Chris Rush

Hand-Written Notes Never Out of Style

“I love Christmas in the Woods” says artist and crafter Chris Rush who has been selling at the event for more than 10 years.  “I love the wooded venue, my fellow crafters in their period outfits, the cute vendor ‘cottages’, the smell of the various foods cooking, and especially the outdoor church service for vendors on Sunday mornings.  And, of course, I love seeing returning customers as well as meeting new ones year after year.  The McGaffics do a great job organizing and managing the event which seems to get better every year.”

Chris is the owner of ‘Chris Rush Designer Notes.’  She has been creating and selling hand-made note cards since 1985.  Somewhat surprisingly, even in these days of electronic texting and e-mails, Chris points out that people still appreciate and enjoy receiving hand-written notes, and her business continues to grow.  Chris hand draws the designs that appear on her note cards and embellishes each card with a piece of tatted lace (Tatting is related to a technique for rope looping and knotting originally used by fishermen, sailors and net-makers traceable as far back as ancient Egypt.  Later it was revived as lacemaking in France where it is called ‘frivolite’, and in Italy where it is called ‘chicchicchanario’).  The piece of cotton tatted lace is made integral to the design, appearing as a flower, the sun, a star, a bow or other appropriate element of the overall design.  So dedicated to the use of tatted lace in her designs, she will not make a note card design in which she cannot logically incorporate the piece of tatting.

Chris first learned the art of tatting while living in Asia back in the 1970s. She was then reacquainted with the art in the 80s when she was volunteering at a western Pennsylvania senior care home and saw one of the residents using the traditional small shuttle to make strings of tatted lace.  The resident patiently worked with Chris to perfect her technique and she has be making the lace pieces ever since.  Chris makes her tatting using a small hand shuttle but other ways to tat use a needle rather than a shuttle.

Chris now has more than 600 original card designs including floral and holiday designs, dogs, cats, woodland creatures, beach scenes, greeting (get well, sympathy, birthday, congratulations, etc.) and a wide range of cards containing uplifting Scripture verses.  The cards are packaged in sets of 5 cards with envelopes and offered in boxes of one design or as an assortment.  

Chris works in a small studio in her home where she begins each new design with a pencil sketch.  The idea for the design may come from a photo or a customer request, but more often than not, from simply observing nature’s beauty around us.  When the design is complete, Chris prints the basic card using her home printer.  She then manually adds the tatted lace pieces and other finishing touches (dimensional paint, glitter, etc.) to each individual note card, making each card a ‘one of a kind’ design.  For example, dimensional paint is used to represent snow, glitter glue becomes a star or the ocean or Christmas lights on a tree.   Her ‘non-artistic’ husband, Alan, then ‘adds value’ by folding and packaging the cards for sale.  (Alan likewise loves the personal interactions with Chris’s customers during Christmas in the Woods.). 

At the request of several customers, Chris has recently added a new product offering to her portfolio:  tempered glass coasters gift-boxed in sets of 4 featuring her most popular floral or Christmas designs. In the future she will be adapting several of her other designs for use in the coasters.   She will be featuring the coasters sets for the first time this year at the Christmas in the Woods event.  Chris and Alan look forward to seeing their friends, both new and old at this fall’s show. 

Chris Rush Designer Notes is located in Booth #111.