Sunday, December 02, 2012

Give art and make a maker's day

There are several DIY fairs in Pittsburgh every year, focused around the holiday season. These occasions bring together crafters and artists from all over Pittsburgh, and in some cases the region. These events not only showcase talent and imagination, they offer you an opportunity to find unique gifts for special friends and family.

Handmade ArcadeHandmade Arcade has found a home at the David Lawrence Convention Center for their annual holiday fair. There is a list of over 150 vendors, offering Jewelry, clothing, papercraft and more. Many local favorites will be there with their wares. This year's event is scheduled for Saturday, December 8.

I loved this event when I attended last year. There were so many vendors with unique items, it was hard to take it all in. I want to point out that shopping for DIY items does not put any more of a dent in your budget than shopping in more conventional stores. Artists and crafters are very aware of market constraints. Many vendors will have items priced reasonably, and it won't be hard to find gifts that fall within your budget. Some items will be priced as low as $10, and can be great stocking stuffers or a gift for a coworker.

These DIY fairs range throughout the month of December, and new ones come and go. While not exactly a maker fair, the venues along Penn Ave will be open for their monthly Unblurred series. Currently, 707 Penn Gallery, in downtown, has a holiday market in place during regular gallery hours and the Pittsburgh Glass Center will have a Holiday Glass sale as well as an opportunity to create your own ornament on December 8. Although it is over for this year, FE Gallery (Butler St, Lawrenceville) had a series of weekend markets, which will hopefully return next year. I Made It, which took place last weekend, is also an annual event that showcases local DIY crafters and artists.

Box Heart Gallery - Celebrate the Season
Box Heart Gallery - Celebrate the Season

Although most of the fairs are over for this holiday season, there are several venues that consistently carry not only DIY crafts, but fine crafts and art. Several of them have regular holiday shops. Again, opportunities for purchasing inexpensive gifts abound, but the upper end of the price points is much higher. The work tends to be of higher quality, even in their more reasonably priced items.

Box Heart Gallery showcases the work of the artists represented by the gallery during the month of December. It's a great time to get acquainted with their represented artists as well as a time to shop for some special little item. There's a range of beautiful jewelry, holiday ornaments, and prints. Also, there are these great little mobiles by gallery artist Sherry Rusinack that are simply charming. Also, Box Heart will be having a special sale on December 15.

No matter what neighborhood of Pittsburgh you happen to find yourself, there is bound to be a gallery or so that will have a holiday-themed shop. Highlights include:
- Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (Shadyside) has a great holiday shop, showcasing the work of members of Pittsburgh's many arts guilds.
- Society for Contemporary Crafts (Strip District) has an absolutely beautiful year-round shop that showcases the finest crafts.

Enjoy your holiday season, I know I will.

No comments: