more information. 


Photo taken by: Pitsburgh Pottery

Pittsburgh Pottery is run by Blake Anthony. Anthony and his girlfriend Laura manufacture handmade ceramics from start to finish in their home. They create everything from hand painted, glazed and decaled pieces.

“Our first show in Pittsburgh was in November 2012 where we decided to test a few ‘Pittsburgh’ themed pieces which sold within the first hour” said Anthony.

This will be Pittsburgh Pottery’s second year as a HA vendor. Anthony and Laura are in love with the city and are proud to have lived here for 31 years. They transform our ‘Pittsburghese’ language into it’s own charming art.

This year they have buried themselves in many projects such as Three Rivers Arts Festival, I Made It!, the Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership duck bridge party and night markets, Pittsburgh Public Market, and Market with South Side Works Exposed.

“We feel at home with the HA culture and very much appreciate the ‘true to its roots’ indie craft vibe.”

Preview Pittsburgh Pottery’s work on Etsy.



Photo taken by: Rachel Norris

Steel City Cotton Works is run by Carly Grbach.  They print T-shirts you can only get here in Pittsburgh!  Their graphic tees are inspired by sports, pop culture, and “general nostalgia” that surrounds Pittsburgh.

“We pride ourselves on selling the softest most unique tees. Tees that only true Pittsburgh fans will understand and love” says Grbach.

This is their fourth year as a HA vendor, and Carly has lived here for 15 years.  Carly’s husband Brandon is the designer who’s freelance work blossomed into Steel City Cotton Works. Their zombie themed Pirates logo was a success, and now their business is booming.

This year they have expanded into over 11 boutiques and museums around the city. They are so proud to create the exclusive Roberto Clemente tees for the Roberto Clemente museum. They are very excited about their custom kiosk at Ross Park Mall and being a part of HA this year.

“Handmade Arcade give us the crucial exposure that we need to get in front of the customers who best appreciate our work.”

Check out Steel City Cotton Works’ Facebook for more information. 


Photo taken by: Alethea Okonak

John the Craftist is run by Alethea Okonak.  Her greeting cards celebrate local food, language and culture.  She says her phrases are things learned as a lifelong Pittsburgher.

“Sometimes I slip into heavy Pittsburghese with my husband or my brother or my Mom, and more than a few cards have found their way out of those conversations” Okonak says.

This is John the Craftist’s second year as a HA vendor.  In 2012, she shared a table with the Steel Town Etsy team of vendors and did so well she applied for her own table in 2013.  Alethea was born and bred in the ‘Burgh and raised in a family of handmade creators. She began making cards for friends about 3 years ago, and because she did so well it is now her full-time gig!

“I think that having a unique regional dialect is something to celebrate! I also think it’s important to always have a sense of humor about yourself — and the place you call home.”

Preview John the Craftist’s products on Etsy.

Browse Handmade Arcade’s 150+ vendors here and prepare your shopping list!


The 2014 Tote Bag is Here!

Take the AMAZING wood, tin and nail art from Worker Bird, give it to Modesto Studios to screen print on tote bags and MAGIC happens. LOOK closely at the totes and you will see the SILVER NAILS!  Only 50 available for sale at Handmade Arcade 2014 on Saturday, December 6, 2014! Get your limited edition tote bag at the welcome table for only $15.



Handmade Arcade Vendors and the Martha Stewart American Made Awards


The Martha Stewart American Made Awards recognize handmade artists and innovators. This year, Handmade Arcade was thrilled to see several of our own skilled vendors become nominees.

American Made features thriving artists who create crafts, design, food and style. They recognize innovative creations and put local makers into the public eye. Through this program, Martha Stewart and the editors of Martha Stewart Living showcase the talent of Americans who are inspiring us with their original products.

Redraven Studios, Unabiologicals, Worker Bird, Gina DeSantis Ceramics and Liza Michelle Jewelry are the Handmade Arcade vendors selected as finalists for this fantastic opportunity.

RedRaven Handmade porcelain keepsakes

Photo taken by: Janelle Bendycki

Redraven Studios is run by dynamic duo Amy and Ryan Hamley. They create a line of beautiful handmade porcelain keepsakes. Amy says she has loved working with clay since she was a teenager, and continues to provide people with one of a kind items. Her expertise has not been overlooked this year.

