Because Mall is a Four Letter Word

The Handmade Market Spotlight: The Pepper Mill Shop


Kelly Sweitzer from The Pepper Mill Shop

The Pepper Mill Shop
raffle donor

Describe your style, influences, inspiration, and what you plan to bring:

To say that my brain is always in pun-making-mode would be an understatement. I can’t talk to my husband without one slipping into the conversation somewhere. When they hit, I write them down, and let them simmer. And when I get around to bringing them to life through my simple, expressive, colorfully styled characters, it’s the thought of hearing someone laugh that makes me proudest of my work. 

Some of the newer items I’ve been carrying are the themed 8 piece magnet packs. My BRAND NEW one is full of puns for folks with a sweet tooth. I’ve very excited to bring it out!

How did you learn your craft?:

The puns? It’s how I’m wired. The physicality of bringing them to life? I have to thank the theatre program at UNCW, which led me to a job in the film industry as a scenic artist. Learning your way around a shop setting, how to use the tools, how to make a color, just how to use your hands – it was invaluable.

Which artist at The Handmade Market are you excited to see/meet?:

Excited that my fellow Wilmington babes, Cabin Girl Designs and River Organics joined for this last market. Always love to see what Liz Kelly’s brain came up with, and hand-bound books from Plum Umbrella are just too dang cute. Also, always dig what Gretchin Quinn and geekchic are doing.

What is your favorite way to put yourself in the mood for creativity?:

I just moved into a huuuge studio space, straight outta my basement, and I’ve never been more productive. Stepping into the studio puts me in the mood. Uh, to be creative. By myself. Ha.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out and/or what is the best advice you have received for your art & business?:

Your first market’s set up is going to be terrible. You will look back at photos of it (TAKE PHOTOS EVERY TIME!) and cringe. Trial and error are your best friends. And also, Murphys law is real.

Same advice I received when I was planning my wedding is something I still constantly say to myself….one thing at a time.

We all have those people that love you tell us what we “should” make. What’s the worst “best tip” you’ve ever gotten?:

I should create an illustration that says “Lettuce turnip the beet” because it was JUUUUUST the funniest thing they’ve ever seen! As they stand in my booth. Surrounded by my work. That is full of funny things. Hmph. 

Also, I’m not drawing Kale just on principal at this point.

If you have sold or attended before, what’s your favorite Handmade Market memory or purchase?:

This will be my third time! The first Handmade Market I did, I was outside and it was cold. I was across the aisle from Rachel with Windblown Jewelry and, you know, ya chat with your neighbors. We got on the subject of having to wake up early for markets, and she suggested the BEST alarm app ever. I still use it every single day. And, of course, I also got a really fantastic ring from her.

Follow The Pepper Mill Shop:


For the full artist gallery, and all the details you’ll ever need about The Handmade Market, go here! See you November 10th!

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