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Event Review: World Maker Faire 2010

Reported by Rachel Johnson


What do you get when you combine a craft show, a technology expo, a science museum, crazy inventions, Martha Stewart, music, costumes, and delicious food? The World Maker Faire 2010 that took place last weekend in New York. I attended the Faire on Sunday and it was quite the scene!
The Maker Faire was held at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens (the location of the 1939-40 and 1964-65 World Fairs). Exhibits were spread throughout the interior of the science museum (seen above) and also in the surrounding park area. There were craft areas, technology areas, building and construction areas, demonstration stages… too many different booths and exhibits to keep track of!

I made sure to visit the Craft Pavilion, which had a Craftzine.com booth (seen above), as well as a Lion Brand Yarn station where you could learn to knit or crochet, and a Xyron table where you could play with all of their different craft tools and pick up your own, free sticker maker! Score!


Martha Stewart Living was one of the main sponsors of the Maker Faire and the magazine had a huge booth where you could make butterfly wands and giant papier mache bones. They also had two spooky backdrops set up that you could pose in and get your photo taken by their professional photographer. I forced my husband to pose with me in the butterfly library (all of the resulting portraits can be viewed in the Martha Stewart Living Maker Faire Flickr group).

One of the things that I was most looking forward to at Maker Faire was the Bust Magazine Craftacular that was held in conjunction. I always love a good craft fair, and this one was billed to have over 100 vendors and appearances by some big name craft personalities.
Since I am not a vendor, I can’t be sure, but I would guess that the Craftacular was maybe not as successful as many would have hoped. It was spread out in the parking lot outside the Hall of Science and was a little lackluster. Because it cost $25 to get into the Maker Faire, some visitors may not have been in the mood to shop once they got inside. I didn’t see any purchases being made. However, some of the excitement may have been drained by the second day, when I visited. Plus, it was over-cast and a little rainy on Sunday, which didn’t help. All that being said, there were some awesome vendors to check out. Here are some of my favorites…

Sharp Shirter had really funny, manly t-shirts – their banner definitely caught my eye!

Perch Ceramics had absolutely beautiful bird houses and other delicate ceramic vessels. I loved these salt and pepper shakers.
Kate Durkin’s booth was beautifully presented and her hand-stitched animal pillows are adorable.

I just had to take a photo of this booth: Jersey Shore Baby. Very funny — and somewhat disturbing — baby clothes.

After pursuing the Craftacular, my husband and I ventured out to explore the more technological and mechanical offerings at the Maker Faire. We saw lots of crazy contraptions like the crazy lady “chariot” seen above. There was also a “jet-powered pony” ride (that was incredibly noisy), a life size mousetrap game, recycled “junk” art areas, the Maker Shed, kid-powered rides, a robot fabrication tent, and much more! It was a lot to take in and eventually we had to stop for a food break.

I got this delicious Cauliflower Salad from Scratch Bread and liked it so much that I had to spread the word. Yum!

Overall, the Maker Faire was a lot fun and a great one-day adventure. I am so glad I attended it because I had been hearing about the previous Maker Faires for years and had grown increasingly curious. The Faire was definitely a family-friendly event, with lots of activities geared directly toward kids, like the alien parade shown above, and the Young Makers Pavilion, not to mention the full interactive science museum with a 60,000 square foot outdoor Science Playground. We saw a lot of families and all of the kids seemed to be having a great time. If you have children, I would definitely recommend attending a Maker Faire!
Did you attend the World Maker Faire in New York? What did you think? Have you attended previous Maker Faires in other cities? How did they compare?

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

Three New York City Textile Craft Resources

Reported by Rachel Johnson
There are so many neighborhoods, shopping districts, and stores in New York City that it is hard to know where to even start when looking for craft supplies. I felt overwhelmed and lost when I first arrived, but have slowly discovered some fantastic craft supply resources. Today I will share three off my favorite places to go for textile craft (like sewing, knitting, crocheting, etc.) supplies: Purl Soho, Mood Fabrics, and M & J Trimming.
Purl is a beautiful, little store in Soho (obviously) that recently moved to a new location on Broome Street. The shop walls are lined with bins of gorgeous, natural fiber yarn and racks of cotton fabric. They also sell unique trims, thread, craft kits, needles, etc – just about everything you’d need to make unique and lovely craft projects. Last time I was there, I picked up delicate, Japanese pom pom fringe and a cute pack of Sukie stationery. The store is an absolute delight, and even though some of the prices seem high, I can always find a little something that I need to take home.

If you live in NY, you can take knitting, crocheting, and sewing classes at the store. Everyone else can shop Purl’s stylish selection of supplies online.

If you are a serious seamstress, you must visit Mood Fabric in the garment district. It is a giant three-story warehouse space stuffed full of every type of fabric imaginable. It is a bit daunting to visit if you plan to simply browse, but if you are looking for something specific, they are sure to have it. They also have rows and racks of ribbon, thread, and trim, all of which is mainly intended for use in fashion and interior decor. Last time I was at Mood I was too overwhelmed to choose any fabric, but I did manage to purchase some pretty radical neon ribbon.

Mood has been featured on the tv show, Project Runway, which has increased its popularity (and perhaps its prices). There are many other fabric stores in the garment district, but I have not visited any with the amazing selection found at Mood. Visiting the store is definitely a fun experience, but you can also shop much of their selection on their website.
M & J Trimming is a store I learned about years before moving to New York and longed to visit. As evident by the name, it is a store devoted entirely to trim – ribbon, fringe, sequins, tassels, cords, buttons, lace, etc. The store was opened in 1936 in the garment district and it has since grown to 5,000 square feet full of trimming. My favorite is the grosgrain ribbon!

I don’t do a lot of fashion sewing that requires fanciful trim, but I love using it within scrapbook pages and other paper crafts. I also like to use fabric ribbon when wrapping packages, so every time I am in the neighborhood, I pick up ribbon from M & J. Their selection is unrivaled (if you aren’t in the neighborhood, you can shop online).
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If you live in New York, or if you are visiting the city, I recommend putting these three textile craft stores on your crafty sight-seeing list.
What other NY craft stores do you love and recommend?
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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!