The Brookline Artist Marketplace kicked off the holiday season two weekends ago at the Brookline Arts Center on 86 Mammoth Street. The annual show exhibits handmade crafts, fine art, food items and accessories produced by local makers. The market hosted free hours on November 18 and 19 and featured an exclusive soiree opening on November 17 when entrance proceeds went back into funding the center.
Artist Suzette Durso creates notebooks and sketchbooks by hand, from painting the covers in marbled techniques to binding the pages in some traditional stitches. For 30 years Durso taught at Wilmington High School. Now in retirement, she teaches bookmaking workshops at her studio upon request.
Englishman Bay Trading Company, run by Alicia Monks, celebrates New England traditions through wool goods. The Englishman sheep are raised on the Maine coastline, and their wool is used to produce intricate blankets, hats, scarves, sweaters and toy sheep. Though their practices represent a long knitting tradition, the designs Englishman offers are very contemporary.
Glasswork artist Ann Szerlip makes glass beads and dishes in vibrant colors and patterns. She offers serving sets of dishes and utensils bearing matching glass adornments. Szerlip’s style is called “lampwork beads” about the old technique of melting glass over oil lamps. Today the artist uses a torch to create the swirling visual confections that adorn her silver serving tools.
For something to satisfy your sweet tooth, Robin Cohen offers a vast array of jams under her label Doves and Figs. All of Cohen’s jams are made from scratch with local ingredients. They range in flavors from the Evil Apple, a spicy apple, and chipotle mix, to the Chocolate Fix Sunshine, a blend of apples, figs, oranges and Taza Mexican dark chocolate. Cohen recommends the latter with blue cheese.
To serve your jams, ceramicist Faith Connor makes intricate artworks through the laborious wood-fired kiln method. A wood-fired kiln requires new wood be loaded in 24 hours a day throughout the firing process, which can often take weeks. Connor’s work is marked by tiny textural details like 3-dimensional polka dots or gold leaf patterns. With these modern touches, she juxtaposes an ancient art process with a present-day design.
These are just a few of the 20 vendors the market exhibited. If you couldn’t make it to the market, all of the artists mentioned above can be found online. Shopping with Brookline and Massachusetts artists not only supports the local economy, it means giving a gift that’s one-of-a-kind.