By Jenny Vickers Chyb
The Asbury Park Bazaar's "Meet the Maker AP" series highlights local and regional artists and makers that you can find at our upcoming Valentine's Market taking place Saturday & Sunday, Feb 11 & 12, from noon to 5 pm in the Grand Arcade of Convention Hall in beautiful Asbury Park!
Today's #MeetTheMakerAP is Ashley Burk of Steady Hand Creative. Ashley designs absolutely beautiful handmade macrame plant hangers, simple yet beautiful wall hangings, and copper and indigo dyed cotton rope jewelry. She's an inspiration to me because she is creative and hard working, yet super caring and thoughtful. She has a passion for engaging in the local creative community to create an open dialogue and discussion about art, women in business, and how we are more powerful when working together! Yeah! Be sure to stop by and shop her goods at the Valentine's Market on Sunday, Feb 12th!
1) How did your business get its start?
Steady Hand Creative started as a wedding sign venture after I had decided to no longer offer full wedding design. I quickly decided weddings we not my target and started offering my lettering and sign painting services to local businesses. I was also dabbling in some fiber art work but wasn't completely in love with what I was doing. At the time I was one of three co-founders of The Wild Heart, a design collective run alongside friends (one of which went on to found Harley Rose Studio...heyyy Sandy!), for a bit which is where I really starting exploring fiber art and natural dyes.
It wasn't until the blizzard of 2016 that I took the leap into macrame. With enough intrigue, free time, and passion to learn I taught myself the basic knots and took off running. When I wasn't working, I was knotting. It consumed my free time and soon I was being commissioned for larger and larger pieces. It has become Steady Hand's full time focus in 2017, though some sign painting still makes its way into the production schedule from time to time. Needless to say, chase the rabbit folks. It always takes you on incredible adventures :)
2) What motivates you as an artist and maker?
Individuality/self expression, contributing to a larger whole in a way that without my creative community I otherwise would be at a loss for how to be a part of, that feeling you get when you create something something is so captivating that you don't even have to words to explain how it came about.
3) Where did you grow up and where do you live and work now? What is your favorite part about living there?
I grew up in Hackettstown, NJ (where M&M's are made!!) it's a very small area and nothing is close by. There was so sense of community or art in that town but the desire to create was always within me. When I arrived in Asbury 5 years ago I immediately felt like, "THESE are my people!" and although nowadays I have a somewhat love/hate relationship with AP, I cannot deny how rich the creative community is here. My cup runneth over on a daily basis here :)
4) Walk us through a day in the life in your work space.
Oh boy hah!! my studio is an explosion of rope!! On any given day have around 4,800 ft of organic cotton rope ready to be measured, cut, and then separated into their individual strands. Then depending on if I have a commission with a deadline or just plan to be part of a market in the near future I can plan out how long I'll need to work per day/how much I need to make to be ready. On average I'm in the studio around 6 hours every day, outside of my other full time job. My days off (from the FT job) are easily a 10-12 hour day in the studio.
5) What are you most looking forward to at the Asbury Park Bazaar this Valentine's Market?
Word is there's roller skating? Um...yes please!! Also being able to sell some more jewelry which last year I had wanted to focus more on but didn't have the time!
6) Why should people shop small / shop local for Valentine's and year round for that matter?
Well that's an easy one! Every dollar you spend is a vote (of confidence as well as an actual political representation). You could "vote" for large corporations but you don't know what those corporations do with your money or who they go on to ACTUALLY vote for.
When you spend money with small independent businesses you are aligning yourself with the beliefs of that individual business. That "vote" so to speak goes right back into your own community. My favorite way to describe this is that "a rising tide lifts all ships". Shopping small/local lifts your entire community up.
7) What are you Valentine's weekend plans other than selling?
Next up, Mother's Day! Ha!
8) If your planning to join us at our Roller Boogie in Convention Hall, what would be your perfect roller skating outfit?
All sequin EVERYTHING!!