'Tis the season to shop for a last minute gift, and the BID Holiday Crafts Market may have just what you are looking for. After a long run, its last day is Sunday, Dec. 19, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. To celebrate, the restaurant Alvin & Friends will offer food and drink.
Tucked away on Lawton Street at the Backstreet Gallery, the market — in its second year — could use some added foot traffic. Ivar Hyden, owner of Backstreet Gallery and Framing, explained.
"We did this event in a vacant storefront space last year," he said. "Because of all of that traffic last year we had two other BID galleries this year."
"This year, we committed to a space on North Avenue. We were all set to go, with about 18 to 20 people signed up to be exhibiting artists," Hyden said.
A week before the event opened, the BID discovered that there was no heat.
"We spoke with the building department. We found that legally there was no way to get heat there on a temporary basis. So we had to pull the plug on that location," Hyden said.
Despite the change of location, the event does still draw in patrons. Artists like Theresa Beyer of New Rochelle are hoping for a last-minute rush. Her work varies from small watercolor pins to origami earrings. She also sells Christmas tree ornaments that are miniature paintings of New Rochelle, Mamaroneck and Long Island.
"It's great to have an event like this. I think about how it would be nice for downtown New Rochelle to transform and have a thriving business district," Beyer said.
As a member of the Mamaroneck Artists' Guild, she sees how it helps that area. "I am hopeful that we will be able to have something similar," Beyer said.
Moreno Tagliapietra, of New Rochelle, stood at his wife and daughter's exhibit. Hats by his daughter Keri Johnson, and silk scarves, handmade metal and clay beads, and jewelry by his wife Dorothy Cherbavaz were available for sale. A photographer and digital artist, he explained how his wife's silk creations are made.
"The silk starts out as white plain silk, and three different methods are used. One is using wax, another one is using block prints and the last one is freehand," Tagliapietra said.
Necklaces are made with translucent clay beads with metallic strips inside. Knit necklaces and bracelets — a very time-consuming process — are also available, laced with Murano glass and shells.
This was Nick Vianna's first holiday exhibit. A lawyer by day, his whimsical and wacky prints got a lot of attention.
"My artwork is also part of a performance art piece, where I present the pictures on stage as I read poetry," he said
A New Rochellean for nine years, Vianna began showing his work six months ago. "For me, this is just an opportunity to get my work out and to get people to see them. I get a lot of enjoyment out of it," he said.
Theresa McClure of New Rochelle creates beaded work that is affordable and, sometimes, antique.
"I design Strong beaded jewelry. It started out as a hobby, and it is my therapy for when I've had a hard day. I know there are a lot of people who enjoy jewelry but can't afford it. So I try to make stuff that is within people's price ranges," she said.
"I like buying old beads and jewelry, and taking them apart so I could make new pieces," McClure said. "Everybody I know has a mother or grandmother with a box of broken stuff. Let's recreate something. You never know what you're going to get out of it! It's a lot of fun."
The downturn in the economy has changed the way some artists show their work.
"The last couple of years we've abandoned the larger shows and focused on local and regional ones. We are doing pretty well," Tagliapietra said.
According to Hyden, last year was better than this year because of location.
"Last year, there was a lot of foot traffic from Main Street," he said. "But I think this type of event is fun. You get to purchase merchandise at very reasonable prices, rather than going to the mall. These people actually make the stuff, and they are local artists and artists so you are supporting your downtown."