For years, Rebecca Ruger collected the smooth pieces of glass that washed up on Lake Erie’s beaches. It started out as a pastime, but one day, she had a creative impulse and used some of the pieces to make a piece of artwork as a gift for her boyfriend. After that, she continued to create glass-based artwork, selling the pieces at craft shows alongside her jewelry-maker daughter. The work began to grow in popularity, and today, Ruger owns her own art boutique—Beach Bum Glass Cottage.
According to metroWNY, Ruger and her boyfriend now spend more than 20 hours each week scouring the Hamburg beaches for the glass, driftwood, and fossils that she uses to make the artwork and jewelry in her shop. Ruger also supports other local artisans by stocking handmade products that range from dog treats to soy candles.
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Brandon Tallau and Samantha Tagliarino founded OffBeat Emporium to give new character to vintage furniture pieces that would otherwise be taking up space in a landfill. Tallau and Tagliarino along with their crew of artists, restore furniture and home accessories back to the original quality or transform it into an offbeat piece with bold colors and patterns.
Jenny’s Clayhouse, one of Buffalo’s first and only paint-your-own-pottery studios, calls out to artists and craftists looking to cast off faded paint-by-number books to animate stylish ceramics while sipping on home-brought spirits. Sloping picture windows span from floor to ceiling in the airy space, splashing sunlight across the studio’s selection of domestic staples—including mugs, plates, and piggy banks. After guests gleam the once-white objets d'art, Jenny’s staff will summon flames to bake and glaze the handheld masterpieces to protect them from wear and raw-food dieters. Pintsize painters can polish their brushstrokes at Jenny’s summer-camp sessions, or gather friends, teachers, and New York Times art critics for a pottery-painting birthday party or after-school outing.
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