In organizing GSCA’s Craftstravaganza this year, I’ve had the great privilege of meeting a lot of fantastic artists & entrepreneurs. It’s made the hours of emails & hectic days well worth it.
In all this networking, I had the great opportunity to get to know the owner of one of my favorite shops a little better-Kate at The Paper Sparrow in Troy, NY. She’s been super helpful and supportive in our organizing of the event this year & she’s been letting me pick her brain quite a bit. Kate also took the time to sit & chat with me about The Paper Sparrow and the business of handmade.
Kate was inspired to open up her shop in what she calls, “a mix of desperation and wanting to spend all day crafting.” Spending her days working an unsatisfying job, Kate described to me sneaking opportunities to craft at her desk.
Now, she spends her days sewing her gorgeous bags and scarves in the window of her very own shop! If you’re browsing shops down on River Street, you could probably catch her. (That’s the kinda gal I like-flaunt your crafting loud & proud!)
Beginning as a sculptor, Kate found her way to softer mediums and now describes fabric & textile arts as her current favorite forms of artistic expression. She experiments with various mediums and, like myself, considers herself a “dabbler”. When asked about mediums she would like to learn more about, she says metal smithing is next on her list.
Along with her own sewn goods, you can find the handmade goods of artists from all over. There’s gorgeous jewelry, dolls, tees, yarn and lots of other goodies to feast your eyes on!
We also chatted it up about the “politics” of buying handmade. Kate agrees with the importance of encouraging folks to support locally made and socially responsible products. Moreover, she pointed out that with our country’s current economy it will be more important than ever to support aspects of our “smaller and local infrastructure”.
Aside from her fantastic shop, Kate puts her money where her mouth is– she was a major recent contributor in the art auction to help raise money for SUNY Albany Social Work students to return to New Orleans to aide in the ongoing Katrina relief effort.
When asked which artist or handmade good she would like to receive for the holidays as a gift, Kate replied, “There’s just too many!”. Well I agree with Kate on that, but here’s a few of my favorites from her shop..
I keep telling my boyfriend that his street cred would be exponentially increased if he were to wear one.
This is a poor picture, of a beautiful bag. And um…I’ve been really good this year.