Reported by Rachel Johnson
The One of a Kind Show and Sale is a yearly event that happens in Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, and for the first time this year, New York City. (You can read Sarah Moore’s review of the Chicago show here.) On Friday, I braved the super-cold temperatures and headed out to Pier 94 to check out the show, which was described as an “an extraordinary holiday shopping show featuring the best in fine art and fine craft from hundreds of unique artists, artisans, and designers from across North America.” I was very curious to find out what the event had to offer.
My first stop once I was inside the doors was the crafting area. A bunch of cool, crafty companies were hosting “make and take” projects and I wanted to get in on the fun. I stopped by the ReadyMade and Janome booth where you could work on gift tags or sew pillows on Janome sewing machines. I also got to sign up for a complimentary, one-year ReadyMade magazine subscription just for attending the One of a Kind Show! Sweet!
Next, I stopped by the Hello Craft area, where they had all sorts of craft supplies available, including a button maker! Hello Craft is a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. The Hello Craft representatives, Sara and Kim, were so kind and informative that I decided to purchase a Hello Craft membership on the spot!
Then, I headed to the Etsy DIY area. Etsy had adorable fabric ornament kits that you could work on there, or take home to make later. (They had the custom fabric for the ornaments printed at Spoonflower.) I grabbed a kit for later and chatted up the Etsy representatives. They explained how Etsy was excited to be sponsoring both the DIY area and an Etsy Pavilion at the One of a Kind Show because they wanted to help the new wave of crafters break into the more traditional and established arts and craft world. It was great to see such a large website supporting their users in a tangible way!
At the Etsy Pavilion you could find twenty-four juried Etsy vendors all in one area. They also had a welcome booth with lots of information about Etsy.com and some free swag. There were plenty of unique crafts within the pavilion, but my two favorite booths were Gock’s Frocks felted wool clothing and Jill K. Davis Jewelry.
Kristen Gocker Hallagan of Gock’s Frocks makes adorable children’s clothing, stuffed animals, scarves, and more out of fabric and recycled, felted wool sweaters. She works on her craft full time, but has just started branching into the craft show scene. I bought a cute, felted wool flower pin from her that I plan to put on my plain black coat.
Jill K. Davis makes unique and charming silver and gold jewelry that often features a picturesque little house. I was enamored with her detailed work, and promised myself that I would purchase one of her amazing necklaces in the future!
Outside of the Etsy Pavilion there were hundreds of other vendors ranging from jewelry and fashion to food and photography. I kept track of all of my favorite booths, including the one above: Smitten Kitten. The Smitten Kitten booth immediately drew me in. It was all pink and colorful, but the beautiful statement necklaces are what really caught my eye. My little photos above do not do them justice. The designer, Amy, creates the necklaces using chunky, colorful beads and silk kanzashi flowers she has folded using vintage scarves. Oh, how I wanted one! Sadly, the prices were a bit too high for me on the necklaces, so I settled for a very cute, bright pink kanzashi flower pin.
I had a lot of fun checking out the Apexspire Jewelry booth. Above is a photo of Karen Clark, the designer of Apexspire. The understated beaded necklaces and earrings were both simple and detailed at the same time. I had a hard time deciding on only one item, but finally bought a very sweet pair of aquamarine bead earrings.
One of my absolute favorite booths at the One of a Kind Show and previously at the Brooklyn Flea, is the photography of John Murphy. Murphy creates vivid, striking photographs using small sets he constructs in his studio. He then frames the surreal images in super-bright, hand finished frames. I would love to own one of Murphy’s pieces, but for now I am making due with his Flora & Fauna stationery set.
Last but not least on my list of favorite vendors is the Rogue Confections booth. This booth blew me away with the beautiful design of both the environment and the intricate patterns printed on the handmade Belgian chocolates. I was amazed to learn that founder, Sherri Adler, was doing the initial launch of Rogue Confections right there at the One of a Kind show – everything about the booth was extremely professional and lovely. The free samples of the chocolate were delicious, and I will definitely keep the box sets in mind for future gift giving.
Overall, the One of a Kind show was a lot of fun and I got to check out a bunch of new crafters and network with many creative folks. The only downside is that I overheard a lot of the vendors express disappointment with the level of shopper turnout. A few people told me that they had talked to more press representatives and shop owners than actual holiday shoppers.
Did you attend the One of a Kind Show in any of its locations? What did you think? Did the number of shoppers pick up on the weekend in NY? Did you buy any holiday gifts or something for yourself at the show?
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