In college, Emelie Weber fell in love with weaving.
Now, as the owner of Silo Ridge Maker’s Market in downtown Frankfort, weaving and fiber arts is more than just a class or a hobby, it’s her livelihood.
Weber went to school at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. There she befriended a fiber artist in town who got her interested in weaving. As part of Berea’s work requirement, she decided to look into employment in the weaving studio.
“I would sit in his kitchen with his loom and drink coffee and tell stories,” she said. “He taught me about weaving. When I went to Berea, I went to the weaving studio and decided to check it out and decided that’s where I wanted to work. When I learned how to weave, I fell in love with it.”
Instead of the minimum 10 hours a week, Weber ended up working full-time in the studio. Over the course of her time there, she made some 300 baby blankets, she said. It was what led her to winning the Sarah Fuller Smith Bloom award of a loom of her own. Given to one Berea student who is most likely to continue weaving when they leave college, the loom now sits in her studio in Silo Ridge Maker’s Market.
Weber came to Silo Ridge after the former owner found her on Instagram.
“There were probably about 10 or 12 vendors to start. I came and checked it out and absolutely fell in love with the idea,” she said. “Then last January, he asked me if I wanted to take over for him, because he wanted to focus on his woodworking. Of course, I said yes.”
Now, filled with the products of 38 vendors from all across Kentucky, the maker’s market provides shoppers with a place to not only buy one of a kind pieces, but to support local artists and crafters.
“Each little section you see is an individual artist or groups of artists. As far as I’m concerned if you’ve made it or altered it in some way, you have a space here,” she said.
From roasted Kentucky coffee, honey, T-shirts, woodwork and soaps to, of course, Emelie’s pieces, items range in price from $2 cars and $2,000 tables. While about a third of the artists are from Frankfort, she said, others come from Versailles, Lawrenceburg, Lexington, Louisville and other parts of the state.
All of them, she said, are ramping up for the holidays. Seasonal items are on display and special events are scheduled for holiday shoppers.
“We’ll be having demonstrations on Saturday mornings, with Meet the Maker sessions,” Weber said. “We’ll have five different vendors in the store every Saturday morning, so that people can kind of make their rounds and see what’s going on. And then we’ll have some make and take crafts – something easy to do that the kids can do.”
Shoppers will be able to shop in the store, but will have access to limited shopping online as well, she said.
We’ll have curbside pick-up, but it will be limited,” she said. “It’s difficult to keep up with things coming and going.”
That’s because makers are constantly in and out of the store bringing in new things and restocking their unique pieces.
“Our products not only change by the season, but almost by the day,” she said. “We have volunteers come in once a week to work. Some of our vendors come in every few days and some that come in once a month to add to their displays… you really can come in one month, and the next month it’ll be totally different.”
In order to participate as a vendor, she said, artists and makers must not only produce high quality products, but have to be different from everyone else. That way, she said, not only is there a wide variety of products, but it prevents vendors from competing with one another.
Silo Ridge is open to in-person shopping seven days a week, but requires everyone to wear a mask and stay six feet apart. Shoppers should know that because of Covid-19, there is no public bathroom, and the number of people allowed in the store at any one time will be limited. Masks are available for curb-side purchase, and hand-sanitizer and gloves will be available for use while shopping.
Weber recommended that if shoppers have large groups that they call ahead to let staffers prepare for them.
Additionally, she said, if shoppers are looking for specific items, they might want to call ahead as well. If an item isn’t in stock, in some cases they can call and let the artist know that a customer has a request.
Silo Ridge Maker’s Market is located at 314 St. Clair St., in downtown Frankfort and can be reached at 502-871-5084. For more information, you can check out their web site at siloridgemarket.com or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/siloridgemakersmarket.