American Handcrafted™ Orlando: Spotlight on Makers

June 5, 2018

White Plains, NY, June 5, 2018 –A unique selection of Makers, curated to include designs spanning all types of media will be on display at American HandcraftedÔOrlando, September 6 – 8, 2018 at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL.  “The depth and breadth of the makers participating in American Handcrafted is awe-inspiring,” said Allison Garafalo, Show Director. “It’s truly a unique opportunity for buyers to view and meet this collection of artisans and we’re happy to provide that forum.”

Qualified attendees who register between now and June 30, 2018 will automatically be entered to win a free trip to the American Handcrafted Orlando show.  The winner receives a one-night hotel stay at the Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa in Orlando, plus a $500 American Express gift card to cover the cost of airfare. Official rulesare listed on the website.

A few of the artists participating include:

Diane Quarles, owner and artist of Aspen Light Glass Studio has been creating for 9 years.  She began oil painting and creating stained glass as a creative outlet and to manage stress from school.  Quarles explained, “When fused glass started to emerge as a serious alternative glass form, I started to experiment with fusing, slumping and casting. It wasn’t until I was introduced to painting with light, or firing in layers with crushed or frit glass, that I was able to bring my love of glass and my passion for painting together in one art form. It was love at first sight (or first sift!) and I have been practicing frit painting ever since.”

Mike Prieto is owner of Barrell-Art. It began when he took up woodworking to replace furniture that he and his wife lost in a fire. What started as a hobby of necessity became one of passion.  For five years, Barrel-Art has specialized in creating functional, handmade works of art from reclaimed wine barrels. “We hand-craft flights, pens, furniture, and metal art designs. We pride ourselves in delivering beautifully finished products from upcycled materials,” said Prieto. “Always preserving the natural red wine stained underside of the staves and in some of our pieces we feature the galvanized steel hoops of the barrel.”

Chiara Reading, an artist for 7 years, is the designer maker for My Wildest Dreams Studio. “I didn’t know I had an artistic bone in my body until I was 40 years old!!,” said Reading. “A friend was taking a stained glass class for a few weeks and asked if we wanted to try it with her. The first time I scored a piece of glass and it broke the way I wanted to, something clicked and I was hooked!” She started the business part time in 2009 and two years later left her job as an executive recruiter to be in the business full-time. My Wildest Dreams Studio’s Nature’s Glory series is featured in over 50 shops and galleries across the USA and Canada.

Elsa Mikus has been creating for 29 years and is the force behind Tempest in a Teapot.  She always had a ‘day job’ but enjoyed artistic endeavors and crafts in her free time. “I had longed to make jewelry for years but didn’t have the skills to do so,” Mikus explained.  “Not just putting beads on a string, but actually forming metal into different shapes.  I began taking a few silversmithing lessons and found a mentor to show me how to work with the silver plate flatware.”  In her latest adventure, she creates wearable art from discarded silver plate and sterling flatware.

Sylvi Harwin of eclat by Sylvi Harwin has been creating since 1960.  She began making jewelry as a teen. “I was already into color, making pieces with stained glass and ‘paper mache’. Sylvia Ullman’s American Crafts Gallery found me and actually started to buy from me the year I graduated from high school,” said Harwin.  In college, she was a painter/sculptor but still made jewelry and sold to classmates and galleries around the college. Later she enrolled in jewelry making at the Cleveland Institute of Art and was making mixed metal photo etched one-of-a-kind pieces. After graduating, she moved to Mexico to study jewelry making from a top professor, then on to Paris.  “Finally, I moved back to the states to study anodizing aluminum with Arlene Fisch at UC San Diego in 1980 where I learned to anodize my own work.”

Jodi Bombardier is a metalsmith, author, instructor and owner of Jodi Bombardier Jewelry.  She also contributed projects to two wire wrapping books authored by Denise Peck, and has worked with leather as well. “I very much enjoy working with both materials and have designed a line of men’s and women’s leather bracelets, copper cuffs and copper bracelets,” said Bombardier. “I am inspired by color, geometric shapes (primarily architecture) and the “cool” factor of my end products which makes me want to design more!”

Shirley Price-McGrew has been creating for 32 years and is owner of Shirley Price Limited Editions.  Born in Canada, her artistic life path has taken many turns, starting with selling hand-knitted baby booties at age 10. “I recall my artistic mother saying, ‘art is a story worth telling,’” shares Price-McGrew.  “After many attempts at different venues of art, I found my story when I discovered precious metal work! I am drawn to the quiet balance of the Asian culture and inspired by beautiful, colorful cabochons mined from our fabulous earth. The single pearl found on each of my hand fabricated pieces is my well recognized signature/trademark. It’s not just jewelry, it’s magic in art!”

For more about these artisans’stories, visit the website. American Handcrafted Orlando will also feature seminars, and networking opportunities. It will be co-located with Surf Expo, a resource for east coast resorts, providing a wider range of products for the handmade buyer.  Registration isopen.

About American Handcrafted 

American Handcrafted events focus on authentic craftsmanship and design showcasing established artists representing all mediums along with new and up-and-coming makers from the contemporary maker movement.  American Handcrafted Orlando will be the first event to take place in 2018 under the new branding and will be held September 6-8, 2018 at the Orange County Convention Center.  Attendees including art & fine craft galleries, modern gift & home stores, independent retailers, art institutions, e-retailers, national retail chains, and museums are expected to attend.

American Handcrafted is owned by Emerald Expositions, the largest operator of business-to-business trade shows in the United States, with most of our shows dating back several decades.  Our events connect over 500,000 global attendees and exhibitors and occupy more than 6.9 million NSF of exhibition space.  We have been recognized with many awards and accolades that reflect our industry leadership as well as the importance of our shows to the exhibitors and attendees we serve.  More information about American Handcrafted Orlando can be found at


Allison Garafalo

(914) 421-3212