Born in central Illinois, Christine (Chris) Acton was raised in the Midwest by a family of avid crafters and musicians. From her grandmother (the 1950s Home Economics Goddess) to her Aunt Laura (craft store owner), Chris developed a love for all things made with pipe cleaners and googly eyes at a very young age.
Educated in Interior Design and Music Performance at Indiana University, Chris was educated in fine arts and then led a successful career in Interior Design/Space Planning for the next 13 years.
Throughout this journey, she continued to be called to fiber arts and crafts. In 2005, she took her first weaving class and found her footing as an artist. In 2008, she left the corporate world to pursue her art full time, founding Acton Creative, LLC. Her work has been featured in Fiber Arts Magazine and in galleries across the US.
Today, Chris is based in Northwest Indiana at the base of Lake Michigan, where she is active in the local weavers guild and a number of creativity groups.
A Message from Chris
Almost 10 years ago, I was fortunate enough to discover my passion — weaving! From the minute I walked into Tammy Deck’s class at TLD Design Center in Westmont, IL, I was completely hooked! Stunning yarn, beautiful equipment, fun accessories, and textiles with infinite possibilities — what more could you want? To learn this age-old artform has been a fabulous adventure and I want nothing more than to share my enthusiasm!
I work on a 30 year-old Schacht floor loom in a gorgeous honey color. Looms are beautiful pieces of furniture even if you don’t have a project on them! I typically work with (2) different styles of fabric, traditional and recycled. When developing traditional fabric, I like to work with cotton, wool and any other wonderful yarns available. For the recycled fabric, I enjoy taking neckties or silk scarves and turning them into something new and exciting. Both techniques have become important in creating interesting products!
As a designer, I’m continually drawn to patterns. Are they going faster or slower? Are they alternating back and forth between each other? Are they stable and solid, or light and energetic? They constantly fascinate me! Thus, my weaving becomes a vehicle for translating these patterns into visual, tactile works of art!
My hope is that you’ll not only enjoy all the woven gems, but you’ll be inspired to create something yourself! You never know where your artistic journey may lead…
Chef K. Clark Pickles & Preserves
We are a small batch producer of unique pickles and preserves in Dane County, Wisconsin.
We grow some of what we process on our third-generation family homestead. Chef K personally selects seed and encourages local farmer partners to grow unique varieties to create distinctive combinations while highlighting the natural flavors.
We do not use artificial flavors, colors or sweetness. Each jar is hand-crafted with the freshest of produce, herbs and spices.
Christine’s Gourmet Toffee
Chocolaterian Cafe is the home of Christine’s Gourmet Toffee. Small batch-made in a traditional copper kettle, we exclusively use real Wisconsin butter and Sassy Cow Creamery heavy cream in our products. Our candies are topped with the finest French sea salt and Belgian dark chocolate to create a truly delicious treat.
The line includes everything from salted caramels to bacon toffee and everything in between.
Farmer Johns’ Cheese
The Farmer John operation in Spring Green began with the first Farmer John at the turn of the century. Currently, Farmer John the Fourth is very much involved in the farming operation.
Farmer Johns’ Cheese is located just minutes west of Madison, Wisconsin.
The Mission of Jack’s Soaporium:
To satisfy consumers with an all-natural, affordable organic, skin-healthy alternative to store-bought, mass-produced, artificially-enhanced, colored, thinned, bleached, irradiated soaps and to educate the consumer about choosing quality soaps and the importance of knowing what they are putting on their skin, “the largest organ of the body.”
Jack’s Soaporium continues to provide the finest of quality soaps and body soufflé through continued research, development, and the use of all-natural, organically-grown and harvested elements used in all of our handcrafted soaps and body soufflé in hopes of promoting skin health and healing of all skin types and conditions.
At Jack's Soaporium we are firmly committed to responsible sustainable sourcing of all essentials and oils used in all of our products.
Lisa Jack, President Organic Alchemist Practicing Spagyrics Alchemist
The Melted Bean
Meet Angie and Naly! They are the owners of The Melted Bean (TMB), a small business that makes hand-poured soy candles. Angie and Naly started TMB back in August of 2015, with the intentions that the revenue would be used to help pay Angie’s student loan debt (the girl loves to learn!). They are dedicated to excellent customer service and take a great pride in making a high quality hand-crafted product.
The Melted Bean specializes in uniquely scented hand-poured candles made with eco-friendly and sustainable materials. Each hand poured candle is made with an all-natural soy wax, a cotton wick, cork lined lid and comes in a reusable glass container. We strongly believe in a “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” philosophy, which is reflected in our products as well as our minimalist approach to packaging. Our fragrances have been carefully selected to cover a wide range of tastes that span from floral to savory to fruity to crisp.
Derived from soy beans, soy wax is a biodegradable, clean burning and renewable material that continues to gain popularity because of the many benefits it offers. Compared to paraffin wax, soy wax can hold a larger amount of fragrance, has a lower melting point which creates a stronger scent throw and burns three times longer. The biodegradable properties of soy wax make it easy to clean with soap and water. The production of soy wax is completely renewable and the U.S. grows the vast majority of the world’s soy beans encouraging growth in the agricultural economy.
