So, the Art Star Craft Bazaar is this weekend, May 30th & 31st in Philadelphia. Organized by Erin Waxman and Megan Brewster of the Art Star Gallery & Boutique, the Bazaar is one of the premiere indie crafts shows. Started in 2006, I’ve been to every one of the Bazaars, either as a vendor or a shopper, and Erin & Megan always choose a diverse and eclectic mix of indie crafters, designers and artists. I will attending this year as a shopper and I am so looking forward to discovering some new talent as well seeing some old favorites!
What: Art Star Craft Bazaar– over 100 indie vendors will be displaying their wares.
When: Saturday, May 30th from 11-6pm & Sunday, May 31st from 11-6pm
Where: Philadelphia, PA @ Penn’s Landing Great Plaza – on Columbus Boulevard between Walnut Street and Chestnut Street (click here for directions)
I interviewed Erin and Megan about the Bazaar and their shop (both brick & mortar and online) for this week’s Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx.
Art Star Craft Bazaar 2008 banner – photo from Something’s Hiding in There
Art Star Gallery & Boutique
1. Tell me about your shop & gallery & how you got your start.
We carry handmade work by emerging artists from across the country, as well as a handful of international artists. We have also begun working with specific artists to develop limited edition artist products. We like to carry a variety of price points to reach all ages/economic backgrounds. We think that art should be accessible to everyone. We also like to encourage our artists to develop affordable product lines as an extension of their higher end artwork. For example, we work w/ Portland based artist Kurt Halsey who is primarily a painter, to create calendars, prints, glasses, ect. that anyone can collect.We both graduated w/ BFAs from Tyler School of Art in the late 90s. After graduation we found it difficult to create our art while also paying the bills. We both dreamed of opening our own gallery/boutique someday. We started off by organizing a series of small craft shows, which were very successful. We found that there were so many artists in a similar position that we were in. We felt that it was the right time to take the risk & open up our own venue. Art Star opened in November of 2004.
We work all the time on promotion & marketing. We spend a lot of time brainstorming about creative & affordable ways to get our name out there. You can never get lazy about it. We also think it is important to keep doing events to get people into the shop. It is also necessary to keep the shop/website fresh w/ new items coming in regularly. Also, instead of viewing like-minded businesses as competition, we often collaborate w/ them. We are extremely selective when it comes to curating the shop & our customers have come to appreciate & trust our aesthetic. Quality is very important to us – all of our items are very well crafted.
3. What is the Art Star Craft Bazaar and why is it awesome?
The ASCB is an open air market, which includes over 100 juried artists/crafters from across the country. We view the show as an extension of our shop & it is also a great way for us to discover new talent. We think it is important for artists to network & become a part of the art/craft community at large. This is a great event for that. Like our gallery/boutique, the ASCB has developed the reputation of being the city’s most cutting-edge craft fair. When jurying the show, we look for innovation & quality. What we like best about this show is that it is even more accessible to the general public due to the location. Penn’s Landing Great Plaza is such a great venue for the event b/c it attracts tourists, families, & people who may not necessarily come to our gallery. It exposes our little indie craft world to Philadelphia at large.
4. Do either of you make & sell your own goods?
Well….we started off w/ the intent to make & sell our work in the shop, but reality soon set in after we opened Art Star. The shop takes up almost all of our time, which is okay b/c we both look at it as an art project. We dabble though. Erin makes clothing & jewelry. Megan makes all sorts of things.
5. What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?
The best thing about it is meeting all of the amazingly talented artists, many of whom have become our good friends. We feel that in some small way we are helping their art careers. It is so much fun opening up a new shipment of artwork – it’s kind of like Christmas!
The worst thing is turning down artists. We have to be very selective & often times artist work just doesn’t fit in w/ our aesthetic.
6. What blogs and mags do you guys read and what shops do you shop at, besides your own of course?
Design*sponge is the only blog that we read regularly. We just don’t have the time to look at all the amazing blogs out there. As far as magazines go, we like Bust, High Fructose & Readymade. We try to shop locally as much as possible. We love Lost & Found, Bus Stop, Omoi, AKA records, Brickbrack books………
7. What’s new in the shop?
Toddler T-shirts by Sweet Pepita, tons of new prints by Kurt Halsey, new clothes by Nicole Styer, onesies by Cisco Griffin….We also have new prints by Jen Corace coming in soon.
8. What does indie mean to you? You can give a literal definition, choose to be a little esoteric or a combination of both.
Independent in every way. Independent in how you run your business & your approach to creating art.