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Event Review: Spring Handmade Cavalcade

Reported by Rachel Johnson

The Spring Handmade Cavalcade is a seasonal craft fair hosted by The {NewNew} Etsy Street Team (you may remember my reviews of the Fall and Winter Cavalcades from last year). On Saturday, April 24th, the Spring Cavalcade was held in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at Berry Park, a biergarten/restaurant with a huge rooftop patio. The twenty-five vendor booths were spread out within the entire building and on the roof. It was a fun and casual setting that was very welcoming to the weekend foot traffic.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must tell you that my website, Swap-bot.com, was an official sponsor of the Spring Handmade Cavalcade. That means that we provided financial support for the event in exchange for advertising in the event materials and a booth at the event (that’s me manning our table above). Compared to the amazing artist booths, the Swap-bot booth was very amateurish — The {NewNew} crafters are pros! — but we had a great time meeting all the handmade shoppers and spreading the word about Swap-bot. Over 1,500 shoppers passed through the event and many picked up some of our free swag.

The Swap-bot table was located right across the aisle from the Communal Table food booth, which was selling all of the wonderful treats you see above. This was a very good thing, because I forgot to pack snacks! We bought banana bread, pumpkin whoopie pies, and chocolate chip cookies over the course of the day. All of which were awesomely delicious. Deena Lebow, owner of Communal Table, does some catering and fair sales (like Handmade Cavalcade), but her real mission is hosting group dinners that bring “art, ideas, activism and food right to the table.” They sound like amazing events.

There were so many exceptional artists selling their wares at the event. I snapped photos of a few of my favorite booths (after asking permission, of course!). This colorful table belongs to Jen Pepper of Peppersprouts. She is a graphic designer who makes brooches, necklaces, trivets and more featuring laser-cut silhouettes. Her instant-film brooch is ingenious!

Above is Nguyen Le of KnitKnit. I first met Nguyen at an Etsy Labs Craft Night that she hosted on needle felting. She is extremely sweet and talented. She knits and felts everything from handbags to earrings with an artistic edge. I especially love her needle felted cameo necklaces.


These lovely, screen printed dresses were all made by Karin Persan of Better Than Jam. Karin is a textile designer who graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002, and she now has her own store, the Better Than Jam Handmade Co-op in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

These sweet illustrations are from Virginia Kraljevic. I just loved their whimsical feel and the turquoise and lime color combos!
Like I’ve already said, there were so many fabulous booths at the Spring Handmade Cavalcade, but perhaps my favorite was Miniature Rhino. Jessica Marquez, the artist behind Miniature Rhino, makes vintage-inspired embroidery, paper goods, and “curious objects,” but my favorite of her offerings is her letter-writing service. You can purchase the service from her Etsy store and she will type your message (on her typewriter), and then mail it in a custom glass bottle within a tiny box to your recipient. Such a sweet and unique idea!
The Spring Handmade Cavalcade was a well organized, but laid back Saturday of fun blessed with excellent, sunny weather. But if you missed it, don’t fret! The {NewNew} will be hosting their next event, Crafts in Chelsea, on Saturday, May 8th. Will I see you there?
Summer is definitely craft fair season! What other craft events will you be checking out in your area?
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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…
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!