Westminster artist is a crafty entrepreneur – Baltimore Sun.

Deb Christian is a local crafter living in Westminster. Christian has been doing artistic things since she was in grade school. She remembers loving camp crafts and art rooms. “I have always done craft-related things in my lifetime.”

When Christian was a teenager, she worked in various weaving and yarn shops in exchange for yarn. She has yarn nearly 50 years old and has been an avid collector all that time.

Christian is entirely self-taught.

In the 1980s, Christian ventured into pottery and jewelry and traveled up and down the East Coast participating in craft shows. She has always been into upcycling and made jewelry out of paper.

Christian hand-painted florals and animals onto stoneware. Her business started with a kiosk in Faneuil Marketplace in downtown Boston. It was so successful it morphed into four locations including three in Massachusetts and one in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as the traveling craft shows. It became a family affair with some members running stores and doing craft shows.

“One thing I learned was that pottery is the heaviest and most breakable item to take to craft shows. ‘” Christian said. As a result, years later, when she wanted to do shows again, she decided to go back into the fiber market. Fiber arts are unbreakable and lightweight.

Christian also had a refrigerator magnet business and discovered that men buy the most magnets. Women will buy two or three, but men will buy a dozen. As another upcycling business, Christian cut up magazines and recycled paper and books to make the magnets.

In 1991, Christian moved to Carroll County from Concord, Massachusetts. Her husband is from Carroll County.

When Ace Hardware opened in Eldersburg, it wanted to do a pilot testing of craft shops. Half was craft and half hardware. Christian was the manager of the craft division for six months. She was also responsible for the story boards. A story board is an example of what you can make from the craft supplies being sold. She got to keep the leftovers, which she used to do her own crafts and donated the excess to schools.

She then took a job as a comptroller with Record and Tape Traders for 15 years. “When they closed, I decided to get back into the craft game,” Christian said.

Christian bought a sewing machine so she could learn how to machine quilt. She made tote bags from upholstery material a friend gave her. She sourced it from yard and estate sales and other recycled avenues. In 2009. just as the craft show season was starting up, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and while going through the recovery process, she learned about Etsy and began to sell online.

In 2008, the US economy sank into recession and Christian decided to clip coupons and be economical. She made her own coupon organizer that clipped to her grocery cart. Other shoppers began to ask her where she got it.

Couponing clubs started sharing her coupon holder. “I was inundated with orders and hired two people to help me. When my husband, who was a welder, retired, he came into the business. We worked together running the business for four years. ” In 2019, when mobile phone coupon apps became popular, her business dropped 80%.

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Last year, Christian decided to participate in the Downtown Westminster Farmers Market at 27 Railroad Ave.

Christian sells tote bags, reusable sandwich bags, mesh produce bags, and non-paper towels, (cotton flannel for use in place of towels and napkins). She also makes items from yarn such as hats, scarves, home décor, and hanging lanterns. Christian also weaves, felts and wraps to make artistic baskets.

“I wanted to see people again and also create some income,” Christian said. “The people who run it are fantastic, the customers are loyal and the vendors are nice. She also participates in their winter market, which was held at 29 W. Main St. in Westminster.

Both the winter and summer markets are run by Brooke Hagerty, who can be contacted at brooke@thechick.health or 410-903-3921 (downtownwestminsterfarmersmarket.com). Westminster Mayor Mona Becker has been a big supporter of the market as well as local artists, contributing to its success. The summer market will be held this year from May 14 through Nov. 19.

“Participating in the market gets me out of the house” Christian said. “I feel more plugged into the community. I love supporting local makers, growers and bakers. It keeps my creative spark going. I enjoy bringing eco-friendly choices that benefit everyone and look forward to my mornings at the market. ”

She can be contacted at deb@glowgirlfibers.com. Her products can also be found at glowgirlfibers.com and on Esty and Amazon Handmade (GlowGirlFibers.)

Lyndi McNulty is the owner of Gizmo’s Art in Westminster. Her column, An Eye for Art, appears regularly in Life & Times.

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