Arts on the Square Spotlight: Meet Margaret of Margaret DeBruin Designs

Sunday, June 29, 2014
Children's Wear Designer and Artist Margaret DeBruin is an eco-inspiration! She’s bringing her one-of-a-kind designs all the way from Boston, MA, to Arts on the Square and we can't wait!

Hi Margaret!

Tell us a little about your business and what inspired you to start it.

I started making hats out of recycled t-shirts when I was 10 days overdue with my son.  It gave me something creative to stay busy. I didn’t know if I was having a boy or girl, so I used lots of different colors and patterns (ok, I love crazy patterns and would have done that regardless!)  After he was born he wore a different hat every day and a local store took notice and asked if they could buy some wholesale.

How long have you been designing children’s wear?  Do you do custom work as well as your retail line?

I've been selling since about 2005.  I started with the t-shirt hats then sweater hats for the winter and bucket hats for the summer.  I added in the dresses about 5 years ago and leggings this year.  All of my pieces are one-of-a-kind so I do very few custom pieces but most of the time my customers can find something amazing in the size that they want and they know that it is unique to them!

Where do you find your materials and why is it important that your designs are eco-friendly?

I am constantly searching thrift stores and love finding exciting colors and patterns to work with.  It’s like building up a really great palette of paint – I need to have enough supplies to choose from to make exciting work.

I love trying to find new ways to be more eco-friendly in my work and in my life.  There is always more that we can do.  Whether it’s recycling or composting or just trying to save energy, it is our responsibility to do what we can to help preserve the environment.

What made you take the leap from ceramics and dive into designing children’s clothing?

I will always consider ceramics my first love in art.  I have both my bachelors and masters degree in ceramics and still teach adult ed at night and kids classes during school vacations.  But truly, I am an artist and I love to make things, and right now I love sewing.  I made the switch to sewing when my kids were little.  Hand sewing is easily portable and I can bring it with me to the playground, to my daughter’s ballet class or my son’s Taekwondo class.

How did you hear about AOTS? Have you ever been to Scranton before?

My friend Grace Napoleon from Folk Couture told me about the show.  I've never been to Scranton but it sounded like it will be a fun adventure!

What do you like most about participating in these type of events?

I love talking directly with customers to help them find the perfect piece.  It’s so exciting when one of my little customers insists on wearing her new purchase home!

Where else can our readers find you?

I do about 25-30 shows each year primarily in New England and the North East.  Below is a list of a few of my upcoming shows.  More shows are listed on my website where you can always see my work at  

June 28 Greenway Market in Boston, MA
July 12-13 Green River Festival in Greenfield, MA
July 20 South End Open Market in Boston, MA
July 26 Arts on the Square!  Scranton, PA
August 17 South End Open Market in Boston, MA
August 23 Portland Picnic in Portland, ME

Location:  Brookline, MA

Arts on the Square Spotlight: Meet Sonny of Sonny Jones Woodturner

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
This talented woodturner takes local to a new level.  He’ll take wood from a tree in your backyard and ‘turn’ it into a family heirloom.  Meet Sonny of Sonny Jones Woodturner.

Hello Sonny!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you discovered the art of woodturning.

My father was a farmer and he turned on a homemade lathe when he needed tool handles. I first turned in shop class in high school and then not again until many years later. When my father died, my brother took his old lathe and renewed our interest.  Both of my brothers turn and the three siblings have taught and encouraged each other over the years. Both of my brothers are excellent artisans also. 

I hear that you will even create a custom piece using wood from the client’s own tree. What is the most memorable piece you created?

My most memorable piece would have to be the urn that my brothers and I turned together for our mother's ashes. I turned and hollowed the urn, my brother Ron turned the base and my brother Tom turned the top finial.  I had one client who asked me to make an assortment of pieces from a tree that was in the backyard of her family home. She gave the pieces to her relatives as gifts for Christmas. I like the idea that my pieces might be handed down from one generation to the next.

