As far back as she can remember, Amber Epps, co-owner of the Arts & Crafts: Botanica & Occult Shop in Garfield, has always had a connection to the occult.
“When I was young, I can recall sensing spirits and having an extremely strong intuition, which some may refer to as psychic abilities, as well as prophetic dreams,” Epps tells Pittsburgh City Paper. She adds that her mother also saw spirits and could sense the moment a person died. “So none of this was strange to me.”
As Epps entered her 30s, she became more invested in “various spiritual practices, and all the things that go along with that.” That investment turned into Arts & Crafts, winner of this year’s Best Psychic/Tarot Reader.
Epps says she and her fellow co-owners, her sister Pamela Schön and best friend Elizabeth Kivowitz, opened Arts & Crafts in September 2016. Since then, the shop has offered readings, spiritual cleansings, and consultations for both individuals and private events. It also hosts events for those interested in everything from creating an ancestral altar to spending an evening with a trance medium.
In addition to its spiritual services, the shop provides a wide range of items used in pagan and folk magic practices, including incense, tarot and oracle decks, crystals, and much more. Epps says they specialize in products for those who practice African Traditional Religions, or ATR for short. As an ATR practitioner, Epps says these kinds of resources can be difficult to find in Pittsburgh.
“We wanted to create a space that could fill that gap,” says Epps. “For all three of us, our personal practices are very important to us for many reasons. By opening the shop, we have a space where we can fulfill our own needs but also be of service to others.”
While the shop attracts longtime practitioners, Epps feels honored that newcomers visit Arts & Crafts for advice.
“So many people come in and tell us that they love the energy in our shop and they thank us for being there,” says Epps. “That always makes us feel really good and is confirmation that all of our hard work and effort was worth it.”
Arts & Crafts: Botanica & Occult Shop. 4901 Penn Ave., Garfield. artsncraftspgh.com