Article by Anita Hellman
If you have ever attended a Pride of Dakota event, open air market or festival in the Bismarck, ND area, you have probably come upon an eclectic collection of handmade jewelry and upcycled paper art that comprises Cherishables.
Let me introduce myself and my company. I am Anita Hellman, sole proprietor. I work from my home, creating all the pieces myself. Cherishables began in 2006 under the name Crosses & Charms. At that time, I was making small horseshoe nail crosses with the intent of selling them back to Disciple’s Cross.
That venture proved to be less than lucrative, and I chose to find an alternate market for the crosses. I added some small pewter charms and rented a table at the local mall on weekends. It was a good way to get some exposure, but sales were sporadic.
My first real marketplace was Urban Harvest, an open air market in downtown Bismarck that opened once a week for eight weeks. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to fill my space with a single item, I ordered $100 worth of glass beads and stringing materials. I made some necklaces and bracelets, and by the end of the first day my stock was nearly depleted. The same thing happened every week. I kept making more and went home nearly empty-handed. Success! I was in business!
Finding new marketplaces is easy, but finding my niche market proved to be a bit more difficult. I joined Pride of Dakota in time for the holiday season in 2006.
As my art evolved, I renamed the business Cherishables. I found myself exploring many different techniques and media. Pulling junk mail out of my mailbox one day, I decided to make some art out of it. Spam Art was born!
It started with ankle bracelets made of paper beads. A beautiful catalog inspired my signature piece, the 6” angel figurine made of paper, jeweler’s wire, and gemstone nuggets. The next project was paper pottery, a collection of coiled paper bowls. Paper cone wreaths are made of old book pages. I soon dropped the Spam Art label and currently market my work as “upcycled paper art.”
I am currently working on some new techniques, including paper collage wall art and a spinning technique using newspaper. Stay tuned!
Anita Hellman is an artist living in Bismarck, ND. Employed by Cystic Fibrosis Association of North Dakota, she also works as a blackjack dealer. Her grown children, Mark and Lisa, also live in the Bismarck area.
In addition to making a great collection of wearables, wall art and home décor, Anita enjoys gardening and spending time with her four small grandchildren.