Arkansas is brimming with a unique creative energy that reaches from furniture designers and folk musicians in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains to the vibrant, bohemian maker culture emerging along Main Street in Little Rock. You'll experience that energy when some of the state's best crafters come together Friday and Saturday, March 31-April 1, in an inaugural maker's market on the grounds of War Memorial Stadium.
Arkansas Made Arkansas Proud Locally Made Market, co-chaired by Aimee Shelby and Lindsey Gray, owner of Eggshells Kitchen Co., will include furniture, leatherwork, jewelry, edibles and more. More than 85 vendors will sell their wares under pop-up tents at the rain-or-shine event (on the field if it's not raining, concourse if it is), presented by the Arkansas Times and the War Memorial Stadium Foundation.
A preview party from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday will be an evening of eats, libations, live folk music and access to silent auction items. Artists will attend and talk about their crafts. Sysco's in-house chef, Jason Knapp, will prepare Southern delicacies, including grilled pimento cheese finger sandwiches, strawberry pretzel crostini and chicken salad phyllo cups, and crafters from the Ozark Folk Center will demonstrate their work and offer hands-on crafting experiences for little ones.
Shoppers can enjoy these treats while sipping a glass of wine or beer and getting first dibs on one-of-a-kind Arkansas-made creations. Preview party tickets are $25 in advance at centralarkansastickets.com and $30 at the door. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit War Memorial Improvement Trust.
The main event begins on the field at 10 a.m. Saturday. Shoppers will find crafts from every corner of the state in prices ranging from $5 to $1,200. "You won't find anything here that would be in a big box store," Gray said. "This event is a good chance to showcase the great Arkansas vendors and bring awareness to all the great art that comes out of the state. You'll get to see the story behind the product and meet the creator."
In addition to vendors' edible offerings, find stadium food, beer and wine available for purchase. Early bird shoppers can sip mimosas and Bloody Marys. Entry is $5 at the door; children 5 and under get in free. Ample, free parking is available on both days.
Read on for info on the vendors:
2nd Life Wood
Rescuing wood removed during construction and from damaged and dead trees, Fayetteville's 2nd Life Wood turns slabs of walnut, oak, cherry and other indigenous hardwoods into fine pieces of unique furniture. From ceiling-high headboards to bar counters on Dickson Street to wood pillars and beams in brewing companies, 2nd Life Wood's work adorns both residential and commercial spaces with beautiful wood. Wood slabs, ready-made furniture pieces, and custom work are all available from this fine craftsman.
A Conversation Piece
Featuring unique items from all across Arkansas, Russellville's A Conversation Piece specializes in handcrafted textiles, glassware, ceramics, jewelry and paintings.
Using metals, glass, semi-precious stones and natural, repurposed and found objects, Adhara jewelry is inspired by romance, fantasy and steampunk.
Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, Adrian Quintanar brought his artistic skill to Central Arkansas and has incorporated his new home into his work. From the rust of sugar maple leaves in autumn to the turquoise sky of an early spring morning, Quintanar's pottery reflects the brilliant spectrum of Arkansas colors. His practical pieces of drinkware, vases and plant pots are as artistic as his ceramic sculptures. Custom pieces are also available.
Allison Eastman Britt Design
Allison Eastman Britt Design handcrafts dangly beaded earrings and reclaimed-silver "State Pride" necklaces.
Based in Little Rock, AR-T's screenprints T-shirts and tote bags in classic designs with a clever, urban edge.
Arkansas Agriculture Department
The Arkansas Agriculture Department administers the Arkansas Made program, promoting Arkansas goods and products and connecting buyers to local makers.
Arkansas Rice Council
Representing the state's rice industry, the Arkansas Rice Council works to promote and protect the interests of rice producers, millers, merchants and allied businesses.
Art by Lois
From red Arkansas-shaped fish-stamped magnets to flame-painted copper cuff bracelets, Art by Lois offers unique handmade jewelry, pottery and art.
Barbara Smock Equine Art and More
Barbara Smock Equine Art and More paints friendly and often comical portraits of animals.
Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium
At one time, Hot Springs' motto was "We Bathe the World," making the Spa City the perfect location for Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium. With its flagship boutique across from celebrated Bathhouse Row, Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium specializes in small batch, hand-blended bath and body products. Bathhouse Soapery crafts personal care items, from body scrubs, bath bombs and mineral salts to smell-good essentials like deodorants, shaving soaps and lip balms. Its "Milk" products blend scents of raspberry, cotton candy and caramelized sugar.
Beadmakers Sage & Tom
Sage and Tom Holland are known as Arkansas's top crafters of beads.
Bee Natural Soap
Using wax and honey gathered from their own bees, Jacksonville's Bee Natural Soap handcrafts soaps and lotions that naturally protect and heal skin.
Beringer Wood fashions pens, cutting boards and other beautiful necessities from exotic hardwoods turned on a lathe.
Blue Swallow Clothing Co.
Inspired by vintage apparel, Blue Swallow Clothing Co. creates artisan-handcrafted jewelry and comfortable, natural-fiber clothing.
Bryan Kellar Art
Kellar, who is retired from the state Parks and Tourism Department, specializes in vibrant watercolor paintings.
Cary Collins Designs
Cary Collins Designs offers hand-drawn, heartfelt encouragement through calendars, notecards and notepads featuring whimsical scripture art.
With watercolors resonating with influences from Matisse to Monet, Kellar is inspired by store mannequins and the art of display.
Chipotle Joe's dipping and grilling sauces, available in hot, mild and mustard, are all-natural, which means it contains no corn syrup, no artificial flavors, no preservatives.
Cocoa Belle Chocolates
Cocoa Belle is the first and only Certified Professional Chocolatier in Arkansas and crafts handmade, artisan chocolate truffles, bonbons and barks.
Country Deep CLOTHING
From women's motorcycle fashion to men's tank tops, Country Deep Clothing is apparel that sticks with Southern roots.
Crazy Daisy Designs
A one-stop shop, working on projects ranging from graphic design, photography, furniture refurbishing and painting.
Carefully curating small batches of simple, safe and unscented skin care and cosmetics, Creek Baby uses high-quality USDA organic all-natural fair-trade ingredients.
This vendor sells giant rice crispy treats in more than 30 different varieties, including dipped, filled, decorated, sprinkled and more.
Designs by Denise
Decorate your door with a wreath of colorful flip-flops or a red-and-black swath celebrating the Hogs from Cabot's Designs by Denise.
Diva from Scratch
While Diva from Scratch's products range from bath salts to lip balm, its star product is stunning book art where folded pages become shapes and words.
In addition to screen-printing for customers, Electric Ghost offers cool home decor items, apparel with its rad retro logo and much more.
Elizabeth & Maxine
Elizabeth & Maxine crafts boho chic jewelry with gems from artisan pieces.
This vendor makes everything from money clips to earrings fashioned from repurposed bullets.
Fresh Mountain Soaps
With scents like cherry almond and bay rum, Fresh Mountain Soaps offers all-natural handmade soaps.
Geri's Jams & Jellies
Find cranberry pecan and old-fashioned fig jams and candy apple and apple muscadine jellies from Hot Springs' Geri's Jams & Jellies.
The probiotic cultures that promote good health flourish in the fermented okra pickles and crunchy kraut of Winslow's Great Ferments.
The original makers of y'all shirts as seen on national media, Hillcrest Waterbugs brings progressive, Arkansas-proud apparel to your closet.
Using the freshest, high-quality seasonal ingredients, Little Rock's Honey Pies bakes small-batch artisan goodies with techniques passed down from grandma.
Honeysuckle Lane Cheese
Quitman's Honeysuckle Lane Cheese creates four varieties of cheeses from fresh raw milk produced by pasture-fed Jersey-influenced cows.
I Am Here
I Am Here's archival, acid-free cotton-fiber cards can't be produced with modern machinery. I Am Here's Gregory Mitchell, a cartographer working in Fayetteville for the past 10 years, draws maps and other images (everything from guitar heads to bacon sizzling in a skillet) on large sheets of vellum. These quirky works of art are then scanned and scaled to postcard size and converted to letterpress printing plates; a vintage platen press prints the postcards one at a time.
