Handmade Arcade (HA), founded in 2004, is Pittsburgh’s first and largest independent craft fair. Now in its 12th year, HA brings innovative crafters and progressive do-it-yourself designers to sell, their handmade, locally produced and offbeat wares at a bustling marketplace. HA is highly anticipated event that attracts more than 9,000 attendees in one day, providing craftspeople and artists working outside mainstream fine arts sectors with a grassroots, high-visibility venue to sell wares, build community, network and share their artistic practice. Handmade Arcade is run by a collective of creative Pittsburghers who have helped to shape and bolster Pittsburgh’s independent craft scene over the past twelve years. The group’s founders — who, along with new volunteers, still run the event today — were inspired to organize a craft fair of Pittsburgh’s own that would tap into a national movement and provide a welcoming venue for artists and shoppers to come together.
At Midwest Craft Con, Handmade Arcade members will be giving a Craft Show Booth Critiques workshop — email Tricia a picture of your booth to be considered for a live critique during the session! We asked founding HA member Al Hoff (bottom left in the photo above) a few questions:
Why do you do what you do?
Honestly, I watch a lot of bad TV and I like to also DO something while I’m destroying my mind. So, I do little self-amusing crafty things.
What’s your earliest crafty memory?
Free-form, free-range childhood in late 1960s, early 1970s San Francisco. We did a lot of whatever, hippie-dippie stuff — finger-painting, nailing things to boards, gluing macaroni on paper, god’s eyes, sand candles, decoupaged bottles and cans, and turning six-pack rings into Christmas wreaths.
What crafty personality would you most like to get a drink with?
Martha Stewart, just to see whether or not she’d pick up the tab.
What’s your favorite craft/business book?
I’ll have to go way back, and cite random books I had as a kid — books that encouraged kids to do crafts, especially things with ordinary household objects or trash. Turn a toilet-paper roll into a dog! Make a necklace from pull-tabs. Fold paper into a battleship. I didn’t do any of those things so much as I enjoyed seeing all the potential.
What are your goals for 2016?
I’m getting organized. No, really — this is the year.