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Buy Handmade this Holiday Season: Where to Shop

There are so many fabulous craft shows, studio sales and local places this time of year selling lovely things made by hand–whether it’s $2 or $200, there is something for every budget.

In Rhode Island:

Craftland Show
December 4-31, 7 days a week, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
Open late on Thursdays and Saturdays ’til 8:00 PM.
235 Westminster Street, Providence. Admission is free.

While the Craftland Shop is now open year round, it will soon shift gears from the shop to the annual Craftland Show on December 4. Featuring over 170 artists, the Craftland Show is where you will find everything from silk-screened onesies, stuffed toys in the form of slabs of bacon, as well as fine jewelry and paintings. Always eclectic and fresh, with special events scheduled throughout the month.

Special Events:
Opening party: Dec 4th, 5:00 – 9:00 PM
Girls Rock! RI Party: Dec 9th, 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Buy Art reception: Dec 10th, 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Hive O’Clock Happy Hour Workshop: Dec 15th, 5:30 – 7:00 PM – $10
Meet the Artists evening: Dec 17th, 5:00 – 8:00 PM

The Foundry Showproductimages-390-pb.jpg
Friday, Dec 4th, Noon – 8:00 PM
Saturday, Dec 5th, 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday, Dec 6th, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday, Dec 11th, Noon – 8:00 PM
Saturday, Dec 12th, 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Sunday, Dec 13th, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Opening Gala – Thursday, Dec 3th from 5:00 – 9:00 PM

Location: Pawtucket Armory, 172 Exchange Street, Pawtucket. Admission is free (donations of canned goods are encouraged–they’ll be given to the RI Food Bank)

The 27th annual Foundry Show encompasses both fine art and functional craft with works in a range of media, styles and functions including jewelry, ceramics, textiles, wood, home furnishings, clothing paintings, sculpture and photography. The show is on the first two weekends in December with a Gala Opening night (featuring live music and refreshments). A Charity Benefit Silent Auction showcasing items donated by each Foundry Artist will start on opening night. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the St. Mary’s Home for Children and the Pawtucket Armory Center for the Arts.

photo albums by rag and bone bindery

Rag and Bone Open Studio
Saturday, Dec. 5th, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Rag and Bone Bindery — 1088 Main Street, Pawtucket. Admission is free (create your own book workshop is $15.00)

Rag and Bone Bindery is kicking off the holiday season in a big way by inviting customers into their world of quality handmade albums and journals. The bindery company will also be offering a workshop on how to “create your own book,” as well as major discounts (as much as 25% off regular priced merchandise and 50%-70% off of already reduced clearance items) on a wide selection of items. the_providence_visitor_color

Buy Crafts at Chez Pascal Gift Sale
Sunday, Dec. 6th, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Chez Pascal — 960 Hope St., Providence, RI. Admission is free. Please bring food to donate to the Food Bank.

Support local artists and the Rhode Island Food Bank. This small salon style show will feature a handful of local artists. Shop scarves, art, jewelry, sock monkeys, pottery, handbags and more!

painting by deb hickey

RISD Alumni Art Sale
Saturday, Dec. 12th, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. (Arrive early to avoid–or to get a good place in–a long line.)
: Rhode Island Convention Center, One Sabin Street, Providence.

Alumni from all over the world come back to Providence with thousands of items for sale, including toys, fine art, greeting cards, jewelry, furniture, clothing, ceramics, and much more. Admission is $7, free for children under 14 and current RISD students.

RISD Expose
Open daily (except Mondays) through December 12th, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 232 Westminster Street, Providence RI. Admission is free.

A “pop-up” gift shop/gallery featuring RISD student own original works of art — perfect for holiday giving. Working with the Office of Student Life, the organizers found a suitable location in Downcity Providence, invited all undergrad and grad students to submit work and designed the displays and presentation.

Rhody Craft 100
Every Saturday in November, December, and January from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
: Hope Artiste Village – 1005 Main Street, Pawtucket RI

Presenting a keen collection of local artists and crafters creating a one-of-a-kind seasonal shopping opportunity.

