AmericasMart® Winter 2016

by Stephanie Hintz

Courtesy of Handmade Business

Are you ready? The winter market season at AmericasMart in Atlanta, Georgia will soon be underway! The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market will open Jan. 12-19, 2016. The Atlanta International Area Rug market featuring the National Oriental Rug Show will be run concurrent, Jan. 13-16, 2016. More than 7,300 brands will represent at the show, and attendees will benefit from a week of educational programs as well as networking opportunities specifically designed to help businesses in the industry grow.

Color and e-Commerce

Presented by AmericasMart, the signature vignette exhibition showcasing the PANTONEVIEW® home+interiors 2016 color forecast will be open all week. Top interior designers will demonstrate how the exciting new color scheme will come alive in home and gift trends in 2016. Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute will present on Fri., Jan. 15 and demonstrate how the ''color rules'' will change in 2016 via a more spontaneous approach.

Later that evening, attendees are invited to join in the Pantone Vignette Gallery to celebrate the launch of the Pantone Color of the Year. The event is hosted by AmericasMart, Rue Magazine, VERANDA, and REstyleSOURCE.

Editor-in-Chief of Home Accents Today, Jenny Heinzen York, along with a panel of successful, seasoned e-commerce experts is set to lead a discussion on how and why is it worth it to expand into the world of online selling on Thurs., Jan. 14, 2016.

Handmade to Stay

Thousands of handmade artists and buyers flock to AmericasMart each January to stock up on not only the latest and greatest, but also learn a thing or two about the industry. There are handmade exhibitors in nearly every category--proving that the artisan market is holding strong and gaining momentum.

An extra bonus is the large number of quality, juried artists featured in this year's temporary section of AmericasMart, such as Handmade Design, Boutique, Global Designs, Handmade Jewelry, Made in America, and more. Grouping many handmade sources together creates a nearly seamless and aesthetically appropriate venue for both wholesale handmade buyers and sellers.

So, what makes handmade ever-appealing? Simply put, it's the human component of gratification. As technology continues to propel the world forward, many people are seeking balance and authenticity in their lives through decorating with handmade art and décor, and adorning themselves with accessories that no one else has. Consumers want to feel connected to what they are buying and to know that not only does the item have purpose--either aesthetic or functional--but that it also has meaning.

Another factor that might kick-start the handmade economy in 2016--it's an election year, folks. Both liberals and conservatives love handmade, even if for different reasons. One thing they may have in common is that the stress and pressure of political strife can leave many feeling empty and commercialized. Slipping into the handmade world can make anyone feel a little bit more than just a number.

Handmade Business magazine took a good look around some of this year's finest handmade artisans showcasing at AmericasMart. Top trends we saw consistently among many artists was the popularity of jewelry, holiday decorations, personalized items, steampunk and pop culture influences, and of course, nature-inspired arts and craftwork.

Sid Dickens, Inc.

Internationally renowned for his historical, symbolic motifs and sculpted tri-dimensional tiles, artisan Sid Dickens' work has been used to decorate hotels, restaurants, and private homes from New York to Tokyo. Handmade in Canada since 1994, Memory Books are the original collectible wall plaques. Interactive and timeless, the collection captures pieces of history as tangible, enchanting collectible art for modern life. Each tile has a name--and a meaning. Take a detailed look at some of Sid Dickens, Inc. best sellers and share the joy in their meaning.

Above Left: ''From a faraway place, the Messenger touches my soul, and I am forever changed.'' Photo credits: Sid Dickens Inc.

Above Middle: Winter is the season to dream about the beginning. Like this great tree, we are all rooted in the earth and are ever changing--ever growing.

Above Right: Through the dark woods of the world, Wisdom's brilliance lights a path.

Vella Mode: Trecy Bleich

Vella Mode is a handcraft jewelry company founded by Trecy Bleich, and her modern, artistic focus shines through from her previous experience in the kitchen and bath industry. The brand name Vella Mode was created using Bleich's mother's nickname, ''Vella,'' and ''Mode,'' which means ''fashion'' in German which is also influenced by her husband's native country. Bleich believes there is always a ''story behind the story,'' and many of her collections reflect her own personal interpretations of experiences and great challenges she has been faced with.

Earrings Right: Vella Mode's Open Circle Collection takes a simple, traditional circular shape, and transforms it into a modern interpretation of emotions she experienced following a major surgery she endured in 2014. The circle symbolizes the fears encircling her head during that trying time in her life. The Open Circles Hoop earrings are lightweight, hand-formed and hammered, and are available in 14-karat gold-fill, sterling, or oxidized sterling. Photos by Roya Miller

Necklace Right: To convey her moving message to others, Bleich includes a copyrighted script with purchases that states, ''An inspirational piece to remind us that whatever challenges encircle in our lives, there is always an open door.'' Every design she's done is a reflection of her mother's own style, but the Open Circle Collection has opened so many doors of opportunities for her company, is a true embodiment of a Vella Mode design, and has become a fan favorite.

Below: Vella Mode's Pergamon Bracelets are handmade in both gold and silver-filled metals. They can be worn stacked together, connected by the ''V'' indentation or worn alone. Each seven-inch bracelet is hand-shaped, hammered, and polished.

Vella Mode Jewelry

Bethany Lowe Designs, Inc.

Self-taught artist Bethany Lowe began her career creating one-of-a-kind nostalgic-inspired Santa Claus figures, utilizing vintage robes and fabrics, antique toys, and hand-sculpted faces. Through her work, everything old becomes new again, while she captures the essence of warm memories from a childhood growing up on a Midwestern farm. Beyond hand-crafting one-of-a-kind collectibles, Lowe's repertoire has expanded into her more accessible ''Build a Tradition'' line of holiday goods, and she has also penned ''Bethany Lowe's Folk Art Halloween,'' a book that shares her creative style and methodology with other holiday enthusiasts.

