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Fabulous Ladies of the ROC: Kristen Cartagena

Today's installment of Fabulous Ladies of the ROC includes a woman right here in my town not just making jewelry, but making the difference in the lives of others.

I'd like you to meet Irondequoit's Kristen Cartagena. She is one half of the duo Artsy Chicas.

Kristen Cartagena and her business partner, Heidi Rivera, make up the Artsy Chicas. They've been selling on Etsy since 2007 and offer jewelry, hand painted items, party favors, and more. I have decided to feature both artisans in separate pieces here on C & G, as they each have their own niche.

Kristen creates mixed media pendants, wire wrapped jewelry, and painted treasures, too. You can find her wares at Hair Extraordinaire on Titus Avenue right here in West Irondequoit. Kristen has built up a great reputation in this neck of the woods, having been featured in The Daily Messenger and as a regular at local arts and crafts festivals, including my favorite summer event, The Park Avenue Festival.

A native Rochestarian, Kristen loves the area's summer time events, such as garage sales, strolling the shops along Park Avenue and Pittsford's Schoen Place, visiting Lavender Moon Herbs, and dining at two of my own personal favorites for Mediterranean fare: Aladdin's and Sinbad's. In addition to her crafting and hanging out around Rochester, she teaches art to children at St. Joseph's Villa in their alcohol and chemical dependency program. This busy mom of 2 girls (ages 4 and 7) is also a Licensed Massage Therapist.

She also enjoys doing anything and everything crafty and has been working on some new items for the upcoming summer season. She adores going to local bead shops and like to shop the internet for interesting finds.

I recently spoke with some of her local fans. Here is what Irondequoit's Katie Fournia had to say: "Kristen is not only a talented artist and jewelry designer, but she also uses her talent to help at-risk children. Using art, she provides an outlet to express themselves in a creative and positive way. She is truly a gifted artist and exceptional human being."

She really is a giving soul. I recently contacted her about a friend who I chat with in a small group over coffee regularly. My friend is disabled and older and has been looking for a massage therapist to come to her home. When I asked Kristen about the possibility of her doing this since she is an LMT, her kind and warm "How can I help?" attitude stood right out.

Kristen's love of the handmade movement also stands out. I asked her what buying handmade means to her and she said told me "Buying handmade means it has more "love" in it...was made personally and not mass produced." When one takes a moment to browse the creations made by Kristen Cartagena, you can truly sense that love.

If you're interested in supporting local artisans, check out Kristen's jewelry at Hair Extraordinaire located at 659 Titus Avenue. It's right by the House of Guitars. Check her Etsy shop as well, especially if you're not in the area.

In the future, I will also be talking with the other half of Artsy Chicas so we can learn more about her area of expertise--her fertility bracelets.