Itty Bitty Boots
Featuring snap closures, supple leather soles, and soft cowboy heels, baby's first pair of boots from Itty Bitty Boots makes a great keepsake.
Jaxon Marz Goods
Fayetteville's Jaxon Marz Goods produces affordable, all-natural body care using ethically sourced ingredients. The cleansing, deodorizing and moisturizing products are handmade in small batches.
Taking inspiration from her Conway garden, Jeanetta Darley creates fine art prints that showcase the beauty of nature.
Quitman's JK Woodworking turns drought-stricken, dead and storm-damaged trees into wood items, from biscuit cutters to cutting boards.
Juanita's Candy Kitchen
Juanita's Candy Kitchen in Arkadelphia will satisfy your sweet tooth with their signature peanut, pecan and cashew brittles.
Juli Odum's Urban Jungle Jewelry
Adorn yourself with the one-of-a-kind jewelry handmade from semi-precious stones and found objects from Juli Odum's Urban Jungle Jewelry.
Kanned by Karen
Your jelly can smell of elderberries when you purchase the tart treat from Kanned by Karen. She also makes a variety of other jams and crafts.
Arkansas Food Bank
Pick up tasty rice side dish and soup mixes or a variety of other merchandise while helping Arkansas Food Bank feed the hungry in Arkansas.
Karen Ahuja Studios
Florals, landscapes and more are skillfully created in impressionistic and abstract style by make-up artist Karen Ahuja.
Kent Walker Artisan Cheese
Kent Walker Artisan Cheese has become a familiar gathering place for cheese lovers of every description since Walker opened his shop and tasting room in 2011. Walker makes cheeses from raw goat, cow and sheep's milk, sourced from throughout Central Arkansas.
Northwest Arkansas-based chocolatier Kyya specializes in small-batch, single-origin chocolate bars, powder, syrups and bonbons from cacao beans sourced from around the world.
Add some sparkle and pizzazz to your wardrobe with Lighthouse Design's line of bold jewelry, from single pieces to matching sets.
Loblolly Creamery creates interesting twists on old favorites and seasonal delights using fresh, local ingredients sourced from area farms.
Luv My Wallet
Give your wallet some personality with Luv My Wallet's vibrant fabrics and quality construction; new styles and colors are available constantly.
One-of-a-kind necklaces, rings and other jewelry pieces fashioned from native crystal and quartz harvested in the Natural State.
Mavis & Cynthia
Named after the owner's grandmothers, Mavis & Cynthia offers handcrafted jewelry pieces in bold colors reflecting the artist's upbringing in tropical Trinidad.
Delta artisans create unique jewelry pieces including earrings, pendants and bracelets from a variety of metals and polished natural stone.
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
Arkansas-made merchandise handcrafted in Arkansas by African-American artisans, including jewelry, handbags, scarves, woodcarvings, head wraps and more.
Mount Olive Pepper Co.
Tucked into the Ozark woods, Mount Olive smokes red-ripe peppers over hickory for almost 100 hours to create pure ground pepper without salt or preservatives.
Nailed It Designs
Fayetteville area-based Nailed It Designs creates a variety of intricate, whimsical string art designs.
Natural State Leather Goods
A need for a creative outlet inspired Michael Hicks into leather working, a hobby that turned into a small obsession. His first major piece was a structured, square bag made from a single piece of leather folded and wet-molded into shape, and the beautiful bag is still a cornerstone of the collection. Natural State Leather Goods, which Hicks formed with his brother, Ethan, offers wallets, messenger bags, belts and satchels that are sure to outlive whoever you hand them down to.
This vendor specializes in funky and functional wheel-thrown pottery, featuring coffee mugs, pitchers, soup/cereal bowls and more in earthy hues or vibrant colors.
From a small cabin in Lincoln (Washington County) comes this delightful line of crafted natural products, including lotions, soaps, balms and salves.
