Art teacher finds creative outlet in handmade work

May 1, 2019

Erin Reiff spends much of her time helping elementary students embrace their creativity.

After hours, though, the Brandon Valley School District art teacher has found her own way to express herself through handmade work.

“It fulfills something inside me,” she said. “I’ve always been moved to make things with my own hands, so it’s fun to give someone something you made and have them enjoy it.”

Her business – she struggles to even think of it as a business “because it’s just something I have fun doing” – began with making purses for her kids’ teachers and her friends.

It grew from there.

“I got inspired by my sister, who sells booties, and seeing her make something and be proud was neat to see, and I thought it’d be kind of fun,” she said.

Erin Rae Designs now sells wristlets, zipper pouches and gift card holders at Knotty Gnome Variety & Salvage in Hartford not far from where Reiff lives.

“Each one is hand-sewn. I pick the fabrics and colors,” she said. “It’s fun for me to make them and put colors together. I don’t want them to look the same.”

The bags also can be repurposed into makeup bags or pencil pouches, she said.

Erin Rae Designs will be a new maker at the 605 Made Spring Market, which will be from noon to 8 p.m. Friday in the atrium of The First National Bank in downtown Sioux Falls.

“It’s just a great venue for me to see if maybe this is something I should be making more of and getting out there,” Reiff said. “It’s a good place for me to try and see what people think.”

605 Made Spring Market vendor guide

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Art teacher finds creative outlet in handmade work

She’s an art teacher by day whose own work is coming to the 605 Made Spring Market for the first time. Meet the owner of Erin Rae Designs!

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