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Handmade Arcade is not your mother's crafts show

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By Michael Agostino
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005
 

A lot of times, people don't know they need something until they see it.

That's the idea behind the indie craft fair Handmade Arcade, scheduled for Saturday at Construction Junction in Point Breeze. More than 60 vendors will sell handmade crafts made from unusual materials -- from vintage fabrics to found items, X-ray film to grocery bags.

An estimated 1,000 people attended the first Handmade Arcade last year, spokeswoman Elizabeth Clare Prince says. This year, organizers spent nine hours looking through pictures of vendors' crafts to narrow down a pool of almost 140 applications.

One of the vendors to make the cut was Amber Cherry, 30, of Oakmont.

Cherry and her friend Tracey Holzshu create stuffed monsters called "stuffies" as part of their crafts business Friend or Foe. The "stuffies," which were developed two years ago for a Halloween art show, range from Beanie Baby-sized creatures to ones as large as a pillow, but feature vintage fabrics and monstrous designs that cannot be found on a Hallmark shelf.

"Going to the Handmade Arcade gives us the inspiration to keep doing what we do," Cherry says. "You get to see the large community of people who are out there making these crafts, and the feeling there is great."

But for member and owner of Crafty Scientist Dayna Mankowski, creating "Failed Experiment" earrings out of X-ray film and sewing together lightweight, waterproof messenger bags out of strips of plastic grocery bags isn't a career. It's a night-time hobby.

"I craft every evening from 9 p.m. to about 1 or 2 a.m.," says Mankowski, a biomedical researcher and part-time pharmacist. "It's definitely a release."

Handmade Arcade founder Gloria Forouzan, of Lawrenceville, also uses crafting as an escape from her day job as a principal of Percolater, Inc. -- a community and political consulting firm -- and says that the community of friends she found doing the same thing during the evenings led to the craft fair.

"Handmade Arcade supports local craftspeople, and people have been starving for something like this in Pittsburgh," says Forouzan, 51. "We all need something authentic."

Additional Information:

Handmade Arcade

When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Construction Junction, 214 N. Lexington St., Point Breeze

Admission: Free

Details: or 412-621-4390

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