Thursday, October 7, 2010

Today's Featured Artists --- The Pioneer Loft

Our featured artists today are Denise and Tim Cheyney from The Pioneer Loft.

Tell us a little about you?
I grew up in a very historic area, Bucks County, PA, and what a great place that was!  It gave me a deep sense of history and appreciation of our nation's past and the things we still have today in the way of homes, barns, furniture and other items from the daily lives of our forefathers, as well as the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.
Tim and I have been married for 33 happy years. We have two grown up children and one granddaughter. We live on a small farm of 28 acres in the beautiful rolling hills of Ohio, surrounded by farms and great views.
Almost as long as I can remember, I always wanted to have an antique or gift shop when I grew up. I suppose it was just in the blood as I never lost that hope and dream, even though I was diverted as a legal secretary and then a full time mom  along the way. Over the years I enjoyed sewing and crafting, so making things to sell is a natural outflow of the creative part of me. I've had a retail country decor store, but after being very sick two years ago, have been going at life in a slower pace, making things and selling on Etsy as able. I also have a 24x26 building on our farm where I've been working and selling things to the public. It's very low key and always fun when someone takes time to stop. Only open seasonally, it is now closed until further notice.
I also am a pianist and play at church and in a Christian band.
My husband, Tim, makes small furniture for a living. He mainly wholesales, and his biggest customer is "The Country House" mail order catalog. 

How long have you been in business?

I started out my own home party business in 1993 and it eventually grew into owning a building for a retail location in our downtown. Before opening the store, though, I did wholesale crafting with wood items and wreaths full time for a time, until pain in my hands forced me to quit. So retailing then became my focus.

How did you get started?

I signed up to sell with a home party company when we lived in another state. It was country decorative items which were sold right off the table rather than ordered. When we moved to Ohio, the owner of that company said she thought it would be best if I did my own buying rather than her shipping everything 1300 miles to me. So, she gave me all the information I needed and helped me get started. After 3 years of home parties and having to quit wholesale crafting, I opened a retail store and the rest is history!

What is involved in making your craft?

 The things I make are a mix of mediums. I sew, paint and sometimes use natural drieds to make wreaths and centerpieces.

What is your favorite thing to make?

  That is hard to say, but usually what I'm working on at the moment is my favorite! hehehe! It's such a great feeling to make dolls ... making fabric come to life ... so perhaps that is my very favorite thing to make.

Do you have set hours to work?

 Not at this time. I go through times when I make a schedule for myself if I'm busy, but for the most part, I've tried to keep stress out of my life the last two years and so I work as "the spirit moves". Because of problems in my neck and hands, I can only craft 3-4 hours a day a couple days a week maximum.

What are your future plans for your business?

 I've been enjoying creating and digitizing designs for embroidery sewing machines lately and am considering building up that business on the internet. I also am looking at options to turn my downtown building into a craft mall or a consignment furniture shop. Perhaps the hardest part of the decision is not knowing how my health will hold up should I go back into a more stressful situation, but I'm really anxious to get back into it full time again.

 What does handcrafting mean to you?

 It means relaxation and loving what I'm doing. It's an outlet for creativity that doesn't seem to be fulfilled anywhere else.

Where do you sell your crafts at?

 On Etsy, on our farm, an occasional craft show, and have a booth at "Shabby-Chic Treasures" in Millersburg, Ohio.