The Handmade Market … Because "mall" is a four-letter word.

The Handmade Market … Because "mall" is a four-letter word.

A showcase of independent designers, artists, and crafters in Raleigh, NC.

The Handmaidens

All of the posts under the "The Handmaidens" category.

Change is good


This is an interesting post to write, because about 6 months ago, we didn’t know what we would be announcing. Were we going to continue for only one more year? Were we going to be done all together? Or, were we going to continue with fewer Handmaidens?

Before explaining further, we would like to acknowledge a milestone. We have been doing this for 10 years, and this November would have marked our 20th market! This fact is hard for us to wrap our heads around. The Handmade Market is a labor of love, but with 7 busy women at the helm- burnout loomed. Last summer the conversation was started about ending this awesome ride- could we, should we?

Then something awesome happened. Each time we got together to officially make an “exit strategy,” we just couldn’t do it. We have worked together for 10 years. We started producing shows when Raleigh’s creative community was still small, with lots of room to grow. We jumped in, figured out things along the way, and pooled all our talents in management. It’s been such a huge learning experience for all of us, both professionally and personally. As partners and friends, we have been through a lot in the last 10 years. We celebrated the highs and held tight through the lows. We had made our own magical little family and it just seemed wrong to walk away. Since starting The Handmade Market, Raleigh’s creative community has BOOMED, and it didn’t seem right to walk away from such an awesome event.

So…we are taking a bit of a break. We will be producing The Handmade Market in November 2015, but not this May. We are taking the time to bring some fresh, new ideas to the table. Stepping back, breathing, and regrouping.

Things are going to start looking a little different around here. Please pardon the dust as we work through the growth. Amazing things are coming- we will be hosting and organizing smaller, local events, producing “how to videos” online, ramping up the blog & web presence, consulting with artists, and laying out the plan for The Handmade Market re-launch in November 2015!

Thank you for all your support, thank you for being creative, and thanks for your patience!

The Handmaidens

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Help Wanted

Hello creative friends! The Handmaidens are looking to bring on a couple of interns this summer and fall to help with preparations for The Handmade Market on November 8. You will be working closely with us to organize, produce, and promote the event. The position is unpaid, but (and this is a big BUT) you will gain invaluable experience in how to run a successful art, craft, and design show!

You will create and manage blog content, help out with social media, and assist with project management — most of this happens online, so you need to be very comfortable with basic WordPress editing and other online tools/platforms like Freedcamp, Constant Contact, and Google Docs/Drive. Some experience with WordPress is preferred, but it’s okay if you haven’t worked with the others — the key point is that you’ll have to jump in quickly. If web technology isn’t your thing, then you probably won’t enjoy this gig!

We also need someone who’s crafty, creative, positive, interested in sharing new ideas, and good with teamwork. You must live in the Triangle area and have a reliable computer. Does this sound like you? Would you like to learn all the behind-the-scenes tricks and tips we use on a daily basis? (And did we mention that this is our 18th show? We definitely have some tips to share.) All right, let’s do this!

Please send your resume to In your resume, include anything that’s relevant to your art, craft, or design experience, along with how many hours per week you are available. If you’re currently in school, send links to any projects that represent your skills, interests, and style. Share links to your blog, if you have one, along with Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Help us get to know you! We look forward to working together!!

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Thanks for supporting the Handmade Market!

and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Thanks to everyone who came out to our 15th edition of The Handmade Market! On behalf of all the fabulous artists and food vendors, thank you for taking the time to drop in and shop local!

This was our first time offering the Early Bird shopping. Did you partake? How did you like it?

Thank you to those of you who contributed to The Scrap Exchange fundraiser. We raised $241.00 for this great local program.

We had a lot of support for this event, from our fantastic volunteers to our generous sponsors. An extra thank you goes out to our fine friends at Logan’s, DECO Raleigh, OrnamenteaEpona & OakCity Market, The Borough, and Downtown Raleigh Alliance. With the help of all these groups and individuals, we continue to improve The Handmade Market.

If you have a story to share about your day at The Handmade Market, we’d love to hear from you. If you took photos at the event, we’d love it if you’d add them to The Handmade Market group on Flickr.

Stay up-to-date on news about The Handmade Market, including the call for artists and dates for the November 2013 event, by signing up for the newsletter and following us on facebook and twitter.

With love + craftiness as always,
The Handmaidens

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Artist Spotlight: Patina South

Tracey Johnson is the wonder woman behind Patina South {and also one of The Handmaidens}. Her one-of-a-kind creations — whether it’s jewelry, accessories, or paintings — are vintage yet modern, and always a little rough around the edges (by design).

When did you realize that you had a creative calling to fulfill? I have always been creative, but my sophomore year in high school I was accidentally placed in AP Art as an elective. When given the option to switch for another chosen elective, I decided to stay. I went on to graduate from ECU School of Art and have worked creatively for Ornamentea for over 9 years.

Do you have a favorite quotation that describes your creative philosophy? Life begins at the end of your comfort zone — Neale Donald Walsch

Where do you go and/or what do you do when you have artist’s block? I usually go to an antique shop, thrift store, or flea market in a small town I am not familiar with, alone. I like to plunder and rummage through dusty boxes and second-hand pretties without conversation or explanation. It relaxes and rejuvenates me at the same time.

How do you plan for the future of your business? A crafty business has an evolution, and I have spent the last year or so finding my place, moving out of my comfort zone, and listening to the advice of others. The vintage and found part of the business grew at a rapid pace in 2012. I am now organizing and participating in pop-up shops all over NC, VA, and SC with handmade and vintage themes. It is as if I could not have dreamed a more perfect, chaotic life!

The Handmade Market is this Saturday, November 10! Stop by The Handmaidens’ area and the Patina South table — whether you’re looking for something vintage, classic, or over-the-top, Tracey’s collection is sure to please!

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Artist Spotlight: hothouse posey

Ndidi Kowalczyk is the great artist hothouse posey {and also one of The Handmaidens}. Her stunning designs are hand-fabricated and full of enamel, fibers, copper, found objects, sterling silver, brass, cold connections, soldering, paper, ceramic beads by Elaine Ray, and so much more.

When did you realize that you had a creative calling to fulfill? When I was four years old, I made a finger painting of an angel. The colors were deliberately chosen, muted, and varied. It was incredibly beautiful in all its abstractness. I never stopped creating from the moment I made that painting. My mother framed it, and Angel has hung on the wall in each house where she has lived. When I visit, I stare at Angel and remember I was born to create art.  

If there were no limits to your creative pursuits, in terms of money, space, time, etc, what projects would you choose and why? The first thing I would do is create a nearly perfect studio space. Then I would build jewelry inspired by the architecture of Antoni Gaudi, the color/design beauty of Raoul Dufy, and the textile/textural sensibilities of Arline Fisch. Mighty ambitious but this project will undoubtedly have me traveling to experience and be inspired by the places where these artists created.

What’s one thing that you’ve never done but would love to try? Artistically or just in general? As an artist, I’d love to learn to make a belt buckle. The mechanics intrigue me, and I am enamored by the simplicity and intricacy. In general, I’d like to skydive or hang glide. I’ve always wanted to feel that free. It seems to me there are equal parts fear and a sense of adventure required to do either. This dynamic makes great artists. I want to be a great artist.

The Handmade Market is just a week from tomorrow, on Saturday, November 10! Be sure to visit The Handmaidens’ area and the hothouse posey display, where you’ll find something delicate, wearable, feminine, and strong — all in one piece!

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