I had never heard of The Handmade Market before yesterday. The cookie vendor we carry at work mentioned that she was going to be there and it piqued my interest enough that I did some googling. Google told me that it was a market full of items from both artists and crafters, so I decided that I had to check it out. I tried to get someone, anyone, to go with me as I am less inclined to spend money on the buddy system, but alas it was not to be. There was no way I was skipping though, as I missed the Carolina Fiber Festival due to our spontaneous move and will be missing Artsplosure this year because it's the same weekend as Into the Wool. So I got myself up this morning, got my run in early, and treated myself to a date with myself (That sounded way better in my head but I'm not changing it now).
This event was so cool! It is now my favorite art-related Raleigh event. Everything there was hand made and ranged from leather to pottery to soap to screen printing. And of course the first thing you saw walking in the door was the Muddy Heart booth, featuring her stunning yarn bowls!
I swear, I did not intend to spend much money at all. I went in with cash and the intent to only pick up a few gifts and maybe something for myself. Well, that plan went out the window. I talked to Melissa, who was so cute and very sweet, and then convinced myself to walk away. Then I came back and detoured to the neighboring booth and walked away again. The third time I gave in and bought it. Not only was the color sense perfect, but her bowls have handles! How cute is that! I just could not resist.
Not even five feet inside the door and I already met a knitter. Then I went one more booth and happened upon Little Birdie, run by Mary Ann, who creates and sells artisan soaps that are certified organic.
I have never seen such beautiful soaps in my life. I bought these as gifts, but I was dying to buy one of each to have as "artwork" in my bathroom. As we were chatting I just happened to mention the gorgeous yarn bowls next door to which her antenna immediately went up. Turns out that she too is a knitter and would normally be at Maryland Sheep and Wool if not for this event. Her husband asked if I knew of "stash", like it was a secret phrase only the true knitters would understand. I just felt so welcome at their booth and I had only known them for maybe three minutes. Some might argue that they were doing whatever was necessary to make the sale, but I honestly believe that crafters and fiber artists are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.
This feeling continued throughout the entire market, where artists sat at their booths and engaged everyone in conversation. Everyone was smiling and happy to be out on such a lovely day promoting what they clearly love to do. I wish I could have bought something from everyone, but it just was not possible. But I took a lot of cards from vendors like Bird and Beau who made stunning jewelry (I did pick up two of her leather feather hairpins), Fleur de Lee Lee whose paper flowers were to die for, and The Penny Runner, whose eco friendly and recycled headbands have me ready to do some online shopping.
I did make one other purchase for myself from Flytrap Studios. Jody, the artist behind the gorgeous screen-printed tops and scarves, was an absolute delight to meet. We started talking because she like the print of my dress (I dressed up of course because why not) and then just continued talking for close to half an hour about all sorts of stuff from work to how much she likes lemurs. While I loved her screen print work, what I ended up purchasing was a leather scarf cuff. This product is genius for someone like me who has a lot of scarves as it adds a different dimension to the typical scarf with top outfit. Of course me being me, I picked a color that matches some handdyed yarn, so now I need to make a cowl or scarf to go with my cuff. Until then I can just wear it as a bracelet.
There is another market in November and from what I hear it is even bigger than the spring market. I may or may not have already started to make plans to go. I cannot wait. I love the opportunity to support local artists in such a tangible way and get to know them as well. All that was missing was yarn and fiber.
Oh, and lest you think I forgot about Chris, I bought him a treat as well. Monster Cookie is a must anytime you see them.