Crafting a new market

Published 10:12 am Thursday, May 12, 2016

Illinois hot sauce maker Amber Button will be one of the several artisans featured at the spring market. (Submitted photo)

Illinois hot sauce maker Amber Button will be one of the several artisans featured at the spring market. (Submitted photo)

A pair of Dowagiac artists are looking to showcase some of the goods, crafts and works designed and created by some hidden talents living in the local area and beyond.

The first-ever Spring Makers Market will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at the south parking lot of First United Methodist Church, located on Lowe Street in Dowagiac. The one-day market will feature the works of several different area artisans, including custom made jewelry, wood crafts, fabric arts, food, home décor, art, up-cycled items and photography.

Organizing the art show are Dowagiac’s Suellen Gause and Marie Keller, who will be selling nature photography and fabric/up-cycled artwork at the event, respectively.

According to Gause, other artists who have signed up to participate include Marcy Mitchell, a Dowagiac custom jewelry designer; Joe Tuka, another Dowagiac artist who specializes in making jewelry from wooly mammoth ivory; Cynthia King, a Dowagiac resident who creates incense; Donna Wiese, a Niles artist who makes knitted items; Stephanie Krueger, a Cassopolis arts who creates hand-knitted and painted gifts and accessories; and Amber Button, owner of Illinois-based hot sauce and salsa maker AmberFyre Foods.

Gause and Keller have sought to host a Dowagiac artisan market since last fall, Gause said. The two have had booths at several shows around the area over the past several years, including at the Dowagiac Farm and Artisan Market during the summer and the Arts and Craft Show in the winter, she said.

Wanting an event to fill in the gap between local art shows, the two artists decided to call on some of the people they’ve met a various other markets to see if they would be interested in showcasing their wares in a local springtime event, Gause said.

“There’s a lot of people with a lot of talent that nobody really knows about,” she said.

Depending on the success of next Saturday’s event, Gause and Keller will look to host several of these markets a year, she said.

Visitors to the market will find high-quality items they likely haven’t seen in a mall or other retail shop, she said.

“When you buy something a craft show, like a custom-made purse, it’s special,” Gause said. “You’re not going to find two or three other people with the same bag.”

The organizers are looking to have around a dozen artisans participate in the sale. People who are interested in signing up should contact Gause at