A Craft-Filled Saturday in New York City

Reported by Rachel Johnson
Last weekend was a packed full of craft shows in New York City! I managed to make it to two great events on Saturday: the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade and the Martha Stewart Holiday Craft Sale. Both shows had dozens of quality craft vendors and were extremely busy with shoppers.
I made sure to be at the Handmade Cavalcade show right when they opened at 11 am so I could pick up my generous goodie bag. (The goodie bags were fantastic, with promo samples from local craft stores, postcards, three tote bags, a free issue of ReadyMade magazine, and a complimentary pass to the upcoming One of a Kind Show in NYC – very cool!) Even though I arrived early, the show was already packed with shoppers.
The Handmade Cavalcade vendors were spread throughout three rooms in the Openhouse Gallery on Mulberry Street in the Lower East Side. The layout was well-organized and each shopper received a very clear map upon entry, but the high number of shoppers made navigating the venue a bit tricky.
Despite the crowd, I got to browse tons of fantastic handmade goods and managed to pick up a few holiday gifts. I bought two pieces of amazing jewelry from Yania Creations. Her jewelry is made with only the highest quality semiprecious stones and metals. The designs are clean and simple, but exceptionally beautiful. I also bought a cute journal made out of a reclaimed envelope and assorted papers from Julie of Your Secret Admiral. Julie works at Etsy in the community department and she makes whimsical and very cool paper goods and journals. Another of my favorite vendors at Handmade Cavalcade was Red Bridge Studio, a textile design company based in Brooklyn. Tyshawn from Red Bridge Studio creates pillows, bags, and other textile products using natural fiber fabrics that have been hand-silkscreened using her original designs. I didn’t buy anything on Saturday from Red Bridge Studio, but I have in the past and love the prints and quality!
After making sure I had seen everything at the Handmade Cavalcade show, I headed over to the Martha Stewart Omnimedia offices to attend the first ever public Martha Stewart Holiday Craft Sale. For some silly reason, I had thought the Martha Stewart Sale wouldn’t be very crowded – I was very wrong! When I got to the building there was a huge line outside of people waiting to get into the sale. At first I was bummed to be standing in line, but it actually moved very quickly and the line helped keep the size of the crowd inside the venue from becoming overwhelming. Once I got in, I was very impressed with the large, clean, white warehouse space and the pretty Martha Stewart craft displays and vendor tables. Of course, I didn’t really expect anything but perfection from the Martha Stewart staff! (That is me above posing in front of the huge Martha Stewart Living magazine cover.)
The craft vendors at the Martha Sale had really amazing things for sale, and I was a little star struck by a few of the crafters – namely, Jodi Levine and Lotta Jansdotter. Levine is an Editorial Director and Designer who works for Martha Stewart Omnimedia and she is often on The Martha Stewart Show, but I have admired her ever since I was planning my wedding years ago and fell in love with her wedding in the Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. Jansdotter is an internationally renowned textile designer who has published multiple books, not to mention the fact that she looked like a model standing behind her table…
Basically, I felt intimidated by the Martha Stewart Holiday Craft Sale. The set-up was immaculate (above is the pretty “Sweet Shop” where you could buy candy snacks) and it was fun to get a peak inside the Martha Stewart world, but I didn’t end up buying anything. If it is possible, I think the vendors were too fashionable (lots of giant necklaces and mustaches) and I felt a bit overwhelmed by the use of the words “couture,” “high end,” and “upscale” in many of the sellers’ descriptions. Also, the prices were quite high. I really do feel that the items were probably worth their prices, but I was not prepared to spend the type of money they were asking. I almost bought some extremely adorable iced sugar cookies from the Sweet Dani B table (her cookies were seen in the December issue of Martha Stewart Living), until I saw that they were $16 a piece. I really loved them, but couldn’t afford them. I hope I’m not revealing myself as low class! Maybe, I am still getting used to New York City prices…
Did you go to any craft sales or fairs over the weekend? If you attended the Martha Stewart Holiday Craft Sale, what did you think of it? Did you buy anything? Did anyone make it to the Bust Craftacular here in NYC on Sunday? I meant to go, but got distracted…
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11 Responses to A Craft-Filled Saturday in New York City

  1. Avatar
    Elaine A December 10, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    $16 for one cookie?! Heck no, not even if they were made of gold. And I LIVE in NY. So if that is low class, then I guess I’m low class. I love Martha’s products but she needs to come down to earth with her prices.

    Elaine Allen

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    Melanie December 10, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    I ditto what Elaine A said … my gosh the whole purpose of crafts is to come out a little cheaper AND enjoy what you do! Isn’t it?
    Anyway, for that much a cookie I couldn’t justify eating it … and then what would be the point of having it?

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    Jan Castle December 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    Well, of course, you look at that $16 cookie and then you go home and make it yourself for $,50…and eat as many as you want!!!!
    Jan Castle

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    Rosie December 10, 2009 at 1:09 pm #

    That was one of the reasons I didn’t even bother going to the MS craft show. I knew the prices were going to be thru the roof.

    I see myself paying more for a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry, sweater, etc, but $16 for a cookie- that is just ridiculous!!

    Low class bakers of the world, Unite!!! LOL

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    Angela December 10, 2009 at 1:19 pm #

    You are not “low class.” You are SMART because you recognize a rip off when you see one. $16 for a cookies…come on…I bet there were a lot of them left over in the employee lounge at Omnimedia. LOL

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    juditsd December 10, 2009 at 3:37 pm #

    for $16 I’ll bake a whole cake for you 🙂 I know I’m not Martha but …:)

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    rachel johnson December 10, 2009 at 6:51 pm #

    Oh, I am so glad you all agree with me about the over-priced cookies! I was worried that maybe people would think it was a fair price and think I am cheap… they really were cute cookies, but the prices were crazy!

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    Jen December 10, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Hooray for a voice of price sanity in an increasingly insane world! US$16? I’m sure it was wonderful, handmade and all that, but there comes a point you know? I think that point for me is WAY below $16 for a cookie.

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    Trina December 10, 2009 at 10:36 pm #

    $16 bucks for one cookie…ACK!!! Ridic..I wouldn’t have bought it either..

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    Summers Love December 11, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    haha, i saw the $16.00 cookies on her show… they were BEAUTIFUL…. And I was like, “If I was there, I would have gotten one of those”…. but of course she didn’t show the price of the cookies on her show 🙂 Now I KNOW I wouldn’t have gotten one LOL

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    Paul December 12, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    i went to the handmade cavalcade’s NewNew show (etsy subgroup). loved so many of the wares. bought some amazing chocolates from “Fine & Raw”–a south african chocolatier. also a gorgeous silver necklace from “Caja”–a couple who produce stunning cut-out detailed jewelry. some lovely textiles from both Cakehouse and Red Bridge Studio. plus magical holiday cards, gift tags and whimsical notebooks from couldn’t be happier–only thing that would have been better is if i had more $$ to spend!!