handmade arcade on the way

For some of us, crafting is an art better left to other, more talented folks. Thankfully those others will converge at the upcoming Handmade Arcade, held in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on December 6, where the Pittsburgh independent craft scene will set up shop and show off what it’s got. In the 11 years since Handmade Arcade began, they’ve grown from 1,000 to more than 6,000 attendees and about 150 vendors. The complete list of artists covers handmade jewelry, ceramics, prints and photographs, clothing, housewares and a long list of “other.” This year the list also includes four Mt. Lebanon artists, one of whom made this year’s Handmade Arcade logo. Kim Fox of Worker Bird quilts, but with metal and has been selected as one of Martha Stuart’s 2014 American Made nominees and finalists.

Noelle Griskey is another one of the Mt. Lebanon artists who’ll be selling her artwork, in this case hand-printed notecards, at the arcade. In 2005, Noelle sold her first wholesale order of stationary and her business, Pink Bathtub Designs, has taken off since then. “Honestly, it’s the greatest feeling to sell something that you’ve created. I love seeing people connect with my designs,” she says. This will be her sixth year at Handmade Arcade, and she’s looking forward to interacting with the attendees, chatting about the creative process and then, hopefully, getting a chance to walk around and do some shopping of her own. The sheer variety of handmade goods available makes Handmade Arcade a perfect place to knock out a Christmas shopping list in one go.

The other two Mt. Lebanon artists will also be present; David Klug creates illustrations, which are primarily animal-themed, and has expanded into silk-screening, chalkboards and more recently, recycled woodcuts and shapes. Even those who don’t know his name may be familiar with his work; he designed a mural for Primanti Brothers in the Strip District 20 years ago, the wall covered in local Pittsburgh faces, as well as a recent piece of wall-artwork for the Oakland location. Samantha Bower will also be at the Handmade Arcade with her handcrafted jewelry, much of which you may have glimpsed in KoolKat Designs. Necklaces and earrings are her passion and the jewels often sparkle, but she also uses materials like upcycled paper and colorful stones in her pieces.

You can visit our four Mt. Lebanon artists and 146 more, each with their own story and diverse body of work, at the Handmade Arcade on December 6, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The event is free, but Early Birdie passes are available for $15; those shoppers can sneak in before the crowds to get the first pick at 10 a.m. and are entered into a raffle. Only those passes purchased before December 2 are sure bets, otherwise you’ll be added to a will-call list.