Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Artisans Coming! (report from NYIGF)

The New York International Gift Fair is in town this week, and retail store buyers from all over the country are there to see what the 2700 vendors are offering this year. It's a totally overwhelming affair, with acres upon acres of home decor, jewelry, toys, garden furniture, and about everything else you can imagine. And it'll all be on the shelves of the department stores and boutiques near you in the months to come.

It's very expensive for vendors to do this fair (as it is to do any big fair, really), but I must say that the fair organizers do a great job by their vendors with really good promotion: targeted emails to registered attendees going out twice a week during the month before the fair, lots of press releases and press coverage, shuttle buses to the area hotels and subways, and strong publicity materials and signage. Craft fair organizers who haven't been to this fair might consider registering for the summer fair and come on reconnaissance! There are some great tactics in action to draw buyers.

The reason we went this year is because the fair includes a sizable "Handmade" section, and we always find a few things we love to add to Greenjeans.
This year we ordered with three new-to-us artisans, or should I say 2 artisans and 1 artisan collective. In the coming months come in to Greenjeans to find...

Using 100% recycled cashmere, e'ko logic (a studio of six led by Kathleen Tesnakis and her husband, Charlie, located in Troy, NY) make wonderful garments including these Bunny Baby hats. We'll also have recycled cashmere baby booties, as well as hats and booties made from recycled pique cotton for when the weather's warmer.
I literally swooned when I saw Ruth Tomlinson's jewelry (shown at the top right, too). Made using tiny rolled bits of colored, unglazed porcelain that she shapes with the tools used by her ceramicist grandmother, Ruth creates transcendently lovely works based in sterling silver (sometimes shiny, sometimes oxidized) and in gold. I think of it as post-modern romantic. These white earrings make me wish I could plan my wedding look again! And the black ones at the top are to me just the height of chic. Based in London, Ruth is our third international artist!
Also by Ruth, this gorgeous ring is made from a continuous undulating band of flattened sterling silver. She makes this in gold, as well. We're getting more and more requests for wedding bands and I think this ring would be an amazing choice.

Growing up in New Hampshire, we always had flat brooms and cobweb sweeps exactly like the ones shown here. My Mom would buy them from Calef's County Store in Barrington, or from the Canterbury Shaker Village. (The Shakers invented the flat broom, after all.)

These days, it's hard to find real natural-bristle brooms, which always do the job better than their synthetic counterparts. The students at Berea College in Kentucky study traditional crafts and, in lieu of paying tuition, work in the school's workshops producing wares like these.

We'll be offering a few different styles of brooms, this great umbrella stand, woven napkins and placemats in taupe and yellow, and a few other items from the student workshops at Berea. We're always focused on helping artisans make a living at their craft, and it's so excited to be able to support the continuation of craft traditions this way, by supporting students!

Photo credits: e'ko logic, Ruth Tomlinson, and Berea College Crafts

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