By Maike van Wijk

On September 29, more than 50 Makers transformed the 5th floor of Evanston’s Maple Street Garage into an art fair. 

In conjunction with Downtown Evanston’s Oktoberfest, Evanston Made created an art pop up to showcase Evanston’s finest talent, along with a group of young artists.

It took a bit of pioneering spirit to join the Maker’s Market 2019. It had not been done before and setting an art fair in a parking garage is not the norm.  Where would the cars go? How would we control entry? How to layout booth spaces when you’re not allowed to write on anything and paper won’t stick to the wet concrete?!? There were a lot of questions that couldn’t be answered until we saw it in action!

The weather initially seemed frightful, but thanks to a solid roof over our heads and the convenience of literally unloading next to our cars, no one had to be concerned whether the looming clouds would ruin our art during setup. 

Instead, we all created our displays, some from rented tables and some with their personal booth furnishings and enjoyed the convenience of this venue. 

The clouds cleared and promptly at noon the first attendees began strolling in. The public took elevators up to the 5th floor, which appropriately represented “Painting”. Downstairs the Oktoberfest was hopping, offering beer, food trucks and German-influenced entertainment.

 “I had fun! I got to talk with friends and meet new people and loved seeing my fellow makers,” said encaustic and mixed media artist Jaimie Brunet who had fashioned a beautiful booth display. “Petting dogs and waving to kiddos was a bonus.”

 Our Evanston Made artists displayed ceramics, fashion, home goods, home decor, jewelry, makeup, and even hand crafted knives.

We soon saw Oktoberfest participants stroll through as well, identifiable by their beer steins. It was also lovely to have neighbors pop by, and fellow artists exhibiting in other group shows around Evanston.

The kids’ section included hand painted household items like aprons, photography, alcohol ink paintings, bath bombs, and greeting cards. There was also a craft table for young attendees to learn printmaking from two of our members, Janet Webber and Socorro Mucino.

Ben Blount showcased his prints, and had a wonderful time:Evanston Made Maker’s Market was great! It was big fun to be surrounded by such talented artists and makers. Thanks to my neighbors Liz Cramer, Amy Gabbert, and Joanna Kramer for chatting with me during the few slow moments. And a huge thanks to Lisa Degliantoni and Evanston Made for putting together a great event. Sign me up for next year!”

This year’s participants included: Ayla’s Originals, Ben Blount, Bonnie Watt, Carland Cartography, Claire & Jane Sloss, Creatively Empowered Women, Critter Project Inc., Ellie Hazlett, GoHead Merch, Jaimie Brunet, Janice Wojciechowski, Jeannine Ringland-Zwirn, Joanna Kramer, Juli Litzkow, Julie Karnes, Karna Studio, Kathy Halper, Karen Scofield, Liz Cramer, Louise Ivers, Maike’s Marvels, Mia Larson, Molly Laatsch, Latch Catering, Oleksandra Dinets, Olga Cher Hippie Baby, Reyes Witt of Assembly Creators and JerjerB Jewelry & Accessories, Ron Cramer, Sam Goldbroch, Seth Simmons, Steven Denenberg, Swantiques, Toby Renee Designs, Vaiju Saraf, Will Van Dyke.

“We both had a good day at the fair and are definitely looking forward to next year! Our favorite thing was meeting people that were just learning about Evanston Made, the Evanston arts community and were out enjoying the day and exploring,” said Liz Cramer, responding on behalf of her husband Ron Cramer as well. “We both had a chance to meet some Instagram followers that we had never met in person. So fun!  It was also great to see such a fun, diverse and talented  ‘garage full’ of artists and makers. I’m inspired to do something really fun with my booth set up next year.”

For shoppers who needed a break, Swantiques set up a fabulous lounge area with mid-century treasures and comfy sofas and chairs. Parking spots never looked so inviting!

The group was a mix of first-time art fair exhibitors and seasoned art fair vendors. From the feedback that has been received, the majority made at least one sale, and some of the kids booths performed well too. Notwithstanding the wet breezes and damp flooring, most of the hardy artist participants expressed a desire to return next year. And customers were asking for more!

“It was a great show and went well,” said Karna of Karna Studio.

You can view the full list of the participants here: https://evanstonmade.org/makers-market-participants/ 

Here’s to an even bigger event next year!