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The coolest new goods from Maryland makers — and where to get them

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From Afrocentric greeting cards to clocks, these items are handmade right here in Maryland.

These are greeting cards made by MICA graduate and Baltimore resident Jermaine Táron Bell as part of this company jtbeezwax.
These are greeting cards made by MICA graduate and Baltimore resident Jermaine Táron Bell as part of this company jtbeezwax.

jtbeezwax greeting cards

Sending greeting cards — a lost art — has recently taken on newfound importance, according to East Baltimore visual designer Jermaine Táron Bell.

“Right now, sending a handwritten note in a greeting card is doubly important,” he said. “We’re all keeping our distance for safety from COVID-19 so we can’t even see our friends and family that often.”

Bell wants to inject a tinge of black culture in the renewed tradition. The 33-year-old has a line of Afrocentric greeting cards available from his company, jtbeezwax.

Bell got the idea for making greeting cards his senior year at the Maryland Institute College of Art. The graphic design major created a book and decided to make greeting cards with the characters from the book.

“One day I was looking at it and thought it would be cool to make these greeting cards,” he recalled. “And the rest is history.”

Find the greeting cards for $4 each at jermainetbell.com/jtbeezwaxshop.

Erica Lambart, owner of Which Crafters, makes clocks and teaches several kinds of craft classes.
Erica Lambart, owner of Which Crafters, makes clocks and teaches several kinds of craft classes. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Which Crafters clocks

Erica Lambart wants to pass on her love for crafting and creating to the public, so she leads three-hour events and parties at which customers make decorative face masks, candles, terrariums and more.

The 36-year-old Mount Washington resident attributes her affinity for creating things to her Michigan upbringing.

“I’m a pastor’s daughter from the Midwest,” she said. “Since I was 2, my mother had me doing crafts and arts. That’s kind of how we are.”

Lambart was inspired to begin her business when she was working at The Foundry, a now-closed community maker space in Port Covington. While she oversaw the hiring of instructors and the development of curriculum, she realized that she wanted to continue encouraging people — especially women —to become maker enthusiasts.

“The whole concept evolved from that,” she said.

The most popular item that her students make is a wooden laser-cut analogue clock. The class uses material all sourced in Maryland. Classes are $50 per person with a minimum of five participants.

“It’s combining power tools, paint and wall decor. You get to be creative and try something new. It’s one step above a normal sip and paint. It’s a great way to teach people to use power tools,” she said. “Watching people go through building their own clock start to finish is really cool to see.”

Contact Which Crafters at pickwhichcraft.com.

Shawn Chopra and his wife Anne Morgan recently opened Good Neighbor on Falls Road in Hampden, despite the pandemic. The shop offers coffee, tea, wine, beer and light food, as well as ceramics, furniture, textiles, plants and books, all with a modern design flair.
Shawn Chopra and his wife Anne Morgan recently opened Good Neighbor on Falls Road in Hampden, despite the pandemic. The shop offers coffee, tea, wine, beer and light food, as well as ceramics, furniture, textiles, plants and books, all with a modern design flair. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Good Neighbor

Five years ago while working as a physical therapist, Shawn Chopra, 32, knew he wanted to explore his creative side. His solution was to open Good Neighbor, a home goods and coffee shop. The Hampden shop opened in April.

“I wanted to bring a place where you could find about great makers in Baltimore and makers from around the world,” he said. “I wanted to offer the best way to do food and coffee. It’s a way that people can come in a sit on chairs and experience the food.”

Shawn Chopra and his wife Anne Morgan, with their seven-week-old son, Avi, at their shop, Good Neighbor, which opened recently on Falls Road. The Hampden shop offers coffee, tea, wine, beer and light food, as well as ceramics, furniture, textiles, plants and books, all with a modern design flair.
Shawn Chopra and his wife Anne Morgan, with their seven-week-old son, Avi, at their shop, Good Neighbor, which opened recently on Falls Road. The Hampden shop offers coffee, tea, wine, beer and light food, as well as ceramics, furniture, textiles, plants and books, all with a modern design flair. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

The main store, which is 2,000 square feet, contains a coffee shop that sells pastries, toasts and salads along with home goods. The outdoor space — 3,000 square feet — allows for outdoor dining. There is also a 500-square-foot greenhouse.

Customers can purchase items such as furniture, including a $2,000 sofa, books, kitchen goods and candles.

He eventually wants to host events such as happy hours at the space and continue to bring in international and local makers.

Chopra moved to Baltimore 10 years ago from Canada with his wife and business partner, Anne Morgan, a dentist. The two had their first child, Avi, in July.

Find Good Neighbor at 3827 Falls Road, Hampden. 443-627-8919, goodneighborshop.com.

Maggie Moore, assistant manager of Primitive Beginnings and Lotus, with scented candles made in house.
Maggie Moore, assistant manager of Primitive Beginnings and Lotus, with scented candles made in house. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

Scented candles at Primitive Beginnings

The team at Primitive Beginnings, a clothing and gift store in Ellicott City, is now hand-pouring fragrant soy candles in-house with proceeds helping the community.

“It’s a lot easier to create your own scent than you think,” said Maggie Moore, assistant store manager. “It’s very cool to see all the work you put into it. There’s a sense of accomplishment when you sell one because you know what went into making it.”

The shop started selling the candles, which are poured in the store’s office space, in January. Moore estimates they have made more than 150 with nine scents, including pumpkin Chai and summer melon.

Proceeds from the sale of candles have gone toward the Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation scholarship named for Sgt. Eddison “Eddie” A. Hermond, who died during the Ellicott City flood of 2018. Now proceeds are going toward college scholarships for five Howard County high school students and two Howard County college students.

Find these scented candles for $18.50 at Primitive Beginnings, 8247 Main St., Ellicott City. 410-777-9240, pbandlotus.com.

Find the circular serving tray for $18.95 at Farmhouse on Main, 20 East Lee St., Bel Air.
Find the circular serving tray for $18.95 at Farmhouse on Main, 20 East Lee St., Bel Air.

Circular serving tray

The galvanized metal and pine wood stenciled trays at Bel Air’s Farmhouse on Main are a top seller. And for good reason.

“You can use [them] for wall decor, in the kitchen or on the patio. They can be for drinks. They act as a catchall. You come in and throw your keys [on it.] There are a lot of different uses for that piece,” said Kate Schwab, who owns Farmhouse on Main with her husband, GW.

Schwab, who makes the trays, said she is “personally obsessed” with them.

“Making them was a no-brainer for me,” she said,

Aside for the many uses of the trays, Schwab said she also likes the look.

“I love the mixture of metal and wood,” she said.

She and her husband started selling their goods at various maker marts before opening their first store was in Darlington. They moved the store to Bel Air in July.

Find the circular serving tray for $18.95 at Farmhouse on Main, 20 East Lee St., Bel Air. 410-622-2984, farmhouseonmainmd.com.

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