From hand-woven jewelry and accessories to antique post office doors transformed into banks, members of ArtFluence Pgh create it all. The group, a collaborative of artists now seven members strong from across the Pittsburgh area, will gather in public for the first time to share their art with the Mt. Lebanon community on Saturday, May 1, from 2 to 5 p.m. inside Uptown-based Orbis Caffe.
Five of the collaborative’s members will sell their work during the pop-up event, which also includes metal sculptures and handbags.
“It’s really great for Mother’s Day,” said Jen Curran, Lyndhurst Avenue, who creates handwoven accessories for her business Weave A Good Yarn. “There’s everything from garden stuff to accessories. And there’s nothing where you have to know (a person’s) size.” If you’re thinking ahead for Father’s Day, the post office doors-turned-banks are a great option.
ArtFluence Pgh is the brainchild of Paula Nettleship, Ashland Avenue, who brought artists together over the last year to collaborate and share business practices during the pandemic. When art shows were cancelled, the group started sharing its work digitally through online Zoom events and on its Facebook page. ArtFluence Pgh also provided a place for longtime artists to support each other and learn to market their work in a new way.
Nettleship, who creates woven beaded jewelry at her business Designs2C, and Curran met several years ago, thanks to Orbis Caffe owners Grant and Sonja Schutte, Academy Avenue. Curran would bring her knitting work to Orbis and Sonja asked her for knitting help. Nettleship later joined in and they formed a knitting group that has met weekly at Orbis for several years.
So it made perfect sense that, when COVID-19 cases began to drop, their first in-person event would be held at Orbis.
“We’re taking over,” Curran joked. Don’t worry, though, you can still get your coffee, or even a beer to sip on while you browse (In case you didn’t know, Orbis now has its liquor license and serves beer, wine and cocktails! Read our story about it.)
The artists are excited to finally be able to sell their work again in person. It’s a different experience than online.
“We love talking to the customers and learning about what they like,” Curran said. The artists also love to share the stories behind their craft with their customers and make a personal connection.
Plus, there’s just something special about seeing artwork in person.
“You can see the jewelry better, the colors and textures,” she said. “And everybody loves to connect with the customers … We’re really excited to welcome people back out.”