By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian
The Artisans Shop in Fairmont is exposing talented, local artisans to the community.
The store, owned by Fairmont native Brandy Buretz, will officially be ready for business this Saturday for its grand opening celebration from 1-6 p.m., which will include door prizes and a chance to meet the artisans. It is located at 1545 Fairmont Ave., at the top of Watson Hill next to Manchin & Aloi.
“It is a consignment shop for artisans who are local to the community so that it gives them a place where they can set up and sell their handmade items,” Buretz explained.
Buretz, who also has a jewelry business called DirtyGirlDiamonds, said weekend craft shows can be a great opportunity for artisans, but it can be difficult to get items in front of local customers when these events aren’t happening. She decided to establish a shop where artisans could display their creations for the community and where residents could see a variety of new talent in the area.
The Artisans Shop features the work of Buretz and nine other artisans, who all either live in Marion County or are originally from here.
“When … you can go into a shop and buy things that are locally made, locally produced, it’s completely better for the community,” she said. “It actually promotes Fairmont more.”
Buretz, who grew up in Fairmont, graduated from Fairmont Senior High School and earned her degree in commercial recreation and tourism from Shepherd University. After living in Martinsburg, Hagerstown, Md., and Shinnston, she moved back to Fairmont about three years ago. She has gained experience in different types of work over the years, from marketing and mortgages to college admissions and office management.
Buretz has been making jewelry as a hobby since high school and is completely self-taught. She takes vintage, antique jewelry completely apart, removes the rhinestones, and puts in real gemstones to make them affordable.
For many years, Buretz kept her talent to herself, but more and more people started asking her about the unique pieces she was wearing and where she had gotten them.
She works with suppliers and makes different jewelry pieces using stones with imperfections, which she said are really beautiful and rather inexpensive in large sizes. It’s easy to tell that these jewels aren’t made by machine, because none of them are exactly alike, Buretz said.
“The pieces themselves, they’re not always perfect, and that’s one of the things that I like about it,” she said. “We all have flaws in us, and the flaws and imperfections are what actually make us unique and make us stand out.”
She began working on her jewelry even more when she was staying at home after the birth of her younger daughter Abby, who will soon turn 3, and set up an Etsy shop and a Facebook page. Her older daughter, Gracie Kershner, is 8 years old.
Buretz officially started DirtyGirlDiamonds in July 2012, showing her creations in a small room inside of Lion in the Sun on Morgantown Avenue, and her business flourished from there. Opening The Artisans Shop was then a natural progression.
Buretz said her parents, George and Judy Foster, have been The Artisans Shop’s biggest supporters and have been instrumental in getting the store set up. Jen Wells, one of the featured artisans, also encouraged Buretz to move forward with establishing the shop and has been a great help.
Wells, whose business is called black dog, will be running the cash register and doing sales at the store along with Buretz. Wells makes hand-tied and dyed fabrics and clothing and also does chunk candles. She and Buretz have a side project called the Treasure Candle in which Buretz makes jewelry that goes inside of Wells’ candles.
The Artisans Shop also features beautiful and functional handmade pottery by Josh Floyd, who owns Floydpots; fashion accessories that Angela Henderson of Angi D*signs makes with completely recycled items, including bowls from records, bags and purses from vintage T-shirts, and jewelry from wine bottle corks; painted indoor and outdoors signs for homes and businesses by Denise Ice, who has KDS Primitive Signs and More; and knit and crochet scarves, necklaces, earrings and more by Lisa Kelley Turner of Knit Knack.
In addition, customers can find clutch purses, baby changing sets and baby quilts from Love2design4u by Amanda Martinez; fountains, electric wax tart warmers, scented wax tarts and more by Debby Meadows, who owns Debs Prim Creations; hand-painted glassware and hand-twisted copper wire trees from Bev Slagle’s business, Painted Wire; and colorful and custom-designed hula-hoops for fitness for adults and kids by Danielle Williams of the Hoop Troupe, who also offers classes.
All of the artisans at The Artisans Shop will do custom work and take orders, Buretz said. The store also has some extra space to potentially show the works of more artisans in the future.
The Artisans Shop will be open 1-6 p.m. Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and noon to 6 p.m. Friday. In the summer, the shop plans to hold outdoor vendor events where any artisans in the community can sell their items, Buretz said.
For more information, call 304-888-3322 or visit www. facebook.com/TheArtisansShop.
Email Jessica Borders at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.