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Arts and Crafts Show at the Memphis Tap Room


handmade logoIt’s no secret to anyone with their pulse on the Philadelphia arts scene, the Fishtown–Kensington–Port Richmond area is home to many of the city’s best artists and crafters. This Saturday, from 10am to 3pm, the Memphis Taproom will host them and their kind from around the city at the first annual Handmade Market at the Memphis Taproom.

Leigh Maida opened the popular neighborhood bar in April 2008 with her husband Brendan Hartranft and several partners. “The neighborhood we're in seems to attract a lot of artists,” says Maida. “Philly is full of people doing cool things with their time . . . [and] they make great neighbors and bar friends!”

Maida is in charge of “the fun and frivolous stuff” at the Taproom. The bar hosts a range of art and music events outside in the summer. “It’s a good way to build community and get people excited about the neighborhood,” she says, explaining why she decided to organize the Market.

The fair, which will take place in the bar’s side lot and on the sidewalks around the corner of Memphis and Cumberland streets, will feature over 50 vendors, selling jewelry, original art and photography, sculpture, plushy things, books, bags, and all sorts of other handmade and artsy stuff. Several of the artists have been featured in the Taproom’s monthly “Art on the Walls” series. One such artist, Fishtown local Margaux Kent, has been gathering local and national praise for her unique jewelry and handmade journals.

necklaceKent embodies the self-made artistic spirit of her neighborhood. Her company, Black Spot Books,  has been the  featured seller on the popular Etsy craft website and she was the subject of a bookmaking documentary on the site’s influential blog, The Storque. “Walter and I [Kent’s husband is also a talented visual artist] love that as artists we feel part of a community. There’s so many artists and people who make cool things in Fishtown and Philly.”

Kent has kept a journal of sketches, musings, and pastings from her life since she was a young girl and for many years despaired of finding the perfect book in which to record her thoughts and art. “I found the perfect on in Italy,” she recalls. “When it fell apart I made one for myself. Then I made one for my friend Jared, and soon I was making more of them than I could possibly use.” Her real artistic breakthrough as she decided what to do with the little scraps of leather and paper that are the inevitable effluvia of a bookbinding enterprise.  Her solution —tiny one-inch tall books set on silver or copper chains— have made Black Spot Books a star of craft fairs and boutique stores across the country.

Kent will be selling her books, jewelry, and photography at the Handmade Market at the Memphis Taproom. She is just one of the many talented artists who will be setting up shop. “Events like this are what makes Fishtown and Philadelphia such a great place,” she says.

Maida agrees:  “This is the kind of event I'd like to attend on a summer weekend . . . and to be able to have a beer in the same place is even better!”


Handmade Market at Memphis Taproom

Saturday, July 25th, 10am to 3pm

2331 E. Cumberland Street, Philly
(Corner of Memphis + Cumberland)

Margaux Kent
www. theblackspotbooks.etsy.com