Bethany Lowe Art

Serious collectors from around the world have collected Bethany Lowe's handcrafted Santa Claus figures, due to the exquisite detail, time, effort, and love Lowe puts into each handcrafted piece

Bethany Lowe Art

Bethany Lowe often incorporates unique, unexpected ride-on toys for her Santa Claus figures, including this jolly fellow featured on an antique trike.

Inspired Generations: Robin Cohen

Inspired Generations Art

Inspired Generations Art

Inspired Generations Art
The mission of Inspired Generations is pure and simple--to design and manufacture beautiful, high-quality products that bring smiles into the lives of others. Artist Robin Cohen masters her mission in every piece created, offering a myriad of ingenious, artistic presentations of tabletop giftware including platters, bowls, serving pieces, office and bath accessories, and more. Cohen is passionate about the creative process, keeping practicality in mind. All serving ware is crafted with food-safe metals.

Top Left: Mr. Big Smiley is overflowing with happiness and is a great handmade piece to start anyone's day of right! Add a side of love with the Red Heart serving dish, and the silver-speckled Peace divided dish to complete the brand-favorite Peace, Love, and Happiness Trio by artist Robin Cohen of Inspired Generations.

Middle Left: Who said see-saws were just for kids? Inspired Generations created their handcrafted See-Saw Bowl to pull out the kid in everyone who buys or gifts it. Photos by David Beach

Bottom Left: Inspired Generation's Big Bean bowl is of course, perfect for serving up colorful candy-like jelly beans, or can be used as a decorative and artful vessel perfect in nearly every contemporary setting. It is one of artist Robin Cohen's latest creations.

G.DeBrekht Artistic Studios

G.DeBrekht Artistic Studios, is a creator of fine, handcrafted holiday decorative artistry. For more than two decades, G.DeBrekht Artistic Studios has been creating collectible figurines, Christmas ornaments, and home decorative creations for art and nature lovers. It's easy to recognize G.DeBrekht artistic creations, as they are done with a unique, nostalgic carving and painting style. Most of the work from their world-renowned studio comes in limited editions. Meticulously painted and carved details with special stand-out packaging make them the perfect gift for any special person. All creations are made in-house in their studio located in Orange County California.

G.DeBrekht Art

G.DeBrekht Artistic Studios' Distressed Wall Art Deer is available in various sizes ranging from six to 24,'' is handcrafted in California by local artists, and can be customized with any wording. Photo credits: G.DeBrekht Artistic Studios

G.DeBrekht Art

The ''Winter Deer'' Glass Ornament Star is presented in a satin-lined velvet gift box. Thousands of tiny brush strokes create the exquisite detail in each 5'' ornament, which is limited to 1,500 made. This remarkable artistic painting is so fine, it's like holding a famous Russian Fedoskino lacquer box.

Loloi, Inc. Art Loloi, Inc.

Founded in 2004, Loloi, Inc. has become a fashion leader specializing in medium to high-end area rugs in every style category, and a premium producer of textiles. Under the expert direction of area rug veteran Amir Loloi, the company has won five ARTS Awards: three for ''Best Rug Manufacturer'' in 2010, 2011, and 2015; one in 2012 for ''Best Outdoor Manufacturer,'' and one in 2013 for ''Green Manufacturer.'' Its eight America's Magnificent Carpets Awards and three Atlanta Visual Display Awards for sophisticated showroom design attest to the company's commitment to innovation and quality.

Top Left: Known for her colorful bohemian style, designer Justina Blakeney's hand-woven Fable Collection from India is an imaginative spin on the regular flat-weave rug. These pieces are crafted of wool and viscose with the ends of the weft coming to the front of the rug creating a shaggy texture, which defines the pattern as well as the nomadic spirt of the collection. Photo credit: Loloi, Inc.

Bottom Left: Inspired by stunning rock and canyon landscapes, the Elixir Collection transports rooms to beautiful topographies. The fluid designs are hand-knotted in India with 100% hand-spun viscose from bamboo, ensuring a refined shine and long-lasting quality.


Inspired by California living and architecture, HomArt presents a collection of hand-finished home accessories forging a contemporary link with California's romantic past.

This exclusive collection of refined, yet affordable home accessories is created for everyday use from all-natural, recycled, and new materials, simply and tastefully designed to comfortably mix with any décor. Showcasing the handwork of skilled craftsmen, the HomArt collection evokes the warmth and serenity of a less-hurried era.

HomArt Design

Above: New for 2016, HomArt offers their hanging Dodecahedron, a faceted geometric hanging vase, which makes a perfect updated terrarium, vase, or candle holder. Each Dodecahedron measures 4" x 4" x 4."

Right: Macramé hangers in black cording or natural Jute artfully suspend HomArt's terrarium-style vessels.

HomArt Design

Design Legacy by Kelly O'Neal

Kelly O Design Legacy's lead designer and resident artist, Kelly O'Neal, serves up both one-of-a-kind as well as production treasures for the home and studio. The vintage-inspired textile collections are a global hit in these categories: drapery, pillows, upholstery, bedding, wall murals, and furniture. Kelly's original artwork adds a modern mix to all of the collections, from the Modern Country aesthetic to the contemporary.

Above Left: X marks the spot in the classic ''X'' ottoman by Legacy Designs. It boasts an antique gold finish and hand-screened fabric, named Blood Orange Calligraphy. The ottoman measures 20'' x 20'' x 21.''

Above Right: This natural linen pillow by Legacy Designs with blue bird and flowers measures 24'' x 17'' and is a beautiful way to bring the outdoors in.