I have to admit, I love North Philly. Fishtown is where I live, shop, and have a studio. When I’m not at The Art Shop @ Moore, I tend to hibernate in the neighborhood.
That said, I don’t trek south of South Street very often, but this weekend had two very good reasons for the excursion. Two second Saturday gallery receptions brought me just south of South to B Square Gallery, where I have a site-specific installation in an invitation group show, LOVE show (Go check it out….please!) and further south and a little west to Passyunk Avenue, where Nice Things…Handmade celebrated it’s one-year anniversary with a Valentine’s Day show and party!
I am embarrassed to say that this was my first time at Nice Things…Handmade. I met the owner/one-woman-show Elissa Kara a few months ago at Crafty Balboa, and we have been playing email tag for a while about getting my work into the shop. Finally amongst the brightly colored craft, I could see that the shop carries all of the Philly craft stars. I spotted BirdQueen Designs, GirlsCanTell, Masters of None, Shana Hostetter, and Melissa Crotty right away.
I asked Elissa about her artists; and it turns out that about 75% of them are from PA, and the rest come from all over the country. She says, “I love the idea of supporting local artist as well as sharing new and exciting work (from other places) with philly.”
Nice Things…Handmade has great roots too. Named after a store that Elissa’s mother owned before she was born, it’s a beautiful way to honor her mother as well as expose Philadelphians to the talented crafters here. She chose Passyunk Avenue to be part of an uprising of women-owned small businesses cropping up here. There are lots of great shops, restaurants and other new and old to check out in the neighborhood. I found VisitEastPassyunk.com to help visitors navigate.
Elissa poses with some of the artists’ contributions for her Valentine’s Day themed anniversary show.
The shop is thick with crafty goodness, so I recommend a trek down to East Passyunk, getting your hair done at Fringe Salon, grabbing some margaritas at the Cantina Los Caballitos, and picking up some great gifts for yourself and someone you know at Nice Things…Handmade. It’s the only store that you can find Rogue Theory, who sew tidy and colorful sleeves for all your important bits, for everything Apple, plus wallets, passport cases, and purses too.
Always wonderful porcelain from Melissa Crotty. I covet. I covet.
And after this Wednesday, I will have jewelry and hopefully prints at Nice Things too!Katie VanVliet is a Philadelphia printmaker, and manages The Art Shop @ Moore College of Art & Design. A graduate herself, she markets the artwork and handmade craft of alumnae and students of Moore. She sells her own work at The Art Shop and at craft fairs and exhibitions throughout the city. In her spare time, she founded a cooperative-style printshop, BYO Print, in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philly, that provides affordable facility access to young printmakers in the area.