Deb and Rick Reis handcraft useful and beautiful artwork, mixing multiple natural materials to create unique gifts and decorations. Their items include clocks, desk accessories, frames, and jewelry, which each combine different natural wood and rocks. The wood and rock are cut and polished from raw materials to retain their natural beauty. They also produce Nantucket style baskets made out of reed or colored fishing line with handmade bases and handles.
Sometime in the late 1980's, Rick and Deb got fed up with the whole Christmas mall thing with the scramble around, buy something, give a gift just like everyone else was giving, and then have that returned to the mall. As a family, they decided that they would make gifts instead of buying them. That way nobody could return them. After a couple of years, the process became a lot more formal and there was a lottery where you would draw a name, and you were then committed to making homemade gifts.
For the Christmas exercise, Rick and Deb’s planning always started in January. They would usually start with an idea, acquire any necessary books and tools, and then start working on the craft. As would be expected, there would almost always be failures because it was the first time making that item. They would read the books, but would usually think that they had found a better way to do some aspect of the project. Of course, once you start to master the skills required for these crafts, then you no longer need to go to the mall for birthdays, weddings, housewarmings, graduations, etc.
Crafts to Rick and Deb are therapy and a diversion from their work with computers. Since becoming empty nesters, and in Deb’s case, a retiree, they are finding more time to pursue their passion for making handmade crafts. This passion for doing crafts led them originally to the Chester County Craft Guild, a chapter of the PA Guild of Craftsmen, where they met great people and got advice and encouragement for their craft business. Rick and Deb have honed their skills in specific craft areas now, and they are very proud to be juried members in woodworking, jewelry, and basketry.
Deb and Rick Reis, of Reis Renditions, have since purchased a farm in rural Pennsylvania, and built a house with expanded studio space. They now live and work at their crafts in Everett, PA. Since moving, they have joined the Cumberland Valley Craft Guild, also a chapter of the PA Guild of Craftsmen, and the Basket Weavers Guild of Bedford County.
The Washington County Arts Council, Inc. is funded by an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, (MSAC), an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the MSAC is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. Additional funding is also provided by Washington County Government and generous businesses, organizations and individuals.
The Washington County Arts Council is a proud member of County Arts Agencies of Maryland, Maryland Citizens for the Arts and Americans for the Arts.