Do you have a favorite piece to make?  What about a favorite type of wood?

Turning is therapeutic. So rather than a favorite piece, I enjoy the process. Of course some pieces are more pleasing than others after they are finished. As for a favorite type of wood, I prefer free wood. I, like most wood turners, do not cut down trees to turn. I harvest local, sustainable wood from trees that have to be removed or have fallen during a storm. "Don't burn it. Turn it!" My friends will call me to tell me about wood lying by the side of the road. When I get pieces of wood from someone who has lost a tree, I often will make that person an heirloom piece in exchange for the wood.  The best woods are burls, which are those bumps that sometimes grow on the side of trees.  

What types of work are you showing at Arts on the Square?

I am a chef by trade and so many of my pieces are culinary inspired. Bowls, rolling pins, wine bottle stoppers, mortar and pestles, platters and pepper mills. These items are functional. Other functional items include wooden pens and vessels that might be used to hold the ashes of a loved departed pet. I will also bring more artistic pieces.

Where do you primarily sell your work and you do many festivals and events?

Art on Main, 71 North Main Street, Pittston. I have been fortunate enough to have my work presented at the Fine Arts Fiesta and the Wyoming Valley Art League in Wilkes Barre, the Focus Art Show at the Butternut Gallery in Tunkhannock, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Art Show and the "Art of the State" Show in Harrisburg. 

Where else can our readers find your work?
I would encourage everyone to visit my website - and if you do, please be sure to leave a comment.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

Art is everywhere and it is in everyone. Explore your artistic side.

Business Name: Sonny Jones Woodturner
Hometown: Pittston, Pa

Arts on the Square Spotlight: Meet Ryan Lucarelli of All Hands On

Thursday, June 19, 2014
This young designer specializes in the old-school art of handlettering with a modern twist.  His work is both beautiful and clever. We can’t wait to see what he has in store for Arts on the Square.
Hi Ryan!

Tell us more about yourself… what got you into the creative field?

I've always been very into art and drawing. My parents have an entire box full of drawings from when I was a kid. (mostly from the Lion King and Power Rangers) It just seemed logical to try and do something creative as a living. I originally planned on majoring in Advertising but wanted something more hands on and drifted towards Graphic Design.

What do you love most about hand-lettering and printmaking?
I love the look and feel that you get from making things by hand. It makes it special, and worth having. The fact that you can run your hands over the paper, wood, or whatever media you're printing on and actually feel the's pretty awesome! I'm so inspired by early vintage typography and sign painters, and you really can't replicate that on the computer.

What has been your favorite project to date?                                                                                         
My two favorite projects to date are wedding related. I created a Save the Date and Wedding Invitation for two of my best friends. They were letterpressed by Samantha Urbanick of Hand Deliver Press and came out amazing. 

The other project involved creating custom beer labels for a home brew my friend and I made for his wedding.

What kind of work will you be featuring at AOTS?
Bottle openers, prints (on paper and wood), 6-pack carriers. Everything I sell will have some hand lettering incorporated.

What kinds of custom work do you do and how should people contact you?
Custom hand lettering and screen printing. I also do logo and web design.
You can reach me at:

Business Name: All Hands On
Location: Forty Fort, PA
Instagram: @ryanlucarelli

Arts on the Square Spotlight: Meet NEWKIRK HONEY!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

We have the sweetest vendors lined up for this year...literally. We're so happy to be bringing Newkirk Honey to this year's Arts on the Square.  Learn more about their business and the benefits of local honey...

Tell us a little about the process of making honey… do the bees get hurt?  
Our bees get never hurt!!!  Beekeeping starts over the spring time usually between March and April throughout Lackawanna County.  And of course, it's all up to the bees.  When we pull out the honey, bees get shook going back to the hive and we just get only frames out then open the combs then go into the extractor. After than all we need to do is bottling in different size so we DO NOT process any of our honeys.

Tell us a little about the importance of bees?
As we all know, bees are in danger in the world. We believe that all the pesticides and commercial pollination are big cause of the issue. But we have to have the bees in your area because 1/3 of all vegetables and fruits produces are pollinated by honeybees. Luckily there are now so many hobby beekeepers that help to solve a part of the issue. So please support your local beekeepers as well as hobby beekeepers for them to keep doing what they are doing.

Do you ever get stung?
Yes we do! It is only normal for us. Haha! Bee sting is supposed to be good so just think it would be only good for us.

How do beeswax skin products differ from run-of-the-mill products found at a chain drug store?
Most of those contain some chemical ingredients involved so I don't believe the results will be the same.
We only use our own beeswax (we leave a lots of honey in the wax because it is an anti-antibiotic) that will cure cracks on the skin. (Trust me on this. It works!) It is very waxy (it contains 50% of our beeswax) which means it will seal your skin and stay with other natural oils and butters that will moisturize your skin as well.

Your soap looks amazing!!! What are the benefits of using honey soap?
It is a natural moisturizer for your skin. It is not only for face but the body and hair. One customer ordered 12 bars of our honey soap. He said that it cured the dandruff problem that he has had for years.
I think it is good for everything! I use it every day too.

I’ve heard that there are many benefits of eating local honey… is that true?  What are some of the health benefits?
For the first of all, honey benefits your immunity system which fights off allergies, colds and flu.
Following all the studies regarding ‘local honey’, if you build your immunity with the local honey that contains the pollens in your area, this will work against allergies because your body got already used to it.  Back in time, honey was a medication. It is a protein, vitamin as well as mineral.  What could be better than the total nutrition package? It's even sweet!

Are you sold in any local stores? 
I have to really apologize to all of our customers who have been asking for our honey. Currently we don't ship because we're working to open our own store and don't want to compete with our retailers who have different price tags on our honeys. By that, we only sell in Philly and NJ not in our area yet. Please keep checking our website; we will let you know as soon as we open our store.

Is there anything else you want our readers to know?
Thank you so much for all your interest in our beekeeping and your support. A few nice words and interest local beekeeping keeps us going and make us believe that we're doing something that someone has to do no matter what.  Working on something that not many of us are willing to do sometimes becomes a big challenge and make us a question "Can we do it?" But we started with faith not with a guarantee. We work harder onto our own jobs to keep this business going and always think about the customers who really appreciate our little works that make their table so healthy and delightful.

As long as there are those people out there, we will be here as a "Good stuff provider".

Business Name: Newkirk Honey
Location: Home base business on the West Mountain. Storefront coming soon!

Meet Mallory of Nicole's Classes and Win A Creative Class!

Friday, June 13, 2014

We’re so happy to share this 3rd installment of our We Love Our Vendors Giveaway Series!  If you are vending at this year’s Arts on the Square, you are already in the running to win a FREE creative class from Nicole’s Classes! We had the chance to interview Mallory of Nicole’s Classes about how their classes can help creative entrepreneurs!

Hello Mallory! We're very excited to introduce your online classes to our busy creative business owners. Your classes seem to be a perfect fit for this particular demographic and their business needs. Can you tell us more about Nicole's Classes humble beginnings and how that grew into what you are today?

Nicole started classes out of her basement in 2007 when her friends and family begged her to teach them how to use their newly purchased DSLR's. While there was lots of information online on how to use your camera, nothing was easy to understand and taught in a relatable way. She soon added Illustrator and Photoshop courses to the classes in the basement and moved them to the online format in 2010.

What is Nicole’s Classes teaching style or philosophy?
Nicole's Classes is committed to giving you the best creative online education. We get the best professionals who are excellent teachers AND working in the field so you can learn from the best. Our classes are flexible, you can learn on your own time (even in your pajamas!) and we think they can work for anyone in any walk of life.

Most of our classes (all in the 101 level) are designed for someone who hasn't ever opened the Illustrator program or whose DSLR is still in the box. We will take you from zero experience to creating the graphics and pictures that you've always dreamed of creating.

