Less Etsy, more art: Brooklyn Museum hosts high-end craft fair

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The art on display at the Brooklyn Museum this month is not just for admiring.

Around 90 vendors will bring high-end jewelry, ceramics, glass work, and more to the Prospect Heights institution for the inaugural American Fine Craft Show Brooklyn on Dec. 14 and 15.

The museum is a fitting location for the show, said organizer Richard Rothbard.

“This is a high level of craft that is really art,” said Rothbard, who has produced craft shows for more than 30 years, but has never held one in a museum before. “They’re one-of-a-kind works that you’ve never seen before.”

And while the city has no shortage of craft markets right now, Rothbard said the pieces that will be at the fair are of a different level.

“People in the show are literally the crème de la crème of the craft world,” said Rothbard, who will have his own booth at the show for his woodworking company, Boxology. “It’s far, far away from Etsy.”

The allure of markets such as Etsy, of course, is their affordability. “High-end” usually translates into “high prices,” and pieces at the show may run you several thousand dollars. Still, there will be a wide range of price points, with pieces starting at around $50, said Rothbard.

This is Rothbard’s first fine craft show in Brooklyn, and more than a dozen of the jury-selected vendors attending are from the borough. These include fine artists Alicia Degener and Jinsheng Wang, lighting designer Cassidy Brush of Urban Chandy, glass artisan Nick Leonoff, and jewelers Louise Fischer Cozzi and Christine Mackellar.

Mackellar, a trained silversmith, has worked out of her Gowanus studio for three decades, but often has to travel to craft shows outside the borough to sell her work. She said she is looking forward to showing her gold and silver jewelry in her hometown, and having a light shone on the local craft scene.

“I feel like there’s a real void in the city that you don’t find this kind of work easily, and there’s a lot of great Brooklyn designers,” said Mackellar. “It’s amazing what people can do with the same raw materials and how diverse people’s imaginations are.”

Mackellar’s jewelry is inspired by her garden, and she will be selling items such as her popular twig bracelets and blossom necklaces — each handmade in her Brooklyn studio.

“Most stores carry manufactured objects, but there’s no heart and hand involved,” said Mackellar. “Whereas in fine craft, there’s a lot of hand and there’s a lot of heart involved in every piece.”

American Fine Craft Show Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. near Washington Avenue, (718) 638-5000,], Dec. 14–15 from 11 am–6 pm. $12, $11 seniors, $6 students, children under 10 free.

Updated 10:16 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Miguel Carraway from Brooklyn says:
Wow another craft fair in Brooklyn. What a horribly unoriginal idea. Maybe they can open a yoga studio too.

Dismiss the entire board at the Museum and replace them with some people with a coherent philosophy about the institution.
Dec. 10, 2013, 9:45 am
Jeanne Byington from Manhattan says:

You may have missed the point that Melissa was making: This isn't an ordinary neighborhood craft show--which is why it is at the museum.

Dec. 10, 2013, 10:32 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Yet, they dismiss the idea of putting in a Popeye's Express into the Museum for the poors every time it comes up. I hate to be the one to point this out.
Dec. 10, 2013, 3:38 pm
Emma Eriksson from Brooklyn says:
@Miguel. A high quality craft fair with Brooklyn artists in it is perfect for the Museum. The most respected craft show in the country is at the Philadelphia Art Museum! I am looking forward to this.
@John. Popeye's Express? "For the poors"??!
Dec. 10, 2013, 6:11 pm
Ed from Bay Ridge says:
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says: "Yet, they dismiss the idea of putting in a Popeye's Express into the Museum for the poors every time it comes up."

The BMus okayed a fancy-shmancy restaurant and will charge $12@ for a high-end crafts show whose "wide range" of prices starts at $50. I don't think it has poors in mind (where poors = anyone who can't afford an "esthetics" budget category).
Dec. 11, 2013, 11:11 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Of course, the Museum rarely has the poors in mind, if you'll pardon my saying so.
Dec. 11, 2013, 1:28 pm

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