New York City craft fairs - your go-to guide for unusual, handmade gifts
Who doesn't love a craft fair? They're knee-deep in bargains and one-of-a-kind gifts. Read on for the scoop on seasonal shop-a-thons, and meet some of the creative do-it-yourselfers who mill the hippest soaps in town, turn old bottles into charming terrariums, and do things with chocolate that are way beyond sweet.
3rd Ward Handmade Holiday Craft Fair
195 Morgan Ave., East Williamsburg, Brooklyn;
Dec. 4, noon-6 p.m.
The fourth annual Handmade Holiday Craft Fair will occupy two floors of 3rd Ward's warehouse, where silkscreened and letterpressed gift cards, jewelry, gourmet chocolates, toys, photographs, homemade sodas, wood furniture, home decor, yoga mats and apparel await. Admission is free, and there’ll be live music, workshops, and food and drink to sustain holiday shoppers.
3rd Ward Handmade Holiday Craft Fair, Brooklyn.
201 Mulberry St., Manhattan;
Dec. 5, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Up on Etsy? You should be. The online group of independent crafts sellers sponsors this craft-a-palooza. Expect an array of items, including felted jewelry, illustrations and hand-bound books.
And some nifty knits by Nguyen Le, 28, who lives in Park Slope.
She specializes in remaking ordinary household accessories into something extraordinary and which express her unique view of the world.
Consider: There’s embroidered pendants ($25-$30), knitted power-cord scarves ($44-$110) that’ll keep you warm, and felt eyeball ornaments ($28) that are instant conversation starters. "I like being silly with vendors all day," she says. "They’re a fun-loving bunch."
Simone Tan, of Bay Ridge, concurs. Her newest product is a line of iPhone cases made from vintage skinny ties ($20). Tie clutches are $25 and handbags made of suits and sportcoats start at $50.
"I like to transform unloved textiles into something brand-new and infuse them with a new life," says Tan, 45, who runs the shop Groundsel (groundsel.etsy.com).
"This process lends itself especially well to creating keepsake items like a set of matching purses a mother asked me to make for her daughters out of a loved sweater, or a tie clutch I created for a client from her husband’s tie."
BUST Holiday Craftacular
123 W. 18th St.
Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
BUST magazine sponsors this annual craft fair, which now has branches in Los Angelesand London. This year, their fifth, promises 300 vendors, goodie bags, a raffle and demonstrations.
There will even be a celebrity appearance; Amy Sedaris will sign and sell her latest book, "Simple Times."
You might bump into the actress and author browsing merch of vendors such as Dave Ball and Mari Gustafson, of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, whose casual and distinct clothes can be seen at uzinyc.com.
"Our latest collection looks like neo-Native American streetwear," says Ball, 41. "We silkscreen tribal patterns onto woven tees and tanks that we sew with American-made fabrics, and source everything we possibly can in NYC."
Fringed scarves, savage T-shirts and garments with unusually large proportions and bat-wing shapes sell for $25-$100.
According to Erica Bradbury, 33, BUST "is a perfect marketplace for companies like mine that are in this in-between territory of art, design, fashion and craft."
Her shop, Species by the Thousands, specializes in jewelry and printed eco-friendly T-shirts and sweatshirts. Silk scarves are $60, printed Bearded Man and ’70s Guy tea towels are $15.
Vegan cosmetics, organic perfume and sundries that are paraben-free and cruelty-free are the name of the game at Lollibomb, run by 27-year-old Luca Cusolito, who lives inJersey City.
Her bevy of BUST goodies will include Wash the Hipster Off soap ($5) and vegan lip balms in flavors like
Candy Cane and Cannoli ($5).
Gifted: A Holiday Market
Skylight One Hanson (the Williamsburg Savings Bank),
1 Hanson Place (at Ashland Place), Fort Greene, Brooklyn;
Dec. 15-23, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
The second annual Gifted, presented by Brooklyn Flea, offers vintage/antiques, art, handmade toys, foods, stationery and jewelry. Think of totes with maps on them, home-brew kits, French soaps and vintage clocks.
Got a sweet tooth? Know someone who does?
Make a beeline for Liddabit Sweets, the brainchild of Liz Gutman, 26, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She has made a name for herself with seasonal and locally sourced candies, treats and sweets: like the Snacker (chocolate nougat and salted caramel with peanuts, $6.50), Beer & Pretzel Caramels (made with Brooklyn Brown Ale, East India Pale Ale and Martin’s Pretzels; $6.75/bag of 6), and a brand-new candy bar, the Humbug, a salted cocoa cookie with dark chocolate mint ganache, dipped in white chocolate and topped with crushed peppermint candy (also $7).
Sweet in a different way are twig terrariums by Michelle Inciarrano, 34, and Katy Maslow, 31, respectively of Marine Park, Brooklyn, and Midwood, Brooklyn. Their small-scale worlds — mini urban or pastoral scenes — tucked inside glass bottles and containers make big impressions. Terrariums go from $30-$350, DIY kits include figurines and cost $25 to $45.
You might carry one home in a Maptote, created by Rachel and Michael Berick, a couple of thirtysomethings who live in Park Slope. They’ll have an array of New York-centric locations on hand,
including tote bags ($17-$37), note cards ($4), zip pouches ($16), wine totes ($13), baby onesies ($25) and bandannas ($10). Merchandise runs from $4 to around $40.
Outside the city
The Harvest Art & Craft Festival at the Garden City Field House
Garden City Field House, 295 Stewart Ave., Garden City, L.I.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Nov. 28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Adults $5, kids free.
These two fairs — which share many of the same crafts people — will feature original art, jewelry, pottery and custom-made furniture.
"I have been involved in the crafting industry for about 17 years in one way or another," says Stacy Simbrom, 47, of East Northport, L.I. Keep an eye out for her boxes and jewelry holders from recycled items. Items are priced at $20 and up.
Mel Warren, 82, of Oyster Bay, L.I., is even more of a crafts veteran. He was in the hospital due to a bout with polio in the 1950s when he discovered leather tooling. His hand-tooled Monopoly boards are $200; Scrabble boards start at $180. Clocks are $45.