How can taking your classes give creative entrepreneurs and artists an edge on the competition?
A lot of our students have used our classes to either start a completely new creative business (stationery, fabric design, portrait photography, etc) or add value to one they've already started. Do you design jewelry but need to learn to take better close up shops for your online shop? We can help you with that! Do you have a blog but want to create enhanced content like gifs and mood boards? We can help you with that!

What’s the most rewarding thing about teaching creative classes?
The most rewarding thing about teaching creative classes is seeing all our students go on to do after completing our classes. As we said before, we have seen former students start of lots of successful design and photography business and blogs, which we love. But even just hearing that a stay at home mom is now able to take shots of her kids that she'll treasure forever… that's why we do what we do!

Many of the Arts on the Square artists do their own product photography.  Can you share a great photography tip that anyone can use?
Here's a LINK to a great photo tip Nicole shared on the blog about product photography.

Follow Nicole’s Classes:
Twitter: @nicolesclasses

Meet Kerry Burki of Handmade Success & Win "The Complete'" Etsy Success Kit!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The folks over at cater to creative folks just like us; sharing advice and resources to help creatively market your wares and increase sales.  The blog is full of great information with tips, printables, inspirational tid-bits as well as loads of resources. Handmade Success has pARTnered up with AOTS and wants to giveaway a copy of "The Complete" Etsy Kit to one of our lovely vendors!! Don't worry, if you have already signed on to vend at Arts on the Square, you are already entered to win!

Hi Kerry!
Having bought and read The Etsy Success Kit as well as being an avid follower of your Blog - I knew you were the perfect candidate for an AOTS pARTner.

Can you give me a short bio for the Handmade Success blog? Who is involved and what are your roles?
Handmade Success is a place where creatives are supported & celebrated! We share creative business tips, tons of inspiration and support. Jordan Moore, creator of The Etsy Kit, started Handmade Success as a resource for handmade sellers. Kerry Burki, editor of the site, continues to grow the blog to help creative souls everywhere.

Pictured: Kerry Burke

When did you create or 1st launch your blog?   How does it tie into the Etsy Success kit?
The blog was launched in January of 2011. It started as an extension of the Etsy Kit. We brought in contributors and guest posters to write about their successes, struggles and tips in their creative businesses.

Why is etsy a great platform to launch a small creative business?
It is a great platform to start because is it well known and familiar. Creatives can start on the site knowing they are surrounded by other creatives along with tons of tips and advice offered by the Etsy team. Potential buyers will often be asking if you have an Etsy shop.

Why is supporting small creative businesses important? - Also touch on how our fans can sign up on your directory.
Supporting small creative businesses is a way to boost the local economy, focus on quality handiwork and nourish an appreciation for the arts. Something special happens when a connection is made between the maker and the buyer. The best things in life have a story behind them and that is what happens when small creative businesses are supported. Our Shop Small, Shop Local Directory is a way to reach more potential customers. You can learn more on our website here.

What would be your top advice tidbits for our Arts on the Square vendors on how to stand out from the crowd?
Like I mentioned above, learn how to create a story around your products. At craft fairs, be sure to engage people and be open to chatting. Create a beautiful and unique booth that makes it easy for people to interact with your products. Remember to share your process. People love sharing all of these things with the people they buy gifts for or the people who comment on their purchases. You can translate these things online by have a smashing About Page, beautiful product photos and sharing your process in the product description. Handmade Success has a ton of resources for all of this.

Top 3 resources for creative business owners?
1. Handmade Success - of course!
2. Marketing Creativity - tons of amazing advice from a successful creative
3. Oh My! Handmade Goodness - great group of supportive creatives

Where else can people find and follow you?
Handmade Success:
Twitter: @handmadesuccess
Kerry Burki:
Twitter: @kerryburki
Instagram: @kerryburki

Thank you Kerry and Handmade Success for sharing inspiration and your Etsy Success Kit!