Barr Street Market Vendor Series: Buffalo Chip Creations
Jun13

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...

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Third World Shoppe: Shopping Activism
Jun12

Third World Shoppe: Shopping Activism

Third World Shoppe, located at 611 West Wayne Street, is an important part of the west side of downtown Fort Wayne. Located in the heart of Wayne Street, it is surrounded by historic buildings and beautiful trees that reach to the sky. Its importance comes not just from what we can find in our shopping experiences at Third World Shoppe, but also in what they give back to the community each day.   Founded in 1972, they have spent their time helping to eliminate poverty, connect people with each other, and spread the wealth found in Fort Wayne among those that need it most. Their shop reflects the eclectic nature of their owners. Filled with one of a kind gifts that entice shoppers with products featuring unique detail and design, there are all kinds of treasures to find. Open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., there is something for everyone here. They carry everything from jewelry and accessories to books and dolls. They also have organic teas and coffee, and “green” related items for those trying to stay conscious of where they spend their money.  All of their Fair Trade items benefit low income artisans and small farmers in over forty countries around the world. In addition to this, they also have a very educated staff and walls filled with information from social issues to community outreaches. If you are looking for the full downtown shopping experience, you should definitely add Third World Shoppe to your...

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