Barr Street Market Vendor Series: Buffalo Chip Creations
Chip and Ralfie Blasius have got something special in Buffalo Chip Creations. In fact, even before I knew who they were, an outstanding sterling and turquoise pendant caught my eye from across the Barr Street Market. Buffalo Chip Creations is the second of our vendor series, and I had the chance to learn a lot more from these two.
Chip and Ralfie have brought Buffalo Chip Creations to the Barr Street Market for the past four years, and you’ll find their booth with a gorgeous array of handmade jewelry every Saturday. “The ambience of this market is wonderful – great vendors, nice music, and a ‘family day out’ atmosphere for our customers. We have a lot of regular customers who stop by and see us every week. It is one of our favorite summer markets in Fort Wayne.”
The Blasius’s seem to not only have a true love for their work, but a true love for Fort Wayne as well. “We are excited to see the movement for buying local continuing to grow every year in the Fort Wayne area. It really does make a difference when customers can meet the farmers, artists, and producers face-to-face. We spend a lot of time educating our customers about how we create our products. This one-on-one encourages a much more personal, satisfying shopping experience for both vendors and customers. It’s more than just sales, we are building relationships.”
When it comes to their jewelry, to say their work is a labor of love would be an understatement. Chip is a silversmith with a degree in Fine Arts from IPFW. He hand-sets every piece he makes.
“We’d like our customers to know that each hand made piece contains a bit of Chip’s artistic energy. He forges, solders, hammers, wraps, or sets each piece. Most of our jewelry is sterling silver. We hand select our cabochons, fossils, stones and relics, and find much of our inspiration in nature. Many of our pieces incorporate fossils and natural stones. We go to rock and gem shows, bead stores and the internet to source our raw materials. Our favorite fossils are ammonites and corals, which we prong-set in silver to showcase their beauty. Art is an evolution; for instance. Chip taught himself to scrimshaw small pieces of 10,000-year-old mammoth ivory to make into pendants. Nature supplies a historical energy and an earthy beauty that is attractive to our customers. We go to coin shops and the internet to find ancient coins that we make into pendants. Roman coins are a favorite. There’s something humbling about wearing a pendant made of a coin that was minted 2000 years ago.”
I’m guessing you don’t have to be a nut for jewelry to see the true beauty in what Chip and Ralfie have created. But I am…and their booth is a little like heaven for me.
Barr Street Market is open from 9am to 1pm every Saturday through September 27th. Sign up here to volunteer.