After a lot of testing, we finally fell in love. Our cotton wicks are a coreless, non-directional, flat braided wick with paper filament throughout. They are coated with a natural wax coating making them perfect for soy candles. Our cotton wicks are self-trimming and designed to promote a consistent burning flame.
This one is simple. We carefully selected fragrances that would work well independently and together. We also stayed away from traditional scents found in big box stores. A few of our oils contain a higher percent of vanilla that will turn yellow over time. This is natural because we don’t use additional additives to prevent the discoloration.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. The possibilities are endless but if you are experiencing a creative block, head over to Pinterest.
Hello! My name is Linnea (pronounced “Li-NAY-a”). The “Nay” in Naystalgia comes from the nickname that my closest friends and fam call me.
I’ve always been drawn to anything and everything vintage. I have been on the hunt for great vintage finds since I was a young child, hitting the thrift stores and yard sales with my creative and inspiring mom. Now, as an adult, I find myself still as entranced by and drawn to vintage goodies as ever before.
My creations all incorporate some vintage and/or recycled materials into them. Most things are one-of-a-kind and everything is unique. I unearth my supplies personally and transform them with my own hands.
Madison-area woodworker Todd Oelke makes wine bottle holders out of beautiful, unique pieces of wood. Insert a bottle of wine and it magically balances in the holder with no other support!
Pick up a bottle of wine at the Cottage Goddess in the Paoli Mill building and one of Todd’s wine bottle holders here at Paoli Mercantile for a perfect gift set.
Lisa Nelson is the owner of Roots Chocolates.
“When I grew up on the family farm, we milked cows in the morning then got on the school bus to go to school. My fondest memories are of getting off the bus after school and smelling the warm scent of freshly baked bread leading me to the house. Of all of my siblings, I am the one who inherited the "foodie" gene. I loved helping my mom mix cookie dough and was always available to taste the cake batters. It was my job to make the Krumkake for holiday celebrations. Sweets were always my favorite things to make. It stuck with me.
Fast forward through the years. Living and traveling in Europe, attending college, owning a business as a personal chef and working years in the IT industry. When I lost my job in IT Management, it was a blessing. It was an opportunity. It was a gift!
I made the decision to switch gears to something less stressful and more mindful...chocolate. Why not join my love of being a sustainable farmer, an avid foodie and CHOCOLATE lover!. I pursued my professional chocolate education in Vancouver, B.C. Canada and then interned with one of the instructors at her quaint little shop in Vancouver. I wanted to know what a larger production shop felt like too, so I sought another internship in Kansas.
Packed with knowledge, internships, education and recipes, I launched my business in December of 2010. Melding my love of chocolate with being a 4th generation farm owner is truly a gift. I can say without regret, I LOVE my career!”
Anne Cory is She Knits.
Anne creates her pieces from yarns and patterns to deliver wearability, style, timelessness and warmth. Each item is carefully knit or crocheted by hand as a one-of-a-kind and size-specific garment.
Wisco Pop! Beverage Company
In the early aughts, Austin Ashley set aside his artisan beer obsession and began experimenting with other craft beverages. He started with small-batch ginger beers, fermented fruit bubblies and quite obviously struck a nerve as demand from friends and family quickly outpaced his hobby-level production. In July of 2012, Austin decided to take the plunge with his wife Hallie, and combine their love of soda with their deep respect for the local food movement and launched Wisco Pop!.
Never satisfied, we’re always working on refining our current products and developing new ones. In June of 2016, our sodas became certified organic. We also released our first unsweetened product, organic Lemon Sparkle. The Sparkle line will have two additional flavors added in early 2017.
We’re now distributing our organic sodas and Sparkle throughout the midwest and beyond.
Wisco Pop! Beverage Company is based in Viroqua, Wisconsin.
The Wood Cycle of Wisconsin
It starts with a story about a tree…
The Wood Cycle of Wisconsin Inc. is a family business founded with an emphasis on craftsmanship and artistry over mass production. More than 90 percent of our work begins with trees that need to be removed from Southern Wisconsin’s urban landscapes for reasons such as disease, damage, or construction activities. With our sawmill, drying kiln and full custom wood shop on one site, we are able to work from log to finished product, often putting a client's tree into their own home or office.
Unofficially, The Wood Cycle goes back through several generations of Dutch immigrant craftsman. Paul Morrison, the founder of The Wood Cycle obtained his passion for woodworking as a young boy following both his grandfathers. One grandfather was a watch maker and jeweler before becoming a cabinetmaker. He in turn followed his uncle “Tinker Bill,” who was described as “The Master Craftsman” in the book Craftsmen of Wisconsin.
Paul is a co-founder of Wisconsin Urban Wood, the nation’s largest organization of arborists, sawmills and custom woodworking businesses aimed at using wood from the urban landscape. Paul also recently authored the book Tree to Table: Emergence of the Urban Wood Movement.