On Sunday, in search of ideas for our gift guide, The Alt visited the Half Moon Market’s Center Square Mini Market at Downtube Bicycle Works and 3Fish Coffee on Madison Avenue in Albany, where about a dozen vendors offered an array of ceramics, jewelry, and other handmade wares.
“I love to talk to people and tell them the real story about soap,” said Mark Harrison, owner of Black Kettle Soap Company, one of the vendors. Asked about popular items this year, Harrison held up a small, disc-shaped “shower bomb.” (Place one in the shower, away from the water stream, and enjoy the aromatherapeutic fizz.) Fort Orange General Store on Broadway has already sold out of the latest shipment, Harrison said.
Sarah Pratt, of design studio Pratt + Hebert, said her porcelain tablewares detailed with mushrooms have sold particularly well lately. “People, I think, are becoming really interested in going out and hunting for mushrooms,” she said. The ceramics for sale at the mini-market sat atop a table built by her partner, Curt Hebert. Both kinds of items are available at the West Elm on Western Ave.
Pratt sells her ceramics—which feature original illustrations—wholesale and at markets, though she is moving more toward a direct-to-consumer model and will soon be selling products via the studio’s website. Stores and other potential customers often contact her through Instagram.
Yiyi Mendoza, a local ceramicist who has participated in past Half Moon Markets, told The Alt that her smaller, less expensive items—4” x 4” cylindrical plant pots ($38), hand-shaped dishes ($45), and plant-holding “wall altars” ($36)—tend to do better at these kinds of pop-ups.
“It’s harder to drop a hundred bucks on a piece when you’re at a craft market,” said Mendoza. “Most people aren’t like, ‘Alright, yeah, I’ll buy this $150 piece right now!’”
Designer and illustrator Caroline Corrigan, who co-founded the Half Moon Market with Adelia Sugarman of Owlkill Studio in 2015, admitted she has purchased Mendoza’s items for prospective gifts, only to end up keeping them for herself. “I, like, collect her work,” she laughed.
Albany “doesn’t really get the credit it deserves for how many interesting people live here,” Corrigan told The Alt, speaking of how the Half Moon Market came to fruition, inspired in part by the Brooklyn-based Renegade Craft Fair and, more locally, the Hudson River Exchange. “Troy gets a lot of the attention—as it should,” Corrigan added, but the market’s founders felt the state capital deserved a makers market of its own.
The Half Moon Market’s pop-ups are finished for the month, but don’t despair. We have compiled a not-comprehensive-but-not-small list of brick and mortar stores and workshops for your solstice shopping needs. We’ve included markets and events in the Capital Region’s four major cities—but also a few places in Hudson, Catskill, and Germantown, to keep things interesting.
Here are a few holiday market/workshop/shopping options
Fort Orange Holiday Market
The Arcade Building & Fort Orange General Store
488 & 412 Broadway, Albany
Dec. 15 & 22, 4PM
Blurb: “The market will feature 20 vendors (rotating each week) selling locally made and sourced goods, live entertainment, art exhibits, restaurant promotions, and drop-in workshops at the Fort Orange General Store.”
Screen Print Your Own Holiday Cards Workshop
Fort Orange General Store
412 Broadway, Albany
Dec. 15, 4PM
Blurb: “Join Krissy of Breakout Press Co to learn how to screen print your own set of holiday greeting cards.”
Craft + Draft
Nine Pin Cider
929 Broadway, Albany
Dec. 20, 5PM
Blurb: “In this festive, laid back workshop you’ll create a one of a kind candle to keep for yourself or give as the perfect handmade gift.”
Holiday Shopping Extravaganza
The Desmond Hotel
660 Albany Shaker Road, Albany
Dec. 17, 10AM
Blurb: “18 LuLaRoe Retailers plus Beachbody, 31 Gifts, Origami Owl, LipSense, Premier Design, Scentsy, Rodan + Fields” and more.
The Shop at the Arts Center
The Arts Center of the Capital Region
265 River St., Troy
Tues-Fri: 11AM-4PM; Sat: 11AM-3PM
Blurb: “Every year The Arts Center hosts a seasonal shop featuring some of the region’s finest arts and crafts. Come support the Capital Region’s artists.”
Flower Scout Studio
137 Second St., Troy
Fri-Sat: 12PM-7PM; Sun: 11AM-4PM
Blurb: “A solstice-season shop, filled with local handmade gifts for you and whomever you love.”
Holiday Sip + Shop
Superior Merchandise Co.
147 Fourth St., Troy
Dec. 14 at 6PM: Suarez Family and Objects ‘n the Round
Dec. 20 at 5PM: Yesfolk Tonics and Yiyi Mendoza Ceramics
Blurb: “Throughout the month of December we’re partnering with some of favorite regional coffee roasters, brewers, artists and makers to offer free tastings and fun Pop-Ups to help make your holiday shopping season more enjoyable.”
First Annual Pint-Sized Holiday Blind Bottle Share
489 Broadway, Saratoga Springs
Dec. 16, 12PM
Blurb: “You bring a wrapped bottle (specialty bottle with a value of at least $8 or so) and swap with one of the exchanged bottles and discover the mystery of what someone else placed under the tree for ya.”
Mini City Holiday Market
35 Maple Ave, Saratoga Springs
Dec. 14, 6PM
Blurb: “This unique shopping event will feature local pop up shops with hand selected items perfect for everyone on your list.”
Saratoga Farmers’ Market
Lincoln Baths, Saratoga Spa State Park
Dec. 16 & 23, 9AM
Blurb: “Featuring local artisans & specialty foods.”
Holiday Makers Market
63 Putnam St., Saratoga Springs
Dec. 17, 12:30PM
Blurb: “Vendors include kids clothing and accessories, holiday decor, skincare, jewelry and many more! Bloody Marys, Bellinis and Mimosas will be on special at the bar and of course Shirley Temples for the kids.”
The Great Flats Holiday Market
151 Lafayette St., Schenectady
Dec. 17, 12PM
Blurb: Vendors include Caroline Corrigan Studio, The Grey Birch, Alexandra’s Kitchen, Electric City Roasters, and The Lab Creative.
Shop ‘Til You Drop Gift Show
Viaport Rotterdam Mall
93 W Campbell Road, Schenectady
Blurb: “This event showcases products like Handmade soaps, lotions and oils, wooden utensils, wooden pens, baby clothes, american doll clothes, fine art, cat and dog toys, dog coats, photography, note cards, ceramics and more.”
Hudson and beyond
Good Fight Herb Co.
253 ½ Warren St., Hudson
Wed. through Monday, 12-6PM
Blurb: Workshops, events, herb school, & more
722 Warren St., Hudson
10AM to 6PM
Blurb: Flowerkraut “specializes in custom floral design, with a side order of hand-picked gift items and of course, the full range of Sauerkraut Seth’s lacto-fermented vegetables.”
Hudson River Exchange Holiday Pop Up
514 Warren St., Hudson
Through Dec. 23, 12PM to 5PM
Blurb: 15 regional makers + collectors
421 Warren Street, Hudson
Wed. through Monday, 11AM – 7PM
Blurb: “In addition to our textiles, we carry ceramics, books, jewelry, paper goods, apothecary, and artisan made goods from Mexico and Guatemala.”
WHATS UP Catskill
Objects n’ the Round
460 Main St., Catskill
Dec. 16, 12PM
Blurb: “The village of Catskill will be buzzing with activities as shops will be open late, activities and music all along the street.”