Monday, November 23, 2015

11.23.15 Shop local: Holiday Art Fairs

What’s better than being able to give beautiful hand crafted holiday gifts?  Being able to do it while listening to great music and supporting local artists.  Here in Austin, we have more opportunities than I have time to write about, but three of my favorites are:

Blue Genie Art Bazaar – November 27 – December 24
Cherrywood Art Fair, December 12 and 13
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar – December 14 – 24

While it’s the smallest of the three, the Cherrywood Art Fair is nearest and dearest to my heart.  Started in 2002 as a way to support neighborhood artists and elementary school art programs, it has grown into a very big deal.  In 2003 it moved to Maplewood Elementary school (our neighborhood school), where it is now one of the most anticipated events of the holiday season.  With over one hundred artists, musical performances and food vendors, it is great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Not only can you support these great artists through your purchases, a portion of the proceeds from the event goes to support the Little Artist BIG ARTIST program.

Since 2007, Little Artist BIG ARTIST has provided an opportunity for fifth-graders from East Austin elementary schools to work with BIG ARTISTS to create their own art.  BIG ARTISTS provide their time and professional experience as working artists to guide their Little Artists to envision, plan, and create at least two pieces of artwork during their 10 week one-on-one collaboration.  The artwork is part of a silent auction each year at the Cherrywood Art Fair.

Just up the road a piece, and open for nearly a month starting the day after Thanksgiving, is the Blue Genie Art Bazaar.

What started as some creative people deciding to have a little holiday fun has become one of my favorite must shop Austin holiday traditions.  According to the history on their website - "The first Blue Genie Art Bazaar was held in 2001 at the Blue Genie Art Industries (BGA) shop, where we mostly sold items made by Blue Genie employees. Without putting much thought into it, we built a few walls, hung up some clip lights, and swept the floor — and then we opened the doors. It was quickly apparent that we had something exciting on our hands. Now, the bazaar features the handmade, unique work of over 130 artists, whom we select from a talented pool of more than 300 applicants. We have spent over a decade refining the bazaar, and we’re quite proud of what it has grown into." 

I ALWAYS find something at Blue Genie, sometimes it's even something for me!

At 40, the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is the oldest and longest running of the fairs.  If you REALLY want to make a day of it - get tickets to Ballet Austin's Nutcracker (which runs through December 23, right next door at the Long Center for the Performing Arts), then stroll over to the Palmer Events Center for a different kind of Texas culture.

With artists from all over the country, it's not just a great place to shop for gifts - but a wonderful way to entertaining out of town friends and family wandering from booth to booth while hearing great Texas music.

In case you can't make it to all three events - or aren't fortunate enough to get to Austin at all - here are links to a few of the Austin-based jewelry artists I've shopped with over the years: 

adaptive reUse - Christine Terrell uses vintage tins to make one of a kind earrings, necklaces, belt buckles and cufflinks. (at Blue Genie)
Dish it Out Jewelry - Holli Brown brakes vintage plates - and turns them into wonderful earrings, pendants and bracelets. (at Blue Genie)
Fail Jewelry - Christine Fail works in gold, silver, brass and gemstones to create beautiful contemporary wearable art (at Cherrywood Art Fair)
Lisa Crowder Jewelry - Lisa Crowder creates distinctive floral and geometric jewelry in silver, gold and enamel. (at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar)
Poppy & Fern - Rachel Pruitt creates tiny embroidered works of art to wear on a chain or hang on the wall. (at Blue Genie and Cherrywood Art Fair)
Steve Kriechbaum Goldsmith - Steve Kriechbaum is a master bench jeweler working in precious metals and gemstones.  Fun fact - he and his associate Nora McMullen are also instructors at Creative Side Jewelry Academy. (Armadillo Christmas Bazaar)
Stones Throw Studio Kyle Goss works primarily with silver and stones to make jewelry with an organic look and feel. (at Blue Genie and Cherrywood Art Fair)

Happy shopping - and stay tuned for at least one more "shop local" post.

Until next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment