One of our favorite holiday traditions is the I Made It! for the Holidays market events between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. We love this nomadic indie craft marketplace! This year, they have two holiday events set up and the possibility of more. We always find something magnificent at these markets. I’m really glad that they are back at The Waterfront this year.
I Made It! for the Holidays will take place over two days, December 1 and 2, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm both days. Shoppers looking for locally handmade gifts will find 100+ artists in the former Macy’s department store building, located at 162 East Bridge Street, Homestead, PA 15120.
Last Minute Shopping will take place on December 15 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Shoppers looking for locally handmade gifts will find 90+ artists in The Block Northway’s South Atrium, located at 8013 McKnight Rd, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15237.
To celebrate how much we love these events, we asked a few of the vendors to complete a special edition of our Quick Q&A. We will publish them from now through the wrapping up of these holiday events (see what I did there?) Please note that I did not edit responses. Also note that this is not a formal promotional post even though I may receive products to review in the future. Just being transparent …
Next up … Ladybug Delightz
Your Name: April Minech
Your Age: 50
Your Pronouns: she/her
Your Affiliations: My business is LadybugDelightz, and I create pop art animal portraits and custom orders of pets. IMIM has allowed me to grow as an artist by meeting other artists and creating opportunities to be an artist full time. That’s a pretty big deal, getting to do what I love everyday!
How do you describe your identity? Straight married woman, open to listening and trying to understand and support others; we all experience the world differently and that should be celebrated.
How do you describe your creative enterprise? For the last 20 years, I enjoyed volunteering at animal shelters and rescues, especially studying behavior and trying to meet animals on their level. Learning about how animals think and perceive the world is fascinating and also helped me understand things about myself. My knees don’t allow me to do as much as I used to physically, so I support animal welfare by donating 50% of my work to shelters and rescues. Helping animals always makes me feel good, and my art serves as therapy for whenever I’m going through rough patches. LOL, I have hundreds of designs.
Tell us three fun/unique/quirky facts about your creation(s)? Thought I came up with my style out of pure creative genius, but then realized it’s based on the quilting that I used to help my mom with. Once you see the connection, it seems obvious. Bright colors and patterns as well as animals make me happy, and I try to infuse that joy into my work. All of my portraits are real animals; most are from shelters and express the individual and happy things I see in them in spite of their situation.
Please tell us about the first LGBTQ person that you knew and what impact they had on your life. Coming from a small (minded) Catholic background, I grew up thinking everyone thought and felt the same way, and there was only one right way to be. I knew there were gay people in the outside world, maybe in places like NYC, but never “spotted” one. When I heard a rumor that my friend D. was gay, I didn’t know what to think. It really opened my eyes to the fact people all around me were all on different paths with different struggles and goals. There were no examples of how to act in my community (except for not to talk about it), so I just tried to be nice and let her know I was there if she ever needed anything and that I was her friend. Since that light bulb moment, I try to be more conscious and sensitive to other people.
Are there any queer/LGBTQ creators our readers should know about/follow/support either in Pittsburgh or beyond? Not sure I have a good answer here, but everyone has a story so don’t be afraid to ask if you see art that moves you.
Please share one bit of advice you would offer to customers attending an IMIM event. There are many talented artists and makers out there trying to share a part of themselves and make a living as well. It’s not easy to put yourself out there, so pausing and appreciating what you see is welcome. A few don’ts: Don’t take pictures without asking, it’s viewed as stealing ideas. Don’t haggle or make rude comments about price; imagine going to work everyday and constantly having someone trying to pay you less than your expected salary. Don’t say “I can make this at home for $2”. No you can’t, lady.
Where can readers find you on social media/online? My etsy store is www.LadybugDelightz.com, and I’m working on creating more of a presence. I’m old and it takes me awhile to figure out technology.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you, your creations, IMIM, or anything at all? We all have struggles, and I think that’s just part of the journey. I have what I collectively call the “crazies” – a mix of depression, anxiety, and who knows what other undiagnosed conditions. But along with challenges come gifts; for me it’s art and a connection with animals. Focus on the gifts. And it’s OK to be open and talk about what you are going through with others, and more important, to listen and be open when others are talking to us. We need to hold each other up. Bonus: the secret to life: be patient, be kind.
Gifts available at both events are all handmade by local artists, including 2-D art, clothing and toys for infants and children, bath and body products, ceramics, fiber art, glass art, homewares, jewelry, leather goods, pop culture and fandom gifts, pet treats, and wooden wares. Ready to eat and packaged food and beverages will also be available.
These family-friendly events are free and open to the public. Children’s activities will be available for little ones to create holiday gifts of their own.
Check out the I Made It! Market Facebook page to stay connected and learn more.