The holidays are busy times. No matter what you tradition you celebrate, it probably involves decorating, making gifts, shopping, cooking memorable foods, eating special treats, and other festivities.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in meaningless motion rather than being intentional with the time and money you spend with and on family and friends. This year, try intentionally spending some of your holiday budget in some of the smallest businesses in Bay County.
There are many locally-owned businesses throughout the county. When you buy something from a small business or an artist, you buy a unique gift with a one-of-a-kind story.
Here are a few local artists to consider this holiday season:
Autumn Delestowicz creates custom, handmade items for homes, such as simple Christmas Countdown banners.Delestowicz opened her Etsy shop, Matriarch Village, in 2012 to resell vintage clothing and other items she found while thrifting. She was a young stay-at-home mom looking for a hobby and a way to provide for her family while raising her son.
In 2016, she shared a handmade banner on Instagram. Her inspiration for the banner came from a flag she saw on Tumblr. Her followers bought that banner and asked for more, leading her to re-brand her business as Matriarch Handmade and drop all her vintage items. Now, she focuses on custom handmade items for the home. Her store includes mugs, totes, beverage insulators and more.
“My favorite part of owning a small business is having the flexibility of setting my own hours, so I can be available for my family,” said Delestowicz.
You can follow Delestowicz and see her newest items as well as get inspirational content about her life as a mother and maker on Instagram, @motherrose.
- Tom Gillman — Chainsaw Carving
Tom Gillman wields a chainsaw to create art in the former of carvings. He’s even been asked to transform old stumps into life-size carvings of animals.Tom Gillman creates beautiful, intricate works of art ... with a chainsaw. He’s been creating this art for people since 2006. He picked up chainsaw carving after seeing a carving demonstration at the Tri-City Woodcarver’s show.
“I’d been doing smaller hand carvings for many years prior to this show, so I was amazed at what could be done with a tool I’d only ever used to create firewood with,” said Gillman. His first attempt was a bear which turned out recognizable enough to get him excited about the possibilities of other sculptures.
The majority of Gillman’s carving themes revolve around nature – bears, eagles, wolves, and mushrooms. Most recently, he’s had a run on owls, squirrels, and raccoons. He can carve you nearly anything out wood. He can even turn that old partial stump in your backyard into a masterpiece.
Gillman’s small business started as a hobby and has been steadily growing. He hopes to carve full time after he retires. “I like the idea that I’m more in control as to the direction that my life goes. Because of the nature of this business, I can go anywhere with it. I can decide on the projects I’m willing to take on, the hours I’ll work and if I want to travel or not,” Gillman said.
Gilman will demonstrate his carving art during the Grand Blanc Township 2019 Tree Lighting Event at Creasey Bicentennial Park on Sat., Dec. 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. You also can reach him at email@example.com.
- Selena Ashley Designs – Lettering Artist
Selena Ashley, a graphic designer and hand-lettering artist, embellishes globes with inspirational sayings.In 2015, Selena set out on quite the adventure for any artist. She started an Instagram account and posted a new piece every day for 365 days. She quickly received many order requests and commissions and her business was born.
Ashley is a graphic designer and hand lettering artist. You may have seen her larger scale work on the walls at Ferne Boutique. One of Selena’s most popular items are her quote globes. She embellishes these enchanting vintage globes with inspirational quotes. Selena’s favorite part about owning her small business is “the reaction from my clients when they receive their artwork. I just feel honored that they are choosing me for their wedding or nursery or a special occasion.”
You can her work at the Ornament Pop-up at Ferne Boutique on Sat., Dec. 7 from noon to 3 p.m. and again at the Ornament Pop-Up at Annie & Oliver’s on Thurs., Dec. 12 from 4 to 6 p.m.
For Michigan apparel, stickers, hand-lettered prints, and world globes, visit SelenaAshley.com. She is also on Instagram or Facebook. She is available via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Masonic Temple Market – December 7 & 8
The best way to see multiple artisans in one place is at an artisan market. There is no shortage of those in December, but one of the largest in Bay County is the two-day Holiday Artisan Market at the Masonic Temple, 700 N. Madison Ave., on Dec. 7 and 8.
Stroll around, admire the amazing hand-made work our local artisans have to offer, and get some holiday shopping done.