Look out ya'll!
This was a very small part of the packed scene on Memorial Day at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
While Dance Africa ended yesterday, the craftspeople were still exhibiting. I was attending with Mr. K in tow, to see a movie: Ouseme Sembene's"Moolaade" , a brilliant film about female circumcision and the resulting gender war incited by rebellion against it.
Now, back to the scene. In addressing the craftspeople, I've decided not to mince words. I'ma read, and offer suggestions. This way I won't create any enemies I don't know.
First, the good news. There were some standout exhibitors!
Most notably Rafya Shoes, of 554 Atlantic Ave. (718-852-3602). Their handmade shoes of–Raffia, of course–were excellent, in terms of assembly, design and price (US $50). You couldn't see the table for the women surrounding it. (They have shoes for men at the same price). Jacob's Ewe–114 Dekalb Ave. (718-246-2921), displayed wood furniture that made me almost go into debt (but yo! concentrate more on the modern stuff like the beehive chair I sat in. Let go of some of the repro antique).
Now, for the bad news. Decent needlecraft and newness in clothing was lacking. Period. The attendees were more fab. (Check Ms. Mishon, left. The stitch pattern for her skirt can be found in the Harmony Guides 220 More Crochet Stitches, pg. 38. The bag is Shell Stitch). So, to the crochet vendors: how do you justify the prices of items crocheted in cheap Acrylic yarn? And please, it's summer. The yarn and goods, should match the climate.
Woven clothing suffered from three points: poor construction, unflattering silhouettes, and bad fabric choices. Additionally dismaying, was the more expensive clothing vendors had no dressing room in their booths. Women don't plunk down serious money on clothes they can't try on. Trust me, I asked around. And speaking of serious money, how hard is it to obtain a credit card machine? Do vendors really think that people walk around with two-hundred dollars in their pocket?
There were other problems, but this is enough negativity for my blog.
So, I offer this: Stop obsessing on getting the website up and concentrate on producing a well-made item, using good materials. And have your own style, don't just copy the craftsperson that sells the most. Produce what you normally and resist the use of T-shirts, as a fill in. If your work is expensive, be prepared to take all kinds of money. And most importantly, remember that your booth is a little store. Be friendly to everyone who enters it, not just celebrities. You'd be surprised who would boost you.
Ms. Njoya Angrum, our fearless leader
of the Harlem Knit/Crochet Circle.