Monday, January 5, 2015

On the Road - SoWa Holiday Market - Boston, MA

Happy New Year! I hope 2015 is off to a great start for you and your loved ones. I am beginning my year with a look back at a one of the highlights from my 2014 show season: SoWa Holiday Market. This must-see Boston show was hustling and bustling from the moment the doors of the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology swung open. Word has it that the line to get in wrapped around the block for a good portion of the weekend. It's no surprise since this event has been growing in popularity and attendance since its beginnings in 2003. This year, SoWa Holiday Market was on everyone's holiday show list, including The Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, and Country Living Magazine.
SoWa Holiday Market at the Benjamin Franklin Institute
Twitch and Whiskers at SoWa Holiday Market 2014
A steady stream of holiday shoppers filled the space all weekend. Festive music filled the air as folks combed through some of the best handmade goods and finely crafted edibles from all over New England. As part of my SoWa Holiday tradition, I grabbed a circle of sweet perfection from Union Square Donuts to power through the show. Delish!
SoWa Holiday shoppers
Union Square Donuts - mmm...
A lost art can be reborn through the hands of a special person with perseverance and a vision. At SoWa Holiday Market, I met the talented Crystal Sloane of Vintage by Crystal. Crystal has created her own unique world of whimsical figural ornaments and decorations using the old German art of spun cotton. Through much trial and error and experimentation, she has developed her own special "spin" on the art of spun cotton. Crystal incorporates all kinds of treasures into her one of a kind pieces. Vintage ephemera, antique embellishments, tag sale finds, items from nature, and even repurposed broken ornaments find their way into Crystal's studio. The result is pure magic. She has created a menagerie of every animal imaginable, a parade of personalities from cherubs to devils, and a world of smiling trees and carrot people. Her creations can go on trees, counter tops, and even atop wedding cakes.  Crystal's unique talents haven't gone unnoticed. She shared her skills as a guest on the Martha Stewart Show and most recently created a collection of ornaments for Anthropologie. Wanna see the coolest thing ever? Anthropologie created a stop action animation short using her spun cotton critters. Visit her website, blog, and Etsy shop to find out about her process, see works from all of her holiday collections, and to purchase the perfect piece for your home. You can also follow Vintage by Crystal on Facebook and Instagram. Once you take a peek into her world, you will fall head over heels for her work!
Crystal Sloane with husband Ben and daughter Olive - Vintage by Crystal

curious cotton creatures
one foxy couple
dog with spots and puss in boots
ornaments and decorations for every season
One of the best parts of doing SoWa is getting to know many of the wonderful artists. I was tickled pink when I saw several of my artist friends wearing their Twitch and Whiskers pieces at the show. 
Lianne Stoddard of Swirly Designs in her vintage Santa pinback button necklace.
My car necklace sister - Jen Gubicza of Zooguu Handmade Plush Toys
My biggest obsession lately has been all things tin: tin whistles, tin clickers and tin toys. Before SoWa, I had a chance to make a new batch of tin necklaces with kitschy imagery and vibrant colors. Many of these went whistlin' home with happy customers. 
tin whistle necklaces
Liz of Liz Rodriguez Ceramics in her tin bird whistle necklace and Fun 'n Games ring. 
I also brought a collection of tiny clicker necklaces with cutesy animals and vintage plastic and glass beads. 
tiny tin clickers

clickers, thimbles, and magnets
Abby Berkson of Abby Berkson Ceramics in her blue bunny clicker necklace
I had many new Hob Knob rings and necklaces in new color combinations. They proved to be a great gift for musicians and music lovers.
Hob Knob rings and necklaces
turning up the volume in a red Hob Knob ring
My Fun 'n' Games rings made from vintage pinback buttons, game pieces, and Cracker Jack prizes were a popular stocking stuffer gift. Folks had fun digging through the piles of rings to find the perfect match for their friends.
Fun 'n' Games rings
Christine of Fawn in her Cracker Jack prize and game piece ring
Pinback button necklaces also found their way home around the necks of lovely ladies. It's fabulous when people make personal connections to the pieces. One woman got two Reddy Kilowatt necklaces because her father worked for an energy company that had Reddy as its mascot. Another woman purchased a North Pole, NY necklace because she had fond memories visiting Santa there as a child. 
Feeling Reddy?

pinback button necklaces
Don't monkey with Susan!
Yes, she's actually been to North Pole, NY!
Many protractor necklaces also left the building, including one of my faves featuring a pink polka dotted lamb brooch and vintage pink and mint beads. 
Little Lamb

looking lamb-tastic
making a splash in a mermaid protractor necklace
It's always nice to get visits from friends at shows. I got warm hugs and hellos from Amy Trueblood of Amy J. Designs and her two sweet daughters. I had the pleasure of meeting them back at Jamaica Plain Open Studios this past summer and it was terrific to see them again.
Amy of Amy J Designs and her sweet daughter Gwen and Tagen stopped by with smiles.
Another visit came in the form of four paws and two feet. Andy, a volunteer for NEADS of Massachusetts and Beamer, his service dog in training were visiting the market. I have a soft spot for service dogs because my elementary school does a lot of good work with Guiding Eyes for the Blind. I had a nice conversation with Andy about his work with Beamer. I found out that NEADS provides dogs for deaf and disabled individuals. I enjoyed meeting this dynamic duo and learning about a great organization.
Andy and dog Beamer of NEADS
Kindness must have been in the air at SoWa because a customer came up to me and shared her Yummy Mummy Brownie treats with me before she went off to finish her shopping. What a sweet (and delicious) surprise.
Yummy Mummy Brownie treats 
At the end of the non-stop weekend, I walked to the parking garage to fetch my car. On the way there, I passed a Christmas tree lot next to the Benjamin Franklin Institute. Sitting in the back of the lot was the most delightful little trailer I've every seen. It was all decked out in lights and kitschy Christmas decorations. Before I got caught up in the madness of loading my car back up and driving back to Connecticut, I took a quiet moment to pause and take in the glow of the lights and the smell of the trees. It was the perfect ending to my day and the ideal way to end my 2014 show season. Many thanks to all of the wonderful customers, artists, and organizers who made SoWa Holiday Market a smashing success. I hope everyone's season was merry and bright.
Happy Holidays from Twitch and Whiskers!
I cannot wait to see what 2015 has to bring. I am in the process of setting up my 2015 show season and will let you know as soon as I have dates.

In the meantime, visit Twitch and Whiskers on Etsy, Facebook, and Instagram. Most pieces found on Instagram and are available for sale. Inquiries are always welcome. 

Happy New Year!