Meet 10 makers that are beautifully transforming Balitmore


Annie Howe with her papercut of BaltimoreAnnie Howe with her papercut of Baltimore — Photo courtesy of Mckenzie Elizabeth Photo

Baltimore has a rich heritage, and it continues to make history, thanks to a new generation of creative entrepreneurs and artisans who are bringing attention to both their craft and the city itself.

What makes them even more special is the fact that they’re all about collaboration, supporting each other and opening their studios to pass along their knowledge to the public.

Here are 10 Baltimore makers whose work you should get to know.

Cake by Jason Hisley

Cake isn't the only dessert Jason Hisley makesCake isn’t the only dessert Jason Hisley makes — Photo courtesy of Breanna Kuhlmann Lifestyle Photography

There’s a new bakery in Charm City. Since opening in 2018, Cake by Jason has already been awarded Best of Baltimore for its cupcakes and has created over-the-top, baked-from-scratch custom cakes for hundreds of weddings, birthdays and special celebrations.

A Food Network favorite, Jason Hisley, whose treats you’ve drooled over on Cupcake Wars and Cake Boss, has brought his magic to Cake – and also to donuts, cupcakes and breakfast pastries. Sweet.

Drama MaMa Bookshop

Alisa Brock creates unique notebooks and journalsAlisa Brock creates unique notebooks and journals — Photo courtesy of Tanika Sykes

Alisa Brock understands the power of the written word, and she creates gorgeous laser cut notebooks and journals that will inspire you to document your life, take up poetry or keep a to-do list.

At Brock’s Wine and Bind workshops, you can create a unique wood, chipboard or soft-covered book filled with the paper of your choice. While you’re there, pick up one of Brock’s popular styles based on Baltimore’s rowhouses, which are also available in the gift shop of the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Sheryl Berger Designs

Sheryl Berger and her colorful workSheryl Berger and her colorful work — Photo courtesy of Megan Berger

Sheryl Berger discovered the art of painting dot mandalas in 2017 and fell in love with its meditative process. She found dotting calming, and ended up creating so many pieces, a business was born.

You can learn this relaxing art form at one of Berger’s dotting workshops, or treat yourself to one of her vibrant pieces. Color is such a passion of Berger’s, she has a second line: vividly-hued paintings created with alcohol inks, designed to make you smile.

B. Willow

Liz Vayda is making Baltimore greenLiz Vayda is making Baltimore green — Photo courtesy of Matty Tae

With her mission to bring nature indoors so people can experience its benefits at home or at work, Liz Vayda is helping to make Baltimore more beautiful. B. Willow, her botanical paradise, is not only a stunning Instagram backdrop, but also a great place to pick up a plant or a flower arrangement – and learn how to keep it alive.

Vayda is passionate about education, and she offers workshops on everything from Plant Care 101 to Cacti Building. The B. Willow planting table encourages you to get dirty, and will turn your black thumb green.

KSM Candle Co.

Letta Moore hand pours soy candles in two dozen scentsLetta Moore hand pours soy candles in two dozen scents — Photo courtesy of Taaj Maddox

Letta Moore sells handmade scarves, candles and jewelry in her Mount Vernon shop which shares space with Keepers Vintage. Her popular soy candles are hand-poured and available in more than two dozen scents, including Baltimore classics like “Berger Cookie.”

Moore also offers candle-making workshops so you can mix and blend your own scents, and she offers a Candle of the Month Club so you’ll never run out.

Just Brittle

Natasha Wainwright and her homemade peanut brittleNatasha Wainwright and her homemade peanut brittle — Photo courtesy of Natasha’s Just Brittle

Natasha Wainwright has been cooking up sweet treats in her grandmother’s kitchen since she was 12 years old, and she opened her first online shop a decade ago.

Her Lauraville-Hamilton neighborhood store is open Thursday through Sunday, so locals can save their calories for the weekend to indulge in homemade peanut brittle and sweet-savory combos like chocolate-dipped potato chips and bacon.

She also supports her fellow culinary entrepreneurs with the B’More Made with Pride Commercial Kitchen, a shared-use facility which she rents out by the hour and where she hosts cooking classes and tastings.

Old Line Spirits

Old Line Spirits co-owners Arch Watkins and Mark McLaughlinOld Line Spirits co-owners Arch Watkins and Mark McLaughlin — Photo courtesy of Old Line Spirits

Former Naval aviators Mark McLaughlin and Arch Watkins started their own distillery in 2017 after leaving active service and apprenticing under and inheriting an award-winning recipe from Vietnam veteran Bob Stilnovich. Since then, they’ve won several gold medals for their American Single Malt Whiskey and have been named Best Baltimore Distillery.

They have also opened The Ready Room, making Old Line Spirits the city’s first distillery to house its own cocktail bar, and they continue to add to their collection of award-winning American Single Malt Whiskeys and Aged Caribbean Rums. Tours and tastings are just $5 every Saturday afternoon.

Annie Howe Papercuts

Annie Howe and her snail papercutAnnie Howe and her snail papercut — Photo courtesy of Mckenzie Elizabeth Photo

Papercut artist Annie Howe has created visually striking art for a variety of local institutions like Union Craft Brewing, Huckle’s Gourmet Foods and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company.

Buy one of Howe’s archival prints, lasercuts or handcrafted ornaments – her Baltimore print is the perfect souvenir – or take a workshop in her Hamilton-Lauraville studio and create your own.

Baltimore Print Studios

Printmakers Kyle Van Horn and Kim Bentley teach their skills in monthly workshopsPrintmakers Kyle Van Horn and Kim Bentley teach their skills in monthly workshops — Photo courtesy of Baltimore Print Studios

Husband-and-wife duo Kyle Van Horn and Kim Bentley offer monthly workshops at their public-access letterpress, screenprinting and Risograph studio, where you can learn new skills like screenprinting on T-shirts and make your own souvenir to bring home.

Full-time printmakers and graphic designers themselves, the couple both work at the Maryland Institute College of Art and print great-looking posters, shirts, bags, cards and coasters which you can buy on their online shop.

Union Craft Brewing

Union Craft Brewing's beers pay tribute to BaltimoreUnion Craft Brewing’s beers pay tribute to Baltimore — Photo courtesy of Jordan August

Kevin Blodger, Adam Benesch and Jon Zerivitz founded Union Craft Brewing in 2011, paying tribute to their hometown with beer names like Duckpin (a sport that began in Baltimore in the early 1900s and still thrives there today), Anthem (Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem in Baltimore during the War of 1812) and Skipjack (a traditional fishing boat used on the Chesapeake Bay for oyster dredging).

You can take a free brewery tour every Saturday or enjoy a pint or two with friends at the Tap Room where you can really see the inspiration for Union Craft Brewing’s philosophy, “Beer Unites.”

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