Paula Smith Pottery
Sturdy and simple, Paula Smith Pottery's rustic creations are meant to be used and enjoyed with family and friends.
Fayetteville's own Pickles' Pottery artisans produce a variety of unique coasters and ornaments to suit any decor, including puzzle creations.
Pottery by Theda
Bright colors and sturdy craftsmanship bring this Hot Springs potter's work to life in hand-painted terra cotta earthenware dubbed "Happy Pottery."
Pratt Family Salsa
In addition to fresh salsa from an old family recipe, Pratt Family also produces dry spice mixes to lend a kick to a variety of dishes.
Pure Soy Candles
High-quality, fragrant soy candles poured with care in Saline County, Pure Soy Candles also makes lotion bars and wax melts.
Founded in 2015, this Little Rock-based creative duo has produced original art, art prints and graphic-forward T-shirt designs.
Robinson Lane Designs
Louisiana-born designer Christy Bourns Ward takes inspiration for her jewelry from the world around her, borrowing from nature, music and people. She works with metals, artisan beads and reclaimed jewelry.
New clothing company producing Arkansas-influenced concept designs and T-shirt motifs promoting environmental causes.
Scripted Joy/Chance Perchance
Home decor featuring custom-scripted messages on a variety of media and backgrounds.
Bright, bold impressionistic artwork is the order of the day with the artist's inspiration drawn from family, friends and community.
Handcrafted, all-natural beauty products are created in small batches including body butter, soaps and cosmetics by this Harrison-based company.
Shawna Elliott Art
Veteran artist Shawna Elliott uses fluid acrylics and other medium to create vibrant seascapes, dramatic abstracts and other whimsical pieces.
Silverwear by Linda
Silver-plate flatware finds new life as bracelets, rings, pendants and other creative jewelry items.
Enjoy quality, natural soaps and an array of other bath and body products for men and women crafted from wholesome ingredients.
Southern Fox steals the show with gorgeous, handmade birdhouses for all of your feathered friends, featuring repurposed wood and metal accents.
This Cabot artisan produces a dazzling array of jewelry and accessories by repurposing everyday items.
Founded 139 years ago in rural Logan County, Subiaco Abbey is a working Benedictine monastery that includes a Catholic church, farm, vineyards, conference center and Subiaco Academy, a boarding school for boys. The Holy Rule of St. Benedict states that a life should be a balance of work and prayer with everything in moderation, which inspires the monks daily in their various labors. Their handicrafts, which fund their community, include hot sauce from peppers grown in the abbey gardens, peanut brittle handmade by the monks themselves, and various woodworking items for home and church use.
Southern Women Artisans Guild, a North Little Rock collective, features paintings, jewelry, photographs and more from an array of member artisans.
Show your pride of place with pillows, banners, yard flags and other stylish home decor items handmade in Conway.
Get the best of salty and sweet with Swalty Kernel kettle corn and be sure to ask about promotional packaging for your event or business.
Sweet Creations by DJ
From Perryville comes one of the hidden treasures of the Natural State, Sweet Creations by DJ. This family-run chocolatier crafts nut-free, gluten-free and Kosher-certified confections with natural ingredients and without the wax and additives common in commercial chocolates. Owners Dale and Jeannie Baldridge put a spin on the business by offering the additional feature of custom engraving their chocolates with any message or image.
The Tiny Twig
Taking "repurposing" to a new level, Tiny Twig uses dried and pressed flowers in its handmade jewelry for a truly one-of-a-kind finished piece.
Townsend Spice & Supply
Whether it's rubs and blends, sausage seasonings, high-quality individual spices or butcher supplies, Melbourne's own Townsend Spice & Supply carries it.
Tucker Mountain Metal Design & New Day Collection
A dynamic partnership of two passionate artisans transforms jewelry into wearable art as individual as the person who wears it.
Owner Jake Lewis brings out the art in every piece of reclaimed wood with his refined rustic mirrors, furniture and wall hangings of every description.
Ximena & Elle
Browse felted soaps, baby items, screen-printed tees and quality, hand-appliqued clothing for every member of the family from this Little Rock-based artisan.