The city of Providence supports the arts with their new BUY ART program. When you shop from downcity merchants this holiday season you will receive a limited edition “I BUY ART” button created by Providence artists. Find out more about participating venues and local events at BuyArtProvidence.com.

In Massachusetts:

Bazaar Bizarre
Sunday, Dec. 6th, Noon – 7:00 PM
BCA Cyclorama, 539 Tremont Street, Boston. Admission is $1.00

A group of artist friends started this show in 2001 as an antidote to that dreaded other kind of craft fair (the kind with duck silhouettes stenciled on little shelves and rosebuds formed from wood shavings). Expect irresistibly clever and lovely jewelry, clothing, art, and toys.

Start at the Station
Sunday, Dec. 6th, Noon – 5:00 PM
Union Station, Worcester MA

A premiere holiday arts event with over 120 artists and crafters, food and more, just in time for all your holiday festivities! Hosted at historical Union Station, Worcester’s renovated train station boasting soaring ceilings and marble floors.

SoWa Holiday Market
Saturday, Dec. 12th & Sunday, Dec. 13th, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Cathedral High School Gym, 74 Union Park Street (on the corner of Washington Street) in Boston’s South End. Free parking at 500 & 540 Harrison Avenue Admission is $5.oo, children under 12 free

Over 80 New England artisans featuring a wide variety of handmade offerings from the fashionably chic to the cutting edge.

The Harvard Square Holiday Craft Fair
Nov. 28 & 29, Dec. 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18 – 23
Saturdays: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM, Sundays: noon – 6:00 PM, weekdays: noon – 7:30 PM
First Parish Unitarian Church (at the corner of Mass Ave. and Church Street in Harvard Square). Admission is free.

A long-running, juried show featuring the work of a changing mix of New England craftspeople and world-traveling importers. This show aims to be less like a show and more like a party where you can buy awesome stuff!

Tell your friends! Give handmade gifts this holiday season–to yourself and the ones you love. If you have a local holiday show to recommend, please share the details in the comments below.

Looking for gift ideas for everyone on your list? Check the 2009 RI Handmade Holiday Gift Guide here.

Linda Cox Demers moved to Barrington, RI, from Chicago with her husband and two boys, ages 12 and 7. She runs her handbag and accessories business, à la mode, from home and has recently discovered a passion for blogging. As an independent designer , Linda enjoys promoting local artists and the “buy handmade” movement.

Visit Linda’s blog at http://alamodestuff.blogspot.com.

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  • going to craftland today for more fire-breathing panda tshirts. elyse–maybe we can carpool & take turns circling the block?

  • All I can say is WOW to the additional arts and crafts listings here in the comments. I just want to stroll and shop at each and every one of them! I love handmade art! Thanks for the comments!

  • old county road elementary in smithfield will host its annual snowflake bazaar featuring local artisans and crafties (like me!) on december 12. 200 old county road. 9-3.

  • From ProvDailyDose: Monohasset Mills Holiday Sale — Saturday. Dec. 6
    Monohasset Mill is Providence’s most active artist space with over 60 working artists living in 40 converted mill spaces. The Mill is home to photographers and fashion designers, ceramacists, jewelers and DJ’s, graphic designers, RISD profesors, art educators and more.

    With residents that include the founders and owners of hyper-creative ventures such as The Steelyard, Woolly Fair, Queen of Hearts, and Firehouse13 this is an Open Studios not to be missed.

    Even the folks who were living in the Mall, actually live at Monohasset.

    The CREATure, a vast lighting installation in the courtyard of the Mill, will be lit at 4:30pm.
    If you’re looking to collect some of Providence’s finest local art, head to Monohasset Mill on December 5th.

    While not yet as well-known as Craftland or the Foundry sale, this is more of the village holiday shopping experience than any other as you walk around the studio/residences, meeting the artists themselves as you browse unique artwork at amazing prices.

  • For me, just Craftland is enough. I love this list. So many options. Wave magic wand, give me one week and $10,000 budget, please.

  • To hear you as well as so many others talking about buying handmade and local this season makes me so happy!

    I know there’s some type of holiday bazaar at Kettle Pond this Sunday from 10-4. Does anyone know of other events outside of Providence?