Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Dallas Handmade Arts Market opens September 1 in the Design District
Shoppers can browse local artists' booths whatever the weather.
Attention, shoppers: If you've spent the summer months pining on Pinterest or browser window shopping on Etsy while most local arts and crafts markets took a hiatus due to the heat, it's time to bust open the piggy bank or hit the ATM. This Labor Day weekend, a new marketplace opens -- and it's air-conditioned.
Dallas Handmade Arts Market debuts September 1 in the Dallas Design District with a two-day grand opening. Jorge Herrera, president and "chief artist herder," was inspired by Brooklyn's Artists and Fleas and artisan markets in his beloved Paris to open a year-round, indoor shopping center with a curated selection of works by local vendors.
"Nothing is better than meeting the artists themselves," Herrera says. "You can't experience that if it's just another shop."
Herrera says 26 media are represented by his artists, including painting, photography, ceramics, wood-working, calligraphy, graffiti, jewelry-making, and clothing design. But not recycled office supplies. He rejected an artist who made $2 jewelry out of paper clips.
"There are places people can go for their wares," he says. "We're just not the right fit."
Here's what you will find: "Upscale, modern, high-quality," Herrera says. "Very 'Etsy but live'."
The lineup for upcoming shows includes Pamplemousse1983, an Etsy Dallas member and fine art photographer who uses her images in jewelry as well as prints; Aprons by A Full Bobbin, two working moms who design retro aprons, some made with reworked vintage clothing; Le Gourd on Blue, Cathy Neumeyer and Linda Moore take gourds from their garden to make lighted decorations; Both Hands Studio, Lynn Armstrong makes embossed earthenware ceramics; Evening Star Manifestations, Autumn Moss uses recycled glass and other materials to make jewelry and incense burners; and Stephanie Rubiano makes "butterfly boxes" that contain real butterfly wings, documents from the mid-1800's to early 1900's, and vintage or antique objects.
Prices start around $10 for handmade soaps and top out at $200 to $300 for paintings. Most items are in the $30 to $50 range.
Herrera, who started working on Dallas Handmade after quitting his job in the financial sector last year, says he has almost 400 local and regional vendors now. He'd like to more than double that, so the market's 50 to 65 booths are always rotating. He wants a different mix of vendors each weekend, which he hopes will mean a new shopping experience weekly for customers.
To help with that, Herrera plans to have musicians performing during shopping hours (10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday). In addition, visitors 21-and-up can imbibe while they stroll the aisles during Wine Walk Saturdays from 5 to 7 p.m. and Beer Browse Sundays from 3 to 5 p.m. And when the weather cooperates, Herrera says, another 10 to 15 booths can be set up outdoors like a street festival.
Herrera says that besides worrying about the customer experience, he also wants to take care of the artists. Vendors only pay per-weekend booth rental fees: $130 for a 6-foot-by-6-foot space and $190 for a 10-foot-by-10-foot. There are no long-term contracts, application fees, or charges for extras like electricity. And the artists collect the money from their sales directly. Hence, some vendors will be cash-only while others will accept credit cards via smartphone apps like Square or Intuit.
See works by some of Dallas Handmade Arts Market's artists:
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