Meet Our Makers: A Profile of Seamstress Rebecca Joy

Meet Rebecca Joy. She grew up on a dairy farm in Connecticut and moved to Fredonia five years ago after marrying village native Andy Joy. The couple met at college and both work for J.M. Joy Farms, which produces brown eggs, chicken, pork, goat meat and live goats for 4-H projects. They also farm grapes, field corn, grains, and vegetables. She has an associate degree in dairy cattle production and management and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business.

Joy works as a program facilitator for the Girl Scouts of Western New York and a grape inspector for Welch’s. Her days and nights are pretty busy: she is also a certified kids’ yoga instructor and an active volunteer and board member of the nonprofit Fredonia Farmers’ Market.

Rebecca Joy’s vibrant, one-of-a-kind handmade flag pennants will be displayed prominently throughout the Williams Center and the Science Center during the Fredonia Mini Maker Faire on the campus of The State University of New York at Fredonia on Saturday, Oct. 22, to help you find your way around the free circus of creativity.

As a child, Joy was very active in her local 4-H and that is where she honed her skills as a seamstress and Maker. She first picked up a needle and thread at 7 years old.

“My first project was an elastic-waist skirt,” she recalls. “It had seashells on it.”

The 4-H projects got more challenging every year.

“I have to thank my mom, both grandmothers and a few 4-H leaders who helped me better my skills,” she says.

rebecca-joy-and-myra-rose-ffm-summer-2016

Joy, pictured with her daughter, Myra Rose, is also on the board of the nonprofit Fredonia Farmers’ Market and occasionally hosts kids’ yoga sessions there on a volunteer basis.

drake-joy-summer-2016-ffm

Drake often accompanies his mother and sister to the Fredonia Farmers’ Market.

Her children – Drake and Myra Rose – are her main source of inspiration, followed by the fabrics and supplies she has on hand.

“If I see something online or in a magazine that I like, I usually modify the item into something that I love,” she says. “I rarely use a pattern, but if I do I make the pattern myself 95% of the time. If someone tells me what they are thinking of for the final product, I usually can visualize it and make it happen.”

Joy does some custom-order projects and tailoring by request on the side.

“I’m constantly hemming pants, fixing zippers on jackets and completing orders,” she says. “I’ve patched holes in shirts and I have even fixed a patio umbrella.”

She dabbles in many crafty areas – knitting, crocheting and repurposing among them. Right now she is attempting to quilt two blankets but is finding that quilting isn’t her favorite genre.

The path to learning a new skill and starting challenging products isn’t always easy, and Joy’s advice for burgeoning makers is to keep trying.

“It can be hard,” says Joy. “I cried sometimes when I was younger working on my 4-H projects, but in the end I loved what I had made. I still have times where I want to give up on an order. Instead I put it down for a couple days and then return to it. Sometimes you just need to walk a way to get a fresh perspective. I return to the project after a couple days and – voila – it’s a cinch to finish.”

maker-faire-rebecca-joy-designed-kids-skirt

One of Joy’s most popular sewn items are her one-of-a-kind patchwork-style skirts. She occasionally vends at the Fredonia Farmers’ Market and takes custom orders.

As her talents and interests have evolved, Joy has found that her creative habits and thriftiness have served to enhance her family and professional life.

“I have become more resourceful,” says Joy. “Right now I am reusing scraps of fabric that I didn’t know what to do with to turn into a rug.”

Joy just attended the Pittsburgh Maker Faire held the weekend of Oct. 15 and says it was a “great experience.”

“I feel that some of the Makers’ crafts are a dying art,” she says. “So educating others and possibly getting them to spark an interest in a new craft is awesome and beneficial to so many.”

Joy is pleased her pennants will be featured throughout the faire although she is unable to participate as a featured Maker due to work commitments – it is grape harvesting season, after all. But she is hoping to stop by to check it out depending on her schedule.

“Duty calls,” laughs Joy. “Grape season is my busiest time but at the very least I’ll be at the Maker Faire in spirit.”

