School’s Out Forever For This Art Teacher Turned Jewelry Maker

Meet Sugarloaf jeweler Amanda Hagerman

While students and teachers everywhere are setting their sights on another school year, Amanda Hagerman, a former high school art teacher, works in her home studio according to her own rhythms, no longer governed by the school calendar.

After graduating from college with a double major in metal work and teaching, she started her teaching career thinking she eventually incorporate metal work into her curriculum. Unfortunately, it turned out that the MD school where she taught wasn’t set up to accommodate her jewelry making machinery. Meanwhile the other demands of full time teaching left her little time or energy to pursue her artwork on the side. Her dream of continuing to make jewelry while also teaching was starting to seem unattainable.

The equipment sat unused for a long time but she just couldn’t bring herself to get rid of it.

Difficult Balancing Act

When she and her husband bought a new home with extra space in 2013, she quickly began setting up a home studio. She decided to treat her jewelry making as a business instead of a hobby and started participating in craft shows. Before long it was getting more and more difficult to juggle jewelry making with teaching and she knew she would have to make a decision between the two.

Taking the Plunge

In January 2016, she went full time with the jewelry making. Right now she is still building a following, doing as many craft shows and galleries as she can. She’s passionate about creating truly handcrafted art for the public. Her jewelry pieces are all made from scratch.

Even as a handcrafting artist, she realizes she has a responsibility not to add to the over consumption problem. She buys almost 100% recycled  argentium silver and she researches the sourcing of her diamonds to find conflict-free stones. She does not want to support the abusive practices rampant in the diamond industry.

Though she isn’t a school teacher anymore, she still schedules summer vacations. This year she traveled to the Pacific northwest with plans to spend as much time in nature as possible. While her former colleagues are crafting lesson plans, she’ll be carefully forging the shapes and textures of nature into new jewelry pieces.

Artist Focus: Fine Art Photographer Kyle Wilson

Based in Clayton, NC, photographer Kyle Wilson of Left Behind Photography has a mission with every snapshot he takes: to capture the beauty of everyday objects and rarely-viewed scenes in a unique way. The fine art photographer is an expert at immortalizing rustic scenes, from abandoned trucks and sinking ships to pastoral landscapes with 100-year old structures. Despite the subject matter, Wilson’s body of work tends to have a colorful, awe-inspiring aesthetic thanks in part to his expertise in applying cutting-edge digital photography techniques. The result is seemingly simple scene that tells a dramatic narrative.

Wilson uses HDR — high-dynamic range imaging — which are colorful and bright, giving the appearance of a painting. The juxtaposition between Wilson’s aging subject matters (rusty vehicles and abandoned structures, for example) and the modern technique make Wilson’s photographs truly unique. The award-winning photographer sells his work at Sugarloaf Craft Festivals as well as various art shows throughout Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Ohio. Make sure to stop by his booth at an upcoming Sugarloaf show to see his photographs in person! And don’t forget to explore more photographers represented at Sugarloaf Craft Festivals.

Top Sugarloaf Snacks & Treats for Dad

Make Father’s Day extra-tasty with some specialty treats made by Sugarloaf’s specialty foods makers. Whether you create your very own custom dad-themed basket with beer, hot sauce and spices or surprise pops with sweet treats made by the best candy-makers and bakers, you’ll find great ideas with Sugarloaf’s makers. Here are our top three Sugarloaf food makers for a special Father’s Day gift.

1.     Torchbearer Sauces — If your dad’s into spicy stuff, you can’t go wrong with Torchbearer Sauces’ variety of tasty hot sauces. Perfect for your dad’s day barbecue, the Pennsylvania brand’s sauce flavors include options made with ghost chili peppers, curry, habanero and more.

2.     Babunya’s Gourmet — Owner Thomas Kostiw says his spices are good on anything that walks, swims or flies. Offering a range of specialty spice blends and tasty treats (venison samosas, for one), you’re sure to find something that will tickle dad’s taste buds with Babunya’s Sugarloaf booth.

3.     Leonard Mountain, Inc. — Dad will drool over Leonard Mountain’s selection of packaged treats, including soups, olives, chili, breads and dips. Their popular Dirty Drink Mixes are also a great choice for dads who love a strong mixed drink!

The Art of Woodworking - Learn More!

Sugarloaf Craft Festivals is proud to host a wide variety of wood crafters each season. Our artists hand-craft ornamental and decorative pieces, such as wall-hangings, tabletop carvings and sculptures, as well as pieces that are made to be used, such as hand-turned pens, serving bowls, salt and pepper shakers and clocks. We even host a variety of woodworkers who make wearable wooden art, such as wooden eyeglass frames!

Definitions of Woodworking Styles

All types of woodworkers are represented at Sugarloaf Craft Festivals. Here are some of the most popular woodworking styles applied by our makers.

·       Wood Carving — Wood carvers use sharp cutting tools to craft an ornamental design or figure. This medium requires removing portions of the wood to leave behind a relief that creates a unique design. Wood carvers may make decorative wall hangings, clocks, architectural elements and picture frames.

·       Wood Turning — Using a lathe (a turning machine designed for shaping or cutting wood), turners use a stationery tool to cut, shape and manipulate the wood as it turns. The most popular wood-turned crafts include serving bowls, pepper grinders and fountain pens.

·       Furniture-Making — Furniture-makers who use wood as their primary medium typically use joinery to connect components. However, some furniture-makers carve furniture from a single piece of wood.

