Handmade Art Studios by Mark Fenton

MARK FENTON'S ARTWORK can be as mystical as a Zen mandala for a yoga studio or as accessible as a sexy mermaid for a barroom. But in either case, he starts with a blank pine disk, and he finishes with “wall art.” That's what he calls it, which is significant because his process is not complete until someone wants to hang it on the wall.

His round, indoor wall signs combine his training in graphic design and sign-painting with his “huge love of advertising art.” Mark deftly cuts his crisp, clean designs into the wood, and paints them in colors that are unambiguous and often vivid. The work can be nostalgic, humorous and/or provocative. The result looks iconic, but if you've never heard of the company advertised, maybe it's because Mark dreamed it up. Sometimes he hasn't; clients engage him wanting signs that will impart that instant resonance and pang of deja vu.

 Mandalas – some original and some from ancient India – are Mark's other design specialty. “I started carving spiritual things to quiet my mind,” he said, and now they are embraced by seekers of peace through meditation or yoga. He also does “a lot of work for people in recovery, and these designs make connections for them and put them in a better place.” Especially popular is “The Tree of Life,” a botanical take on the Zen yin/yang symbol.

 Whether seeking enlightenment or amusement, the viewer is the unseen influence in his studio. With his inventive ad art, “I love to trigger emotions in people, to bring back memories,” he said. “Sure, I want to express myself, but it's not just one-way. I want my work to spark conversations. Engaging the people – that's my reward.”

Come see Mark Fenton at McConkey’s Market on June 15 from 10-4 in Washington Crossing Historic Park.

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Anna Welsh, littlebags.BIGIMPACT

Some entrepreneurs work around their day jobs while they build their businesses. Anna Welsh must work around school and homework. Just 13 years old, Anna is CEO of a thriving company that combines fashion, recycling and philanthropy.  

“I handmake bags from recycled materials, and I donate 15% of proceeds to Tree House Books, which provides free books to kids in Philadelphia,” says Anna, a graduate of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, a national program that helps young adults find their passion and create businesses.   

Anna has been sewing since age six, but her business idea wasn’t born until 2016 when she made three clutch bags for her mom. Soon, strangers were asking where her mom got the bags. They were astounded when they heard the answer.

Today, Anna’s company, littlebags.BIGIMPACT, is churning out eye-catching clutches, mini-clutches, sunglass cases and more from fabric that would otherwise be thrown out. In just two years, she has recycled over 1,000 pounds of fabric and donated enough money to purchase 1,000 books for children in need.     

Come see Anna on June 15 from 10AM – 4PM at McConkey’s Market in Washington Crossing Historic Park (PA).

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The Path Less Raveled

The Path Less Raveled

Vendor Spotlight: Megan Groves, The Path Less Raveled

“I always remember my mom sewing, and at a very young age she taught me,” Megan says. “By the time I was in high school I was sewing quilts, clothes and even an 1880s reproduction ball gown. I’ve always loved vintage and historical fashion, so creating clothes with vintage style was a natural progression for me.”

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Florance and Leah

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Julie Bradley-Norton’s jewelry business started with a pair of leather pants that no longer fit. After holding out hope that she would fit into them again (who can relate?), Julie eventually gave up, got out her scissors and began cutting – voila…up-cycled leather jewelry!

“I love the feel of the leather in my hands and its endless possibilities,” says Julie. “I meticulously cut each piece by hand with an exacto knife and cuticle scissors. I then paint one side with a metallic paint because I want contrast to wear the piece with dark or light outfits.” The result is a one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art.  

Julie’s company name, “Florance and Leah,” honors her grandmothers – one a social butterfly immigrant and the other an artistic, quiet farm girl. Although both have passed, they continue to inspire this self-described “Jersey girl.”  
Come see Florance and Leah on June 15 from 10AM – 4PM at McConkey’s Market in Washington Crossing Historic Park (PA).