“Once you submit your nomination, the panel of judges including Martha Stewart selected the finalists, which I was thrilled to be selected for” Hamley says.

Amy says this is her 5th year as a Handmade Arcade vendor, and can’t wait for this year’s event.

“Handmade Arcade has a reputation for being the best attended and well curated craft event in the city” says Hamley. “ I typically have to hold open studio hours for local pick up after the event, it makes up a huge portion of my holiday season sales.”

RedRaven’s work is available online at and ETSY. Read more about her Etsy Wholesale shop which is featured in the NY TIMES


Photo taken by: Kelsey Kradel Photography

Una Biologicals is run by Jessica Graves. They provide pure, organic beauty & wellness products derived straight from nature.

“We keep you healthy & pretty, using only the best plant based ingredients and a healthy helping of love & positivity” Graves says.

This is Una Biological’s 3rd year as a Handmade Arcade vendor, and now has a team of 7 amazing ladies. They love being a part of Handmade Arcade’s reputation, and have proven themselves as a finalist in this year’s awards.

“There are a lot of people out there working hard to create unique and amazing products, ethically and by hand, this competition and events like HA are an essential conduit to bring these people to the population at large and make the whole of the event exciting” says Graves.

Unabiologicals has had a busy year. They were featured in the PITSBURGH POST-GAZETTETRIB, and WHIRL MAGAZINE.  You can purchase their products online at and ETSY.


 Photo taken from

Worker Bird is run by Kim Fox. Kim is a finalist for the wild card category and does “hardcore quilting.” She says that is a pretty accurate joke, since she collects old tins and uses them to make snowy owls, crows, pumpkins and other cute things. She stays busy as a worker bird, and her efforts have paid off.

“A few weeks after being accepted as a nominee I received an email saying that I had been selected as a Wildcard Finalist by Martha and her team of judges. Super exciting!”

This is Kim’s third year with Handmade Arcade. She is the creative mind behind the amazing tin art turned marketing collateral for this year’s Handmade Arcade event. Her artwork was used to create our postcards, poster, Early Birdie tickets, web ads, print ads and more! She says the collaboration and reputation of Handmade Arcade greatly benefits her business.

“It’s a widely respected show and, as such, it lends credibility to the work that I do.”

Worker Bird art is available online at and ETSY.


Photo taken by: Whitney Traylor

Gina DeSantis Ceramics is run by Gina herself. She creates beautiful ceramics and strives to make “functional wares for the home and table.” She combined her love of the studio and the kitchen, and now creates pieces that have made her a finalist in this year’s awards.

“[ I ] was picked for a wildcard slot due to the high volume of social media shares thanks to my fans!” says DeSantis.

This is Gina’s first time as a Handmade Arcade vendor.  Gina found her passion for ceramics in college. She is now a well developed, self employed artist who teaches and inspires others to continue with this craft. Midwest Living Magazine even featured her mugs in their holiday gift guide this year!  Her inspiration comes from the textures and colors in nature.

“I want to make objects that make your home happier” DeSantis says on her website bio.

Find Gina’s products for sale on BIG CARTEL.  



Photo Taken by: Suzanne Price

Liza Michelle Jewelry is run by Liza Rifkin.  Liza makes thoughtfully crafted jewelry by using the world around us.  Her pieces are carefully created by nature’s gifts to ensure that each customer gets a unique, quality piece.  Her inspiration from the environment led her to become a finalist in this year’s awards.

“Each twig, pine cone, thorn or berry is handpicked from nature and cast in solid metal to create one of a kind piece every time.” Rifkin says.

This is her first year as a Handmade Arcade vendor.  She says she always knew she would be an artist, and has been hooked on making jewelry since high school.  This year Liza has launched a new branding and a brand new line of pieces.  Some even include conflict free, black and white diamonds!

“Each piece is unique and an exact representation of the beautiful world around us.”

Shop Liza’s jewelry HERE.

Disclaimer:  These vendors are the nominees that Handmade Arcade found after reviewing the Martha Stewart site.  If any other vendors were selected, we want to know!   Simply send us an email and you will get the recognition you deserve!

Find out more about our vendors HERE.

Written by Madison Krupp