Wednesday, August 1, 2012

meet the makers of 2hands market

Jill Davolio, Ally Tierney and Carleen Birnes are three designers from Annapolis who met quite by chance and share a love for making things. In 2008, they put their hands and heads together and launched the 2hands indie craft market to showcase emerging independent designers. Now in its fifth year, 2hands is known for its diverse selection of high caliber handmade wares and has become an indelible part of Maryland's craft scene.

Who are the women behind 2hands?

There are three of us behind 2hands market. Our skill sets are so unique to each other. Jill is a graphic designer, illustrator and professional musician. When she sings, you will literally be transported to your happy place. She loves working with felt and lace to create headpieces and jewelry. Ally is a classically trained Shakespearean actress. She learned how to sew backstage making costumes for performances and has since traded in velvet and satin for leather and canvas to create handbags and jewelry. Carleen made a career switch from corporate PR to opening a bead store in the early aughts. Now she splits her time between teaching jewelry classes and creating a line of jewelry for Whole Foods.

How did you all meet?

It was kismet. Ally took one of Carleen's metal clay classes, and they became instant friends. Jill met Carleen one day at the library after their kids started coloring together. Ally quickly made her way into the mix thanks to her mutual love of crafting. Thus the trio was born. After working together so successfully on the market, Jill and Ally decided to open a wedding styling and accessories business, aptly named 2hands studios

On the 2hands website, you mention developing a dialogue and connection with customers. How does that happen?

This is the magic of an artist-driven market like 2hands. Shoppers get to meet the actual creators behind the wares that they fall in love with. Artists get to tell their stories, sharing what inspired the design along with how it's made. The artist and the shopper connect on a meaningful level. There is undeniable value in that exchange. This is the experience we endeavor to provide for everyone selling at the market and walking through the door.

How has 2hands evolved and what are your plans for the future?

This is our fifth 2hands market! The first market consisted of seven vendors (including the three of us) in a tiny space at a neighborhood cafe. Jill took turns performing while working her booth! With each new market, we've grown a little more, always staying true to our mission of showcasing independent emerging artists, against a backdrop of live acoustic music. This year we plan to expand to 40 vendors! We will keep the market an annual event in November, and possibly add another market in the spring with a nod toward weddings...we're excited for what the future holds.

August 6 is the deadline for accepting applications to this year's market, scheduled for November 3 on the historic Holy Grounds at Severna Park Community Center. That's only six days away! Apply now!!

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