·       Wood-Burning — Also called pyrography, wood burning is the art of using a heated object to create decorations on the surface of the wood. Wood-burned crafts include hanging wall art, clocks and ornaments.

Artist Focus: Textile Artist Janey Harrington

Nearly 20 years ago, artist Janey Harrington discovered a way to blend two of her passions — textile work and painting — to create stunning displays featuring hand-painted silk. Decades later, Harrington has perfected the art, creating a wide variety of unique silk crafts featuring her one-of-a-kind, painted-on pieces under the name Silk Creations by Janey. The Annapolis-based artist makes elegant and airy textiles — including scarves, shawls, head wraps and more — that use vibrant colors and shapes that mimic the appearance of watercolor or stained glass.

Almost all of Harrington’s designs are directly inspired by the Earth, with decorative elements taken from flowers, the ocean, the sky, fire, dragonflies and more. She also creates eye-catching pieces in

motifs inspired by retro themes like geometrics as well as nautical styles featuring sailboats and seascapes. Some of her creations are finished with beautiful hand-knotted fringe and three-dimensional accents to give them a detailed and ornamental appearance. You can find Silk Creations by Janey at an upcoming Sugarloaf Crafts Festival. Be sure to check the schedule to find an event near you!

Congrats Grads!

Stay creative in the adult world with inspiration from these 5 amazing artists! 

Congrats Grads! You’ve finished school and now it’s time to navigate the adult world. Sugarloaf wants to help you keep your creative edge by offering a little inspiration from five amazing artists that have been featured at Sugarloaf Craft Festivals.

Kathleen Small
Kathleen Small is the artist behind Small Xpressions Art Studio. Her unique paintings focus on highlighting the hidden beauty in everyday life. The self-taught painter primarily works with oil and acrylics, offering custom commission work to those that seek beauty. She also hosts painting parties to share her passion with others.


Denise Karbassi

Denise Karbassi is the founder and designer at Behind Blue Eyes, LLC. Born to a family of artists, Denise knew from a young age that she wanted to be an artist. She began honing her skills in kindergarten, excelling at art and earning the praise of her teachers. After dabbling in a variety of arts, she finally combined her water color skills on textiles creating a unique and colorful clothing line.




Andrew Nichols

Andrew Nichols is an established painter based out of New York. His contemporary designs focus on capturing the emotion and feeling of real people. He has painted celebrities, musicians, political figures and more, capturing the emotions of the moment and making statements about modern society.




Thomas Phelps
Thomas Phelps isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. The potter works from his studio and retail space in Floyd, VA, creating some of the most unique ceramic arts of today. His signature googly-eyed clay monsters are a favorite for those with love of whimsy, but his designs also include more functional pieces such as spoon holders, mugs, vases and more. 

Jeanne Scott
Jeanne Scott-Zumwalt is the mastermind behind Gone to Pot. The collection features dozens of beautiful, yet functional ceramic home goods such as cookie jars, teapots and more. The stunning designs look equally at-home in a kitchen or in an art gallery. Scott-Zumwalt tends to mix traditional with modern, for a style that appeals to a wide range of customers.

Featured Artist Cris Coloni - Acrylic + Sharpie!

They say that the eyes are the window to the soul. “Sorrow” by Cris Coloni takes this notion to a whole new level. The breathtaking design features an eclectic blend of acrylic paint and black sharpie. The thin, crisp black lines stand out in stark contrast to the thick acrylic background, drawing the attention of the viewer to the eyes of the image. The face in the painting is depicted with its eyes closed and its brows drawn as if is about to release a tear.

The soft brown background includes swatches of red that add to the feeling of the piece. The red color is not only eye-catching and emotional, it is also reminiscent of the ruddiness associated with crying and great sadness. Details like the accent colors used in Coloni’s paintings are never insignificant and often add to the emotional undertones of the design.

Though the gender of the subject in Coloni’s powerful design is not immediately apparent, small details give clues to the viewer. A small extension on the upper right side accented with three simple black lines may be interpreted as a bun, indicating the subject is potentially female. The shape of the eyebrows and distinctive eyelashes further the design’s feminine identity and help express the underlying emotion.

Sugarloaf Celebrates Mom!

Celebrate mom by taking her to a Sugarloaf Craft Festival. Fall tour dates are now available. Give her tickets and a fun event to look forward to together!

Sugarloaf’s spring tour may be over, but it’s never too late to plan something special with your mom. Whether you’re celebrating Mother’s Day, a birthday, an anniversary or just want to spend time with your mom, taking her to a Sugarloaf Craft Festival is a great way to make memories that will last a lifetime. The fall tour has been scheduled, so add the dates to your calendar now and spend the day exploring the world of art, meeting some of the hottest contemporary artists and shopping for beautiful handmade items at one of America’s largest artisanal markets.

Sugarloaf Craft Festivals happen all over the country, so no matter where you live, there’s a festival happening near you. Pick your date, grab your mom and head on over. Sugarloaf festivals are about bringing together independent artisans, collectors and enthusiasts to create an atmosphere and experience that is unlike anything else. With hundreds of talented artists, fine crafts and designers at each of our festivals, there’s always something new and exciting happening.

Sugarloaf festivals are consistently ranked in the top-20 art and craft shows in the USA. What better way to show your mom how much you care about her than to spend the day doing something you both will love? Our shows offer something for everyone, so whether your mom likes to shop, watch demonstrations or see the world from someone else’s eyes, she’s sure to leave the festival happy.