Karen Reese Brassel Unique, unusual gifts from Central Pennsylvania's craftspeople for sale at PCCA Gallery through Dec. 23
Nov. 5, 2008
HARRISBURG, PA - Karen Reese Brassel knows when an idea is going to come to her for the one-of-a-kind, handmade silver jewelry she creates.
“I get my inspirations from texture and colors in everyday life and receive many of my ideas from fashion. I keep a sketch pad with me wherever I go…,” said Brassel, an emerging artist from Dillsburg who is among the region’s craftspeople exhibiting their works at the fourth annual Artisan Marketplace of Perry County.
 The marketplace runs through Tuesday, Dec. 23, at the nationally recognized Gallery of the Perry County Council of the Arts on the Square in Newport at One S. Second St.
The artisans, who are from around Central Pennsylvania, will have their works for sale at the marketplace, which is co-sponsored by HACC’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and PCCA. Shoppers will find jewelry, acrylic and oil paintings, stained glass, ceramics/sculpture, polymer clay, fabric, textile, wood working, felted purses, fishing equipment, mosaic planters and fiber art.
Brassel, who loves to paint and sketch, took art classes in high school and while she attended Penn State as a marketing and business linguistics student. However, it wasn’t until her daughter asked her to make an ID bracelet that she considered selling her art.
“I started making my own jewelry as a casual hobby and people started getting wind of it,” Brassel said. Four years later, she has turned a hobby into a budding part-time business, “Designs By Reese,” where she sells earrings, fine-silver pendants, necklaces and bracelets through her online boutique and at local boutiques and craft fairs.
She turned to HACC’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies where she discovered classes, programs and networking events aimed at helping creative professionals establish a successful business – and learned about the open call for artists to participate in the juried marketplace.
“We are giving these artists and artisans who are rural businesses or home-based a chance for a new venue where they can showcase and sell their artwork,” said Fran Verotsky, director of HACC’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.
Having the marketplace in a gallery with regular hours presents another opportunity for the many participating artists: Unlike conventional art shows, artists are not required to continually staff a booth. “This presents an effective and efficient method of selling,” said David McNaughton a business counselor for HACC’s Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies.
“Artisans are provided the opportunity to network and share information with other artists and they receive support and technical assistance from the PCCA staff and HACC business counselors,” McNaughton added.
“The event continues to be a success year after year because HACC does a great job preparing the artists for this show. They provide them with assistance in pricing, creation of printed materials and packaging selection. The artists offer very unique products at varying price points. PCCA Gallery offers the exhibiting artists an outlet with regular store hours and knowledgeable and friendly staff,” said Jasmine Colbert, gallery manager for the arts council.
“It is also the prime season for gift giving…there is a lot to see so shoppers should allow themselves plenty time for shopping,” she added.
Fact Facts:
  • Fourth annual Artisan Marketplace of Perry County is located at the Gallery of the Perry County Council of the Arts, One S. Second St., Newport.
  • Gallery hours at 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday through Nov. 30. Closed on Thanksgiving.
  • Extended hours after Dec. 1 are Wednesday and Friday until 6 p.m. and Saturday until 3 p.m. The marketplace closes Tuesday, Dec. 23.
For more information, call the HACC Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at 221-1311 or Perry County Council of the Arts at 567-7023 or visit www.hacc.edu or www.perrycounty.org.
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