Admirers of Joy’s work are welcome to direct custom design and tailoring inquiries to bizzybee138@hotmail.com.

rebecca-and-myra-at-ffm-meeting-winter-2016

Joy and Myra Rose at a recent meeting of the board of directors of the Fredonia Farmers’ Market.

 

MEET OUR MAKERS: A profile of screen-printer Carrie Rinehart of Rusterior Design

Meet Carrie Rinehart. The Forestville resident is the director of fund development and communication for CASA of Chautauqua, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children in foster care. But Rinehart is also the proprietor of Rusterior Design, a successful screen-printing apparel and décor shop. She grew up in a family of Makers and was always surrounded by creativity.

“I was always singing and dancing and doodling as a child,” recalls Rinehart. “But I never considered myself an artist because I couldn’t draw or paint.”

She never had any sort of official, professional training but she dabbled in a lot of creative pursuits in her youth – sewing, photography and printing. But it wasn’t until she was an adult that she considered herself an artist.

“I started sewing scarves and accessories as gifts,” says Rinehart, and her friends and family “went nuts.” So she listed some for sale on Etsy.com and sales were promising.

“Then one day I sewed a silhouette of a buffalo on a tank top and began vending at farmers’ markets and my business really took off from there,” she says of one of Rusterior Designs’ most popular products. Other hot Rusterior Design items include T-shirts and onesies for kids that say “Wild Roamer” in the outline of a buffalo, and a sweater that says “Stay Cool Buffalo.” Besides adult and children’s apparel, the company also offers shopping totes, coasters and décor.

The resurgence of pride in and love for Buffalo was on Rinehart’s side as Western New York is seeing an uptick in homebuyers and population. People are prouder than ever of their Buffalo connections and are eager to don apparel proclaiming their hometown affection.

So Rinehart, who has a bachelor’s degree in public relations from The State University of New York at Fredonia, began focusing on building her brand.

“So I took a very down-and-dirty screen-printing basics class in Buffalo and I fell in love with screen-printing,” says Rinehart, who has been screen-printing for about three years and is more enamored with it every day. “I love how simple-yet-complex it is and how you have the ability to create something so detailed and unique since every print will always have a slight variation.”

Rinehart built her simple screen-printing set-up out of an old door.

“I didn’t want to invest a whole lot of money and I still use that same press today,” she says. “Sure, now I can afford a fancy press, but I love my rustic press.”

Rinehart’s creativity extends to all aspects of her life. Less than a year ago she and her wife founded a small hobby farm at their residence called Off the Rine. She purchased and is in the process of renovating a 1973 Air Stream Ambassador named “Carole” to become a mobile retail/farm store which they plan to open in Spring 2017.

Rinehart is happily married to the love of her life. “Amber is my anchor every day,” says Rinehart. “I really couldn’t do what I do without her.”

Amber teaches film and communications at Erie County Community College. She has a master’s degree in documentary film-making. The couple also recently adopted three children from foster care and couldn’t be happier.

“Our kids are my inspiration to be better every single day,” Rinehart says. “I hope they will look back and see me as a hardworking role model and hopefully one of them takes over the family business.”

rusterior-the-rinehart-family

Carrie Rinehart, far right, with her wife Amber Rinehart, left, and their three adorable children live at Off the Rine, a farm in Forestville.

Rinehart is excited to be a featured Maker at the first Fredonia Mini Maker Faire and hopes it becomes an annual event. Attendees can meet Rinehart at the Fredonia Mini Maker Faire on Oct. 22, admire her screen-printing process and even try their hand at it. She made a special #makersgonnamake print especially for the faire. Those interested are encouraged to bring a T-shirt, tote or other item they’d like to screen-print.

“I have high hopes for the Maker Movement in Chautauqua,” says Rinehart. “The encouragement to be creative, to get your hands dirty and produce something yourself is so important in this day and age. Imagination is a beautiful thing and it’s great to make something yourself, hold it in your hands, show it off and say ‘I made it.’ ”

You can see more of her designs at her Etsy shop, like her Facebook page and learn more at the Rusterior Design website.

