The Austin Chronicle

Water This Cottage Industry

Shopping at Handmade Austin Women's spring show is a good way to keep our cool local craft scene blooming

By Rachel Koper, May 4, 2007, Arts

Care for a garden stroll? Try a visit to the elegant grounds of Ginko Studios this weekend for the second annual Handmade Austin Women Spring Sale. The collective accurately describes the show this way: "Our yearly market gives direct access to works usually found as a picture in a magazine, on display in the gallery, or in choice boutiques. Handmade Austin Women believe in the profound benefits of keeping women sustained at work at home here in Austin. We support cottage industry and the growing character of local economy." The farmers' market model applies here, but in this case, the products aren't locally grown fruits and veggies but locally created dishes, clothing, and accessories.

Chia Guillory has a line of floppy summer hats for sun protection. These comfy modern hats are reversible with a subdued side and a bright pattern. The clever craftsmanship of these pieces is superb, at once durable, practical, and easy on the eyes. Jenifer Nakatsu Arnston works two colors of vinyl into an amazing array of purses and bags. Choose the size you like, and the styles vary from groovy orange and green combos to punkish with cute skulls to – my favorite – cherry blossoms. Stephanie Lindsey of Baby Jane uses a classical, almost Grecian style to make superclean chunky silver pieces. The quality of her metal work and design take these 1940s postcards and resin pieces past kitsch and into the realm of longtime keepsake. Jaime Jo Fisher uses silver and stones to create asymmetrical necklaces. If the collarbone is the azimuth of a landscape composition, then these little bundles of silver could be a bush, a flat stone could be a pond, and the chains an arbor reaching skyward in an elegant garden. These necklaces are boldly balanced and one of a kind.

Ginko Studios has been a favorite destination for those who discovered it during one of the East Austin Studio Tour weekends. Studio resident ceramic artists Melanie Schopper and Sunyong Chung will host and show off the site's new building. There is a tasteful mix of products here. Even though there are three ceramic artists, their goals vary widely, with Bonnie Lynch's raku vessels being very primitive and earthy, Schopper's brightly colored cup sets being pure pop, and Chung's porcelain surfaces serving up something refined. Go on over and see what these ladies have made at home. It's impressive, and you can contribute to what is hopefully a growing cottage industry. end story

The second annual Handmade Austin Women Spring Sale will take place Saturday-Sunday, May 5-6, 10am-6pm, at Ginko Studios, 800 Gullett. For more info, call 389-1920 or visit

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