If you’d like to find something unique and inspiring under your Christmas tree this year instead of the same old, same old, you might try sending your friends and family to Creations in downtown Madison, and put in your Wish List!
Creations is a store that not only sells incredible artisan jewelry, home décor, children’s items and more but also allows you to make your own Wish List of the things you find and love. The folks at Creations will keep your list on hand for anyone wanting some gift suggestions for you! Everyone in your family can keep their own Wish List so you never have to agonize again over what gifts to get someone.
Creations is a bright and airy store full of beautiful pieces from more than 100 artisans who have made their dreams a reality.
Home décor is one of their specialties and you will find unique one-of-a-kind gifts such as a hand-carved wood kitchen bowl or serving tray from Walden Hill Woodworks who use reclaimed hardwoods harvested from the Connecticut shoreline. Or you may come across “art from the traveling heart” license plate art by Unique Pl8z from Warwick, Rhode Island or chenille scarves from Great Barrington’s Mostrom and Chase.
They also sell many lines of artisan jewelry like conversation pieces from Nick DeDo Jewelry in Old Saybrook, whose work blends the line between jewelry and sculpture; or Naomi Jewelry from Avon who uses pearls, abalone and precious metals to create richly textured work; or local mom Eileen Clark who makes jewelry with sea glass found on the shoreline.
And then there are the children’s gifts.
“As a mom of two, I am thrilled with the kid’s selection at Creations,” says Lisa Allen, the store’s manager. “We have the most wonderful children’s gifts!”
There’s Crazy Aarons Thinking Putty which is non-toxic and silicone based, Green Toys which are “made safe” in the USA from recycled material and beautifully crafted music boxes made by Tree by Kerri Lee from upstate New York that is sweet enough to bring a tear to your eye.
“And Kids Creations Art class is also great!” says Lisa. Classes are taught by Elizabeth Borgnis, who holds a bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from S.U.N.Y. Purchase. “We are excited to have such a wonderful response within the community,” says Lisa. “We have a great growing group of kids who have been flourishing and growing not only their creativity but their confidence.”
What makes Creations truly unique is not only the artisan made goods but the fact that it’s the retail arm of Vista Life Innovations, a nationally recognized program that supports individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other related disabilities through community-based transition and employment services, along with arts and recreational programming.
Their mission is to help their students achieve personal success.
“We’re not just another retail store,” says Lisa. “The saying ‘It takes a village’ very much applies here,” says Lisa.
Three students from Vista are employed by Creations and are gaining knowledge and skills every day. One girl, Nicole Martines, has been taught by Naomi Tussin of Naomi Jewelry to make bracelets and they now selling them in the store. Sea glass jeweler Eileen Clark is a VISTA mom.
“As an organization, we couldn’t be prouder about all that that Creation’s represents.” says Tod Van Kirk Vice President of Programs, Services, and Organizational Development. “It provides Vista another opportunity to facilitate employment and generate awareness for adults with disabilities in a true community setting – a beautiful storefront in the middle of one of the best downtown shopping districts around!”
All proceeds from Creations support the programs and services of Vista Life Innovations. The students who work at the store are part of their Engage program for instance, which offers long-term, community-based services and supports.
“I see it every day, these students are amazing. They’re learning new things, going to the bank, and living their lives. It builds their skills and their confidence level and most importantly, they believe in themselves.”
Vista is an active and engaged member of the local business and residential communities in which they operate. The community-based approach is what makes Vista so successful.
“The question is not if the students are ready for the world but is the world ready for them,” says Lisa.