Get a glimpse of where our Mini Maker Faire is happening on Fredonia campus

Our small team of organizers and producers is working feverishly to prepare for the first Fredonia Mini Maker Faire on the campus of The State University of New York at Fredonia on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016.

We want to take a moment to share with you some images of the buildings on campus where the bulk of Maker Faire activities, displays and demonstrations will take place.

The event is happening in two spaces – the new, state-of-the-art, award-winning Science Center as well as the Williams Center – with a bevy of food trucks parked in between the two buildings. Additionally, we will have Makers, displays, demonstrations and performers scattered between the buildings and on the lawns and common areas around the heart of the beautiful campus.

fredonia state Science_Center_Birdseye

The new Science Center is as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside. The TeaRex Cafe is a popular spot to pause for a bubble tea and other refreshments.

 

fredonia-state-williams_center

The Williams Center will host a variety of Makers and make-and-take activities as well. There is a Tim  Hortons in the building where attendees can purchase food and drinks.

 

In addition to the food trucks onsite, there is also a newly refurbished Starbucks at Cranston Hall.

There is ample free parking on campus on Ring Road and in various lots scattered across campus.

 

 

Manual, agreement sent to Makers

The Fredonia Mini Maker Faire’s MAKER MANUAL and MAKER AGREEMENT were sent out this week.

We apologize for the delay in sending them; we had to resolve some technical issues that hindered submission.

If you did not receive them please download them here or e-mail us at makerfaire@e2ccb.org.

We appreciate your patience as we prepare for the Oct. 22 main event!

MEET OUR MAKERS: A profile of beach glass artist Tracy Smith-Dengler

Meet Tracy Smith-Dengler. By day she toils as Manager of the Central Business Office for the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES. But in her off hours she makes stunning, one-of-a-kind creations featuring Lake Erie beach glass.

Smith-Dengler fashions unique lampshades, vases, ornaments and decorative items from her finds and gifts them to friends and loved ones. There is something suitably poetic about repurposing random chunks of smooth glass discovered among the beach detritus then creating something useful and beautiful before re-introducing it in its new form.

She says she likes to put her art back out into the world, and has joined the organizers of the upcoming Fredonia Mini Maker Faire to help inspire a legion of local Makers.

“Most of the time I try to stay under the radar with my making,” said Smith-Dengler. “But I’d like to help us grow our Maker Faire and encourage others to participate.”

It might surprise you to learn Smith-Dengler isn’t a lifelong artist. In fact, she got her start less than a decade ago in an effort to honor the memory of a beloved friend who left behind an impressive collection of beach glass.

“It’s never too late to start learning something that really grabs you,” said Smith-Dengler. “I was already in my mid-40’s before I ever gave my craft a thought and have only been doing it for about five years. I find myself amazed at what I’ve learned and how far I’ve taken it in just that short period of time.”

Mourning their mutual friend, Smith-Dengler and a pal enjoyed some wine while reminiscing and brainstorming ways to keep her spirit alive through her love for beach glass. Eventually, a group of friends decided to take an art class to learn and explore ways to utilize the beach glass. It wasn’t for everyone, but Smith-Dengler was soon immersed in the pursuit of a new passion and hasn’t looked back.

“Once you find the thing that really excites you, you’ll find a way to work it into your life – regardless of all other constraints,” said Smith-Dengler.

Spoken like a true Maker.

MAKING IT HAPPEN

The inaugural Fredonia Mini Maker Faire, which is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, is slated Saturday, Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the campus of Fredonia. A variety of Makers will be sharing their talents in The Science Center and The Williams Center. You can meet Smith-Dengler there, admire her artistry and perhaps find your passion, too.

The event is a collaboration of Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES, MAKE magazine and Fredonia along with the generous support of the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, the Chautauqua County Region Community Foundation, the Chautauqua Cattaraugus Library System, Lumsden McCormick LLC, Kensington tech supply, Dell and the Phyllis and Lawrence Patrie Endowment for the Sciences.