Friday, December 3, 2010

Interview: Leon and Lulu Artists Market

Leon & Lulu's Artists' Market Attracts Hundreds

Dozens of artists from across the state were at Leon & Lulu on Sunday selling their unique works at the Clawson store's Artists' Market.

The event attracted hundreds of customers who got the opportunity to meet with creators of the artwork. Co-owner Mary Liz Curtin said the store will host four two-day Artists' Markets each year. The first market was in August 2009 and Curtin said high turnout has encouraged her to continue the events.

"We've always had high standards," Curtin said about the jury-selected artists featured in the event. The market has become so popular that, "we have more artist supply than we can accommodate," she said.

On Sunday, 41 different artists presented a variety of unique items for shoppers to browse. Julie Race, who makes recycled items, displayed cloth snack bags and decorative owl pillows made from sweaters.

"The event is wonderful," said Sandy O'Brien of Midnight Creations in Birmingham. O'Brien sold handmade purses, totes and other accessories created from various fabrics. "Everything I make is simple and functional; the fabric does the work."

Kindle Wear, a home-based business, offered a line of screen-printed clothing designed by West Bloomfield artist Kyle Staulter, who said she is "inspired by vintage illustrations."

Janice Degen, of Bloomfield Township, sold jewelry that she called giftables. "I like to take out my frustrations" while making jewelry, she said. "Banging and beating on a piece of metal really helps."

Kim Grant, an artist from Grand Rapids, was popular among patrons at the event. Grant's art comes in the form of handmade cat toys. Filled with strong catnip, her toys were available in fabric fortune cookies, martini glasses, bumpy pickles and more. "The packaging is more for the people; the toys are more for the cats," Grant said.

Sherrie Singer, of the home business Girlie Goodz, nearly sold out of her "Handbags for Healing," which are designed to raise charitable funds after a friend was diagnosed with cancer.

One satisfied customer was Gretchen Greenwood who bought a Girlie Goodz purse. "I love my new handbag," Greenwood said. "I'll never find another one like this."

Many artists who participated in the market were pleased with the event.

The variety "is what makes the event so much fun," said Patrice Pannill who makes paper art, cuff bracelets and free-form bead art. "The wonderful thing is, the people that work (at Leon & Lulu) totally reflect the atmosphere."

The Artists' Market not only caterted to customers and artists, but also to charity. The event benefits Cass Community Social Services by selling their mud mats. Cass employs homeless men to collect abandoned tires around Detroit and recycle them into handmade mud mats and 100 percent of the profits go back to the nonprofit. Leon & Lulu also served hot dogs, beer, wine and other snacks and beverages, donating all tips to Cass Community Social Services.


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