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Diane Lehmann, the owner of the Ashwood Artisans shop at the corner of Main and Pine streets in East Aurora, is a jewelry artisan. Last year she was juried into the Roycroft Artisan Guild. And although her shop does carry her jewelry, she really wants people to know that Ashwood Artisans is much more than that.

“The shop has works from about 90 Western New York artists,” she said, adding that the store sells paintings, photography, ceramics, jewelry, hand-knit wear, candles, and metal sculpture. There is “found-object recycled funky stuff” as well as fine wooden pieces such as turned bowls and handmade furniture. “I tried to cover most of the fine arts and fine crafts areas,” she said.

With Ashwood Artisans now in its fifth year, Diane says owning her own business is a lot of work, but she likes it a lot. “It seems people enjoy most of the stuff I have here,” she said. “I represent some people just starting out, and I represent some master craftsmen.”

Diane grew up in Laport, Ind., in the northern part of Indiana, about 12 miles from Lake Michigan. After graduating from Ball State University in Muncie, she taught high school art in Indiana. Because of her art education and experience, she said, “I know how to do a little bit of everything.”

Her husband of 23 years, Todd, is a jewelry manufacturer. They met at a jewelry trade show in New York City, and lived in Kenmore briefly before moving to their farm on Emery Road, where they’ve lived for 23 years. “He’s from Buffalo and I’m a country girl, and he said, ‘Well, East Aurora is in the country, it’s really pretty out there’.” They have two boys; Christopher is a junior at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and Scott is a freshman at East Aurora High School.

Diane is happy that the Main Street reconstruction is complete, and she has high hopes for 2010. “I hope I get a little bit smarter in business, and I hope this little economy just rolls around and starts doing an upturn,” she said. “East Aurora is an art-minded community with a deep appreciation for handmade artwork…I want to just keep on keeping on.”

Provided by the East Aurora Advertiser
Photo by Marty Wangelin

Other Links & Media:

Ashwood Artisans Gallery | Roycroft Artisans

NY Times | Lake Erie Living | EA Advertizer