For Art’s Sake


Hello everyone! Editor Victoria Ritter here. As our publisher J. Kevin Fahy takes a step back from the day-to-day operations of this magazine, I have humbly stepped up to introduce readers to the latest edition of Art Materials Retailer.

To be completely honest – the best start to any new relationship – I don’t consider myself a serious artist. Sure, I’ve had a smattering of art education classes in school, tried my hand at casual activities such as scrapbooking and “Cocktails and Canvas” events and even created the occasional quirky doodle on scrap paper or takeout containers. But while fun, my creative side never developed into producing anything that could be juried, sold or even seen by people outside my close friends and family. However, what I lack in artistic talent I make up in admiration and respect for people who do have the talent and drive to create.

One of the most creative people I know is a family friend who lives in Alabama. We visited her and her husband a couple times when my sister and I were in our teens. The friend, Bev, has one of those fascinating minds that balances both science and art. She’s wicked smart – a literal rocket scientist – and creative to boot.

During our first visit, she introduced us to silk painting. She generously provided all the materials and instructions while we provided the imagination. My silk painting design was of a sunrise on a beach, with bands of color spanning into the horizon. I recall at one point I accidentally blended the wrong colors on the silk, creating an oddly colored stain on the material. Bev did her best impression of Bob Ross and told me matter-of-factly that it was a mistake only if I allowed it to be one. That unintended blob became an island and a reminder that perspective is key.

The next day we switched gears, smashing leftover tiles to piece together small mosaic tables. To this day, those tables decorate my parents’ patio like colorful children’s drawings pinned on a fridge.

That’s what I love about being the editor of Art Materials Retailer. It supports artists and crafters by showcasing their amazing gifts. It highlights independent art stores that have built relationships in their respective communities. It inspires people to try new mediums or simply expand their perspective. And from where I sit, this edition is no different.

Readers can take a trip to Helena, MT in this quarter’s store profile. When a longstanding local art and craft supply store was about to close its doors in 2016, employees Deb Parsons and Martha Johnson decided to open their own fine art and custom framing shop. With their talents and past experience, Queen City Framing & Art Supplies has continued to thrive. Most of their business is custom framing projects, but one particular item they provide is Grab & Go Art Boxes, which are packed with supplies for a specific area of fine arts. Together with their small, yet mighty team, they proudly serve and support local artists.

Across the country in Syracuse, NY, Sara Stedner is showcasing her love of Japanese culture, lore and art through her manga illustrations. Using mixed media and Aitoh products, she creates vivid, detailed works of art. Those who attended Creativation by NAMTA in April might have passed by her booth. It was Stedner’s first trade show appearance, but she is eager to further showcase her work. Recently, she was kind enough to sit down with us and share her process.

This edition of Art Materials Retailer dives further into the art world with a recap of Creativation by NAMTA from Amy Colburn, a list of products recommended by retailers and much more.

So, whether you’re an artist, crafter, shop owner or someone who simply loves to create, we welcome you.


You can e-mail Victoria at


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