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Artists Reconnect & Collaborate During COVID

bfloGALS creator and Buffalo native artist join forces to unveil the newest designs in bfloGALS jewelry line

When Christine Wittmann, a lifelong western NY native, approached me
about collaborating with her in her jewelry business, it was a
no-brainer. Christine and I have been friends since middle-school, and
now almost 40 years later (did I just reveal our age?), we have found
a way to combine our lifelong artistic paths.

About 10 years ago, Christine was searching for a better work/life
balance than she could get with her industrial sales and marketing
job. She wanted to spend more time with her family, and decided that
the solution was to change her path by starting a company where she
could focus on her passion for producing and teaching others about
custom jewelry. Initially, Christine vividly remembers thinking that
her “hobby” had simply run amok with most of her pieces featuring
buffalo nickels. In 2016 Christine came up with a new inspirational
focus, and this is how her new company, bfloGALS, came into being. The
company product line has expanded considerably from buffalo nickels,
and her line can be found at the Blue Rooster in Hamburg, Buffalo
Gallery & Gift (several locations including in the Eastern Hills
Mall), Pink Martini on Grand Island, Thin Ice on Elmwood in Buffalo,
BonTon (now closed), and Village ARTisan on Main Street in
Williamsville.

I am also from Buffalo, NY. Although Chapel Hill, North Carolina is
where I live now, Buffalo will always be HOME. I have fond memories of
skiing at Holiday Valley and sailing on the Niagara River and Lake
Erie. I even celebrated my 50th birthday by eating chicken wings and
pizza at Santoras and having ice cream at Antoinette’s. Christine
appropriately presented me with a necklace that says “No matter
where I go Buffalo will always be home”. I am not a formally trained
artist but I have over 30 years of experience. I mainly focus on color
combinations within colorful scenes, but seldom does my art reflect
what most would consider to be “realistic” colors. I have pieces
or art in many areas of the country, one prominently being in the Grand
Island, NY public library. For Christine’s jewelry, I have created a
new line of artwork that focuses on Buffalo, NY.

The COVID crisis has had a big impact on all small businesses, and
Christine’s was no exception. All of the shops that carried her line
either closed or had severe restrictions on business, and she could
no longer hold jewelry-making classes in her studio at the Niagara
Arts and Cultural Center. Christine found herself wondering how to
move forward, and it was then that she reached out to me about
combining my artwork into a series of new jewelry pieces. From my
point of view, it has been a gift to connect with a childhood friend
in this way after sheltering in place and the solitude at home.

Garnering inspiration from each other, I have created new artwork
that Christine is transforming into multiple beautiful jewelry pieces.
These pieces are still in development but will slowly be introduced as
shops are allowed to re-open. As Christine has written on her website:
“a bfloGAL is a girl who, no matter where she finds herself living,
calls Buffalo, NY her home”.

bfloGALS is all about Buffalo artists working together to create
artisan pieces. To learn more about bfloGALS, visit www.bflogals.com