Share This Page

Artisans showcase custom crafts at Handmade Arcade

Jessica Manack has searched through garbage cans.

The unconventional artist will search high and low to find what she's looking for.

Manack uses items such as the insides of security envelopes or old maps to create fun and lively buttons and magnets. Junk mail is not considered junk -- it just might become something that helps her bottom line.

Manack hopes to sell a few of her creations at Saturday's Handmade Arcade at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. She is one of more than 156 vendors from the United States and Canada who will showcase wares for the holiday-shopping event. More than 7,000 shoppers are expected to attend.

"That saying is true that one man's trash is another man's treasure," says Manack, who found Miss Chief Productions in 2000 with roommate Erin Wommack at Hollins University in Roanoke, Va.

"I believe there is interest in handmade items, and that nothing replaces live interaction with people," says Mancak of Lawrenceville. "I think people appreciate something that is handmade."

Handmade Arcade is committed to showcasing locally produced items, which often integrate upcycled, recycled and eco-friendly materials and techniques.

This independent craft fair gives grassroots crafters an opportunity to show and sell their wares, which include accessories, artwork and illustrations, bath and body products, ceramics and pottery, children's clothing, fiber arts, housewares, jewelry, music, paper crafts and toys.

Reflecting Handmade Arcade's staunch make-it-yourself mission, the event will feature the new Hands-on Handmade activity area, where shoppers can participate in craft projects. The hands-on project is supported in part by a Seed Award from the Sprout Fund to promote creativity.

This is the first year Handmade Arcade organizers have held two similar events in the same year. A Handmade Arcade was held in April. Next year's vision is to host a single two-day event, says public relations coordinator Jennifer Baron of Dormont, who owns Fresh Popcorn Productions.

Friendship resident Seth Le Donne of Panel Den Arts Collective, who creates limited edition hand-crafted zines, says, "I really enjoy an opportunity to be at Handmade Arcade and to discuss my work with a diverse demographic. You will see things you won't ever find at a conventional store."

Project manager Minette Vacariello, who owns Ray-Min Shoulderware with husband Raymond Morin, creates handbags from upholstery. She says customers like to talk to the artisan or crafter. "They understand the work and the craftsmanship that goes into something that you won't find at a department store. You also learn about the artist and the thought process of what went into the item. I think there is a real movement to buy locally, because that supports local artists."

Mundania Horvath of Wilkinsburg fashions collages with images from the collections of libraries.

"It's like a treasure hunt when I go looking for material, because I never know what I am going to find," says Horvath, who visits antique shops, flea markets and thrift stores.

"At Handmade Arcade, we all have a good time talking about art and design and learning from each other," Horvath says. "It's a great networking opportunity and a great opportunity to see what other people are doing and making. I strive to create work that balances, art, design and advertising."

Photo Galleries

Handmade Arcade

Handmade Arcade

More than 156 vendors from the U.S. and Canada will showcase wares for the holiday-shopping event.

Additional Information:

Handmade Arcade

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

Admission: Free. A $15 early-bird pass allows entrance to the event at 10 a.m. The pass can be purchased at Wildcard boutique in Lawrenceville or online. Passes are limited to 200 and must be purchased in advance.

Where: David Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown

Details: 412-736-0343 or website

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.