We only made it to two of the studios, but I think we may have picked the two best options. The first studio we visited was the one I desperately wanted to check out:
I've been a fan of Tugboat's handmade woodblock prints for some time, after discovering them on Steeltown Anthem. I love the detail and design of their prints. I love them so much that during last year's Handmade Arcade I purchased the "The Iceberg" print (now sold out!) because I love me a good narwhal. Tugboat is husband-wife duo Paul Roden and Valerie Lueth, and while we visited they were so welcoming. They explained the process of making their prints and we also chatted about Pittsburgh. They were wonderful. And their prints are incredible.
The other studio we visited was down the street from Tugboat. I'd walked past this home many times on trips from Bloomfield down to Butler and was always intrigued by the CDs hanging like drapes on the front porch. I wasn't sure what I would find inside, but what I did find was so right up my alley that it practically hurt to look at. The artist's name is Kitty Spangler.
The piece that seems perfectly made for me?
Oh, just a quilt of Pittsburgh where all of the different fabrics are cut out into the shape of neighborhoods making one absolutely incredible map. Every piece of fabric was chosen for a reason, so looking at the different pieces was like a game in trying to figure out which neighborhood was which just based on the fabric. Seriously. I was absolutely floored by this quilt. (And it instantly made me miss my mom, who probably would have made me one of these if she could.)