Have you ever asked one of them to create a custom item for you? And these are very small items to be turning, they wouldn't be made on 3' long lathes.
It may be possible to find someone who is just learning how to use a lathe who may do it for the experience. Whether or not you end up with what you want is another issue.
Choo Choo Charlie had a great idea and you don't need a lathe. Drill press would work also. Some basswood and sandpaper.
Yes. My late mother was a gifted "maker" and sold many kinds of items, mostly floral and/or hand painted, at craft shows for more than 40 years. Woodworkers were frequently present at these and also selling their own craft items at most of them.
It was, and I assume still is, frequently the case that makers help makers. She would frequently come home after a craft show weekend with new ideas, and a source for new wood parts upon which to base them, by visiting the other craftspeople around her.
BTW - I agree that most might prefer a small lathe to make small parts, but you can still make them on a big one. It's just not as precise, and obviously harder to wrestle with.