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Brandeis’s first, but hopefully not last, Craft Market

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away so much, art has persevered. The many various people—both buyers and sellers—at the Craft Market prove just that.

The Craft Market was one of the many events that made up this year’s Festival of the Arts. It took place on both the afternoon of Tuesday, April 27 and the evening of Thursday, April 29 in Fellows Garden. This exhibition in particular was run by Sam Forman ’21, the Program Assistant for the Festival and Ingrid Schorr, the director of Arts Engagement at Brandeis. Though this is technically Forman’s second Festival, it was his first time running it in person, as he was hired last fall to help out with Living Room Fest.

“One of the focuses of this festival is giving,” Forman said in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot. “I really hope that [Craft Market] is a space where the creativity of the community can come out again.” 

His hopes were definitely fulfilled. Over a dozen artists sold work between the two days of Craft Market. There was a slew of goods up for grabs, from paintings to bread to soap to earrings. Each artist seemed to be thrilled to be able to sell to people face-to-face, to be able to showcase their art once again. The Hoot was able to speak with eight of the sellers, all of whom had nothing but nice things to say about the Craft Market and Festival of the Arts. 

There were two staff members selling their crafts. Dennis Hicks, the Director of Student Activities, was out in the booths selling his large variety of homemade products. He had soaps, showergels, lip balms, beard oils, body butters and more. Hicks expressed joy of being able to show off his talent and sell his products. “I always wanted to sell on campus,” he said, but working as the Director of Student Activities was a busy job. 

Aaron Needle was the other Brandeis staff member, a guard at the Rose Art Museum—the lead gallery attendant, according to his bio from Arts@Brandeis. “Because of the pandemic, I haven’t been able to be in a craft show for over a year,” Needle explained, following by saying he typically did about five a year, making the Craft Market a rare and appreciated experience. Needle sold stunning cards, covered in elaborate artwork and filled with blank pages. Needle wanted to “make a card that looked like a book” to “inspire people to do more writing in them.” 

Also selling cards was Anya Shire-Plumb ’22. She sold a set of five postcards, all decorated in gorgeous watercolor imagery of Italy, as well as prints of a house across her street. Shire-Plumb mentioned going abroad to Italy twice, each time enjoying detailing the landscapes, creating so much art that she had a collection. “There should’ve been a craft fair for years,” she passionately expressed, “It’s crazy that this is the first one!” She continued, “The Arts at Brandeis is really understated at Brandeis,” and called the Craft Market a way to “show that art is still alive at Brandeis.” 

Ashley Young ’22 sold stickers and tote bags with her “signature” paper crane design, blocked in bright primary colors. “I always had a thing for paper cranes … [they’re] kinda my signature at this point,” she explained. As an artist and a good friend of Forman, she wanted to be a part of this fair the second she heard about it. “I’m excited because it’s a community opportunity for Festival of the Arts … an opportunity to share our art with Brandeis.” Young’s artwork is also currently featured in Usdan, an eight-part panorama collection. 

Selling accessories was Hannah Taylor ’23. Taylor’s booth had pins, pencil pouches, scrunchies and headbands. She called art something she’s “always loved” and even mentioned opening an Etsy shop. She described the Craft Market as fun and good for the community, commenting, “I think it’s a really amazing opportunity to share art with the campus community.”

Maggie Moran ’22 was there on behalf of her friend Viv Santana-Perez ’22. Santana-Perez was at home this semester, she clarified, so she was selling on behalf of them. Moran was more than happy to help out her friend: “I think [Santana-Perez] make[s] amazing art and they deserve all the credit and all the attention for their art.” Art up for sale included pins and prints, including some that had little ghosts on them. 

Tabling together were Sienna Bucu ’22 and Holly Newman ’22. When asked about why she was excited about Craft Market, Bucu answered, “to be outside and be near people … this is a really nice opportunity to talk to people who I know care about quality art.” Bucu sold stunning paintings and coloring pages. Newman was also a hit, with her warm, freshly baked loaves of bread. They sold out quickly. 

Making an appearance but not selling anything was the Brandeis Pottery club. The Hoot saw Leah Farinella ’23 and Ido Dinnar ’23 making pottery next to the booths. They said that they really wanted to just spread the word about Brandeis Pottery and connect with other art lovers. Farinella joked that she was “just really excited to let people know [the club] was still alive.” 

The Craft Market was a way to spread joy and bring some love of art onto campus. Forman revealed that sellers and buyers alike have expressed interest in more Craft Fairs next year, a legacy Forman hopes his successor will follow through with. 

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