Want to treat yourself – or someone special – to something unique and boost Ohio’s economy? Check out these five makers and their fantastic products.
Honeyrun Farm in Williamsport
South of Columbus in rural Pickaway County, Issac Barnes does the beekeeping at Honeyrun Farm, while his wife Jayne creates beeswax candles and other products gleaned from the hives. Since beeswax is a natural byproduct of the honey extraction process, nothing is wasted when it’s used to make the candles. “Beeswax burns clean,” says Jayne, “and will not produce soot as long as you keep your wicks trimmed.” Her candles have a light, warm honey scent that also comes naturally from the beehive, and in addition to popular tapers and votives, Jayne makes them in fun shapes such as animals, trees, morel mushrooms and floating stars that are perfect for July 4th gatherings and other summertime celebrations.
Tip: Call or text ahead (330-763-4752) and you can pick up your candles at the rustic farm stand that Jayne operates on the old-fashioned honor system.
Credit: Hunky Dory Studio, website
Hunky Dory Studio in Cincinnati
Amy Flesher masterfully merges two types of art – glass and visual – to create one-of-a-kind fused glass ornaments and accessories adorned with everything from family photos and collegiate logos to graphics of animals and famous faces that range from Abraham Lincoln to Wonder Woman. Her signature night lights are fun as well as functional, look hunky-dory 24/7, and make thoughtful gifts. Choose from Amy’s repertoire of original and whimsical night light designs (her charming purr-maid is a customer fave), or ask her for a bespoke one that displays your name, initials, area code or zodiac sign.
JLynn Creations in Chesterland
Specializing in gifts for moms, dads, and grandparents, the talented husband-and-wife team of Brad Schaffer and Jacquie Murley produce personalized jewelry from gold, silver, copper and other metals. They take pride in their stamping skills, and notes Jacquie, “Each letter or design is set in the metal with a hammer one at a time.” Their handiwork includes a wide array of initial necklaces; birthstone and stackable rings; bracelets with meaningful messages; and earrings embellished with owls, leaves, and other naturally chic motifs. They also transform vintage silver-plated spoons into garden markers inscribed with clever quotations. The garden markers come in sets of four, and you get to pick the quotes.
Tip: In addition to their website, you can also see pieces in their Etsy shop.
Louisville Glass in Saint Louisville
A glassblower for more than 25 years, Aaron Buchholz possesses an impressive resumé that includes building and managing a museum studio. He now creates functional and decorative items that bring art to everyday life at his own hot glass studio near Newark. Aaron’s hallmark vases and bowls feature aventurine glass gleaming with gold, green and blue metallic highlights, while his delightful seasonal collections include flowers and hummingbirds for spring and summer; pumpkins, acorns, ghosts, and bats for autumn; and Santas, snowmen, elves, angels and gold-topped evergreens for the holidays.
Tip: You can watch Aaron blow glass three times a year during his studio’s open house weekends.
Steubenville Popcorn Company in Steubenville
Not only did the Nelson family turn their favorite snack into a business, but they also make and sell small-batch popcorns in an historic building that they renovated to help revitalize downtown Steubenville. Their artisan popcorns boast novel flavors and color combinations that give a nod to local landmarks, Ohio pride, Americana and various holidays. Best-selling Buckeye Bits (caramel popcorn drizzled with peanut butter and chocolate) was inspired by Ohio’s state tree; Baron Blend (caramel and green apple popcorn) references Steubenville namesake Baron von Steuben; and red, white, blue Star-Spangled Popcorn salutes the American flag with a tantalizing blend of blue raspberry, cherry and vanilla popcorns. And if you’re a locavore, you’ll love the Ohio Maple popcorn made with maple syrup from trees on the Nelsons’ farm. “My brothers and dad,” says Therese Nelson, “do all the tree-tapping and processing of the sap to make 50 – 100 gallons of syrup every year.”
*Note: Check with venues beforehand regarding safety policies, capacity limits and/or reservations*