Handmade Arcade features artists who create unique gifts
Shane Henderson has always been mesmerized by the intricacies of architecture.
So the New Kensington native, who now lives in Tarentum, began drawing iconic buildings in his hometown in March of 2016 and expanded his artwork into other areas to include sports arenas and places of worship.
“Influenced by art deco, minimalism and flat design, and also having an interest in architecture and history, I set out to render many of the ‘landmark’ buildings of my hometown in that same style,” he says. “Soon after the initial 10 or so designs I created were finished, I began to branch out to create renditions of other towns and their landmark buildings.”
The collection, which is continuing and includes both digital and screen prints, will be available at Handmade Arcade on Dec. 8 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.
This will be Henderson’s first time being a vendor at the event. On average, it takes him a week to make one of the drawings.
He was inspired to draw by his father, Don, who is also a graphic designer and trained his son to draw by hand. Then, they both learned how to do drawings on a computer and started a company five years ago — Henderson Graphic Design & Illustration based in New Kensington.
“It feels great when someone loves the work I do,” Shane Henderson says. “I believe in buying local and supporting other artists.”
The Dec. 8 event will be the largest ever for Pittsburgh’s award-winning independent craft fair. Handmade Arcade celebrates the cutting edge of craft by connecting creators and consumers through making, sharing and learning.
Showcasing more than 200 innovative craft-based artists, designers and makers from all over Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania and the United States, Handmade Arcade is the region’s leading shop-small, buy-local event of the holiday season.
Items include clothing, artwork, bath and beauty items, jewelry, housewares, children’s products, paper goods and more. Pittsburgh’s first and largest independent craft fair since 2004, Handmade Arcade will also feature an early birdie shopping preview, an all-ages Hands-on Handmade activity area, art raffles, a framers’ market where visitors can buy frames and learn about framing, a youth maker alley and music by local disc jockeys.
This year’s event includes 239 vendors – including 83 first-timers –18 craft corridor vendors of emerging artists and 16 activities at the Hands-On Handmade area. There will be 10 youth makers.
Henderson was introduced to Handmade Arcade through a fellow artist and former classmate at Valley High School, Meghan Tutolo. He bought one of her alcohol paintings for his mother, Pam, for Christmas last year. Tutolo, a New Kensington native who now lives in Regent Square, will be participating for a second year at Handmade Arcade.
“It is an awesome event,” she says. “I remember last year people who were waiting in line running in the minute they opened the door, like you see at Black Friday sales.
“It’s the perfect place to shop for eclectic gifts, and there are a lot of great vendors.”
Tutolo makes pins, magnets and greeting cards. She says she tries to make unique items and sell them in an interesting way.
She places the pins in capsules and puts them in 1950s-vintage gumball machinesthat she found on the internet. For 50 cents, customers can turn the crank and see which one comes out — just like when buying a gumball, the pin that comes out is a surprise.
“It’s unknown, and I have always loved that kind of suspense,” says Tutolo, who also contracts as a copy writer for DeLallo Italian Marketplace in Jeannette and teaches English at the University of Pittsburgh in Greensburg.
Her company is 1flychicken, which sells handmade gifts, art, cards and miscellany on etsy.com. Her work can be viewed on her website, http://1flychicken.com
“My advice to Shane is to bring as much as he can possibly fit in his vehicle, because you will sell a lot of stuff,” she says. “People who come to Handmade Arcade appreciate meeting the artist and they like to hear about how an item was made. It is so much fun to be part of such a wonderful community of artists. Some of us know each other because we’ve done other shows together.”
Henderson, whose website is buildingsbyshane.com , says he couldn’t believe how many people attend Handmade Arcade and how many interesting items there are to choose from.
“I think the shoppers there appreciate something that’s not mass-produced and that’s authentic,” Henderson says.
He discovers subjects to draw from taking photos wherever he goes and then works in Adobe Illustrator on the computer. He makes poster-size and miniature prints, using 50-percent recycled paper from Mohawk Paper Co.
Henderson started making them for the 125th anniversary of New Kensington. He says he wanted to do some kind of artwork to commemorate this milestone.
The first one was the original home of the Hilltop Fire Engine Company in New Kensington.
There were so many interesting landmarks in his hometown and then he expanded to the city of Pittsburgh and discovered many more. He also has done some commissioned work.
Henderson says his creations of former landmarks like Forbes Field, the Civic Arena and Three Rivers Stadium are popular.
He plans to have at least three of each design. He has made 80 different ones in a variety of colors.
The most recent addition to his collection is a Tree of Life design. Having a Jewish relative who fought in World War II, Shane Henderson says he felt he had to do something for the families of victims of the Oct. 27 shooting. He is donating proceeds from sales of that item to the Go Fund Me page for the victims’ families.
“I can’t believe people can hate so much,” he says. “For something so terrible to happen in Pittsburgh, that doesn’t happen here. I wanted to do something.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062 , email@example.com or via Twitter @Jharrop_Trib.