Angie Sarver’s hobby has blossomed into a business, just in time to keep her busy after retirement from the Air Force next spring.
The O’Fallon mother of three has been selling her handmade clay tags and ornaments at craft fairs and through her Etsy shop for about two years.
“The more I create, the more the ideas come,” said Angie, 42. “It’s never-ending.”
People hang the pieces on Christmas trees, gift bags, jars, candles, baskets, doorknobs and wine bottles. Some are round, while others are shaped like doves, stars or Christmas trees. Many are stamped with sentiments of love.
They commemorate holidays, occasions and relationships. One of the most popular sentiments is, “You’re more than my mother. You’re my friend.”
“I’m very particular about the ribbon I use,” Angie said. “I use twine and velvet and linen, and at Christmas, I use a vintage glitter ribbon. It really gives things a holiday feel.”
Angie is one of 400 artists and crafters who will sell their wares at the 35th annual Art and Craft Fall Fair Friday through Sunday at Belle-Clair Exposition Center in Belleville. All the vendors make their own products. None represents companies.
“These are unique things that you’re never going to see in a store,” said fair founder and producer Kay Weber, who scouts out new talent each year to keep the show fresh.
“The exhibitors keep prices reasonable because they have no overhead, and everything’s made in America,” she said.
Angie is a Delaware native and Air Force master sergeant who has been stationed at Scott Air Force Base since 2008.
Outside of work, Angie always has enjoyed scrapbooking, jewelry making, home decorating and other DIY projects. She joined Pinterest in 2011 and saw some tags and ornaments made of white polymer clay on its website.
“They were kind of romantic and delicate and simple and just pretty,” she said. “I decided to go for it and try to make some myself.”
Angie showed prototypes to friends on Facebook and, almost immediately, one asked her to make 30 pieces as bridal-shower favors.
Orders kept coming, and eventually, Angie gave her business a name: Pretty Poly Clay Creations.
I’ve kind of perfected my technique so that they have kind of a faux bisque finish. I’ve even fooled art teachers. They’re lighter than bisque, but they look and feel like bisque.
Angie Sarver on her ornaments
“I’ve kind of perfected my technique so that they have kind of a faux bisque finish,” she said. “I’ve even fooled art teachers. They’re lighter than bisque, but they look and feel like bisque.”
Angie’s kitchen doubles as a workshop, thanks to the cooperation of her husband, Omar Acosta, and three children, Nicholas, 15, Adriana, 9, and David, 6.
Angie uses a rolling pin to flatten clay and cookie cutters to cut shapes. Then she ink stamps or embosses script or images of birds, animals or landmarks, ranging from the Eiffel Tower to the Gateway Arch.
“There’s a worn spot on my dining room table from all the clay I have rolled,” she said. “I think it adds character.”
The final step is baking the tags and ornaments in the oven for 15 minutes.
Angie has designs for anniversaries, birthdays, even deaths. Each memorial ornament includes a name tag and a second tag that reads, “When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.”
Angie’s pieces are available at www.etsy.com, Facebook and That Finishing Touch in O’Fallon. Most sell for $5 to $7.
“I’m very proud of her,” said Omar, 47, a personal trainer who grew up in Panama. “I think it’s a beautiful art, and it’s a good way for her to release stress. She has a very demanding job.”
Hours for the Belleville Art and Craft Fall Fair are 3 to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
These are unique things that you’re never going to see in a store. The exhibitors keep prices reasonable because they have no overhead, and everything’s made in America.
Kay Weber on items at craft show
Admission is $4 on Friday, $2 on Saturday and $1 on Sunday, giving first picks to early birds.
“But there’s enough left over that they can come on Sunday and still have a wonderful selection,” Kay said.
At a glance
- What: 35th annual Belleville Art and Craft Fall Fair
- When: 3 to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
- Where: Belle-Clair Exposition Hall, 200 South Belt East in Belleville
- Admission: $4 on Friday, $2 on Saturday and $1 on Sunday
- Information: Call Belle-Clair at 618-235-0666 or visit www.kwebershows.com