THE SAMENESS of retail outlets worldwide seems also to have infected that last bastion of independent creativity, the crafts fair. Like street fairs before them (do you care if you never see another stand selling funnel cake?!), they feel homogenized. The products of people who paint on silk/whittle wooden spoons and toys/import journals from Tibet seem all to have come from some Central Crafts Factory. However, there are always a few exceptions.
This year I revisited Riverstone at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market: This lovely woman makes gorgeous jewelry with a tribal feel (look at her website, eriverstone.com, to get the idea), ranging from $16 earrings (really nice) on up. I also enjoyed the remarkable stoneware from Yumiko Kuga at Crafts at the Cathedral (the cathedral being St. John the Divine; this annual fair is over for the year, but see images at yumikokugaceramic.com; a downtown Manhattan store called Makari seems to carry some of these pieces). There were beautiful pumpkin-colored cups on sale for only $7 each, and I have already collected several whimsical cups and tiles featuring blue-painted cats and rabbits at play. Also at St. John were Yukiko Sato’s wallets, pouches, and bags of terrific fabrics (go to tesage.com to order): She has a pinstripe lined with a coordinating dotted material that I particularly liked.
Yes, I seem to have a weakness for the East. The aesthetic is simple, quiet, functional, yet not without wit.