Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Highlights from First Annual Maker's Market

The first annual Maker's Market set up shop in Long Island City, Queens, this past weekend (June 27-28, 2009). I visited on Saturday early afternoon, before the hail storm and after the minor typhoon that accompanied Friday night's opening party. Despite the Woodstock-worthy mud (which, while rough on the exhibitors, this visitor would take over a convention center ANY day), it was an impressive, enjoyable event with great future potential.

The event was presented in Socrates Sculpture Park by Manhattan design gallery R 20th Century, the LIC-based Noguchi Museum, and American Craft Magazine (via editor Andrew Wagner before his move to ReadyMade).

About 30 galleries and individual designer/craftspeople from across the country set up booths under three huge white tents placed throughout the park. It incorporated beautifully with the "State Fair" exhibition on view there now. A complete list of exhibitors with links may be found here.

While not perfect, this show points the way toward a more up-to-date craft fair model with simultaneous attention to craftsmanship, design, and what I'd call curatorial character. Highlights for me included:

Emerging glass artist Thaddeus Wolfe (no site, email thaddeus_wolfe [at] hotmail.com). Wolfe's head vases are pictured at top.

Looking into a tent featuring Brooklyn furniture maker Palo Samko's work in the foreground.

I love the Dumbo-based gallery Spring and was happy to see their booth crowded with supportive visitors. Those are Richard Saja toile pillows at lower left.

Nice pod-shaped chairs (by ??) in R 20th Century's inviting booth find appreciators of all ages.

I love the loft-living vibe of this illuminated concrete wall (that can be constructed at any scale) by Tom Winters Architect.

Barn affecianado that I am, I couldn't help but notice the post-and-beam construction of the booth mounted by hivemindesign. It was great to meet Ruby Metzner and Sather Duke (and new baby) and see their homey yet design-forward work in person. Brooklyn-based until their recent move upstate, the timbers are in fact the frame for a barn they'll be building out this summer.

Portland-based designer and glassblower Andi Kovel (Esque Studio) showed lively work including these drink glasses that look as though marked with lipstick. She said some people find them gross, but I love 'em.

Chairs made from beautifully but simply machined metal and light-colored wood by new-to-me Brooklyn-based furniture designer Marcel Madsen (Produce).

Conceptual, social, and aesthetic concerns imbue these handmade felted wool boots and mittens by Hope Ginsburg as part of Sponge, "a teaching, learning, and discipline-bending project."

Unexpected forms, interpretive designs, and pleasing hand-craftsmanship popped in Craig Watson's booth. I love how the pieces look and feel, but later wondered if the specialized materials Watson uses for finishing are available yet in eco-friendlier formulas.

Gorgeous and detail-rich ceramic work by Sanam Emami, whose work was on view earlier this year at Greenwich House Pottery.

Custom bikes at a design/craft fair? Oh yeah. You don't have to be a gearhead to swoon over the precision and style of New Hampshire-based Walt Siegl's handmade motercycles.

I drooled over Satomi Kawakita's jewelry too -- wedding band seekers take note!! -- but didn't get a good pic. Fortunately there are many on her website.

Here's to year one of the Maker's Market. I'm looking forward to seeing how this edgy high-end show grows and evolves in the years to come.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

1 comment:

Shannon Sharpe said...

Even with Friday night's storm the fair can be considering nothing but a great success! It was great to see so many people out supporting these amazingly talented craftspeople!