Ventura– Shoppers ready to soak up the sun and pick up some great gifts flocked to downtown Ventura on Saturday, Feb. 12, and enjoyed the first art market of the year at its new location on California Street next to Lure.
VSHERRINGBONE and performers connected with audiences, had fun, and sold handmade treasures that made customers smile.
Viro with Uniques by Viro sold items with her husband Stan and her dog Snowball.
“I sell bracelets, magnets, pictures, wind chimes, face masks; you name it, I do it all,” she said.
Snowball resists the molding of Viro’s new creations.
“He doesn’t like it, but if he liked it, I would,” she laughed. “I’m an abstract artist and I’m very creative, so I decided to do this. I also make beach lamps and have my works in several stores.
When she creates something, she puts her material in front of her and decides what she is going to do.
“There are a lot of talented people here,” she said.
Stan supports his wife and her artistic creation for the world.
“I don’t create it and I never advise her on how to do it,” he said. “I mule his stuff. I am the mule and I make whatever has to happen happen for her.
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Michael Graves with American Ruin produces beautiful custom leather goods and personalized items.
“Everything from the mundane like belts, wallets and purses to quirky items like obedience items,” he said. “We work with engraved leather goods and artwork that you can only get from American Ruin.”
He said being an entrepreneur is the best thing you can do.
“Work on your own bottom line, not someone else’s,” he said.
Graves said they are preparing to open a store in Zander Alley in downtown Ventura.
“As soon as the firefighters clear us, we’ll be open,” said Mya Graves. “It’s going to be awesome.”
Michael said an intricately designed leather item takes about an hour to create if stamped by hand.
“It depends on the design,” he said.
To view all of Michael’s creations, visit americanruin.com.
Amun Levy of Alterbeastalchemy sold handmade copper jewelry using a technique called electroforming.
“It’s a kind of chemical aging process using electricity and a special solution,” he said. “It’s like electroplating, except you can electroplate organic objects. I have these shells that I can cover with copper.
A necklace with galvanized mushrooms has real mushrooms inside.
“I have a real copper-plated nib,” he said. “More recently I started goldsmithing, so I have a bit of goldsmithing as well.”
Levy said that sometimes he would get inspiration all at once, while other times his designs are the by-product of an intuitive process.
“I have some things like rocks that I picked up or found on my hikes,” he said. “I found these little mouse skulls on one of my hikes. This guy (mouse skull) had a crack in his skull, and I thought he must have crystals coming out of his head. I have all these weird crystals and things lying around, and it’s like spontaneous combustion, it’s about finding things in nature and bringing them to life.
Levy started this business two years ago and said by trade; he is a graphic and motion designer.
“When Covid-19 hit I lost most of my freelance clients,” he said. “I have an art studio with nothing but free time and I’m a mushroom enthusiast. Mushrooms, the different shapes and sizes and variations, it made me want to create things out of I had this process so I could make jewelry out of things in nature that I found.
Jet Kauffman makes essential oil rolls and said it started with hiking with Levy, and the bugs would go crazy.
“I would do different bug repellent mixes to try,” Kauffman said. “I refined it into a pretty good recipe, and he was like, why don’t you start selling them? I started making different mixes for different types of things and I gave them to my friends to test them out. Now I’m selling them casually, and it’s kind of fun.
To see the creations of Levy and Kauffman, visit Alterbeastalchemy.Etsy.com.