If you've been around the Philly-area art marts lately, it's likely you've likely seen a few of the following creative geniuses slinging wares. Their work delights and provides, innovates and comforts, charms and protests in all the right ways.
Heading into Pride Month is as good a reason as any to support your favorite local Queer-owned shops, or discover some new favorites! Here are a few of my all-time favorite local makers that make the world a brighter place by being in it and sharing their creative talents with us.
1. Queer Candle Co.
At this point, it's become a running joke that every time my friends and I see Queer Candle Co., we have to buy one. The scents are incredible and they last forever, which means you don't have to be shy about burning them all the time. The extensive scent options make choosing yours even more fun (especially in person). You can follow them on Instagram @queercandleco to stay tuned about local shop stockists and events. Note: If you're a newbie looking for guidance, I highly recommend the Redwoods scent!
In addition to making amazing candles, they also do amazing things, like donate 10% of all proceeds to the Silvia Rivera Law Project, an NYC grassroots organization that provides legal support and resources to protect the right of individuals to safely "self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race" (https://srlp.org/).
2. Bleed Your Heart Out Glass
I may never get over the Doc Marten's stained glass art from Bleed Your Heart Out Glass, and why should I? It's a completely brilliant concept, and even more stunning in person. They make a number of other awesome pieces, some of which are currently only featured on their Instagram, so make sure to follow them @bleedyourheartout.glass and shop their goodies at the next in-person event. Consider them your one-stop shop for everything you never knew you needed in your stained glass art (I'm seeing a boba tea? I'm seeing a tooth? Gimme.) They also make the awesome stained glass pride flag featured in the cover image of this post.
3. Wildcraft Print Shop
I struggled to choose just one feature photo for this maker because their designs are vastly good in every direction. Once you think you've picked a favorite (No wait! Over there!) a new design pops up that speaks to you in new ways. Every design is hand-carved and block printed by the artist Gabriel Echeverri, who blends folklore and natural artwork with soulful meditations on identity, mental health, and resistance. Check out the Wildcraft Print Shop Etsy or Instagram @wildcraftprintshop to find your new favorite T-shirt or patch. (Also check out the "omens of spring" T-shirt featured in this post's cover image.)
4. Kenni Field
Kenni Field's functional ceramics are like an otherworldly fantasy come to life, rich with colors and textures that make life infinitely more fun. This collection of handcrafted ceramic pipes are unique works of art, but so are the ashtrays, lamps, and vases that Kenni handcrafts (which you can find on Instagram @creativeoutlet__). Even if you don't partake in the puff economy, their other wares are equally as stunning, and you can sign up for clay handbuilding classes to learn from the artist themself!
5. Cute Revolution
If being a creative is about crafting the world you'd like to live in, Cute Revolution is building a universe of color and delight that's hard to walk away from. For those who grew up in the Lisa Frank, My Little Pony, Beanie Baby collectors era, these colors may immediately inspire a familiar feeling of super-sweet 90s nostalgia. Look a bit closer and you'll see that Prince's highly detailed illustrations inspired by Kawaii culture bring something new and exciting to the 90s vibe. Their commitment to their art and aesthetic goes beyond the page/sticker and into the world of fashion and fantasy (check the portfolio for some amazing fashion commission pieces). Follow their instagram @cuterevolution_ to stay tuned for upcoming events!
6. Florian Francis Rugs
Few things make me audibly gasp in public like the tufted rugs and mirrors from Florian Francis. While the Cheez Whiz and Hoagie are among my personal favorites, the other whimsical and food-inspired tufted goods are equally incredible (and don't forget that old favorite, the Lunchable). Florian's fun assortment of 90s inspired stickers and illustrations is a beauty to behold, especially this lovingly illustrated homage to 90s toys in T-shirt and print format. Follow @florianfrancis_ to see more!
Happy Pride Month to our cherished local Philly queer makers and all those who identify, ally, and support the LGBTQIA+ community. Be sure to check out a special upcoming Pride Month collection of goods at the Philadelphia Art Museum Gallery store, which will feature some of my own handbound journals. Stay tuned for updates on instagram @stylethrivehandmade!