Notes on the Hudson River Exchange

by Nina Myers McCammon

Becky and I had such a fantastic time at the Hudson River Exchange (HRE) on Sunday! As we strolled the aisles under large white tents set up on the park's waterfront, we were struck by how well-organized and well-curated everything was—and totally unpretentious. The pace was slow and the conversations were easy.

I left with not only a handful of lovely goods (shown at the top: a triangular leather keychain from Owl Kill Studio, two hand-glazed stoneware bowls from Tivoli Tile Works, and a poster with fantastic typography from HRE's very own Kate Sterlin) but also with loads of unique and inspiring stories: Lisa Heimerle of Cordwood Handmade just taught herself how to sew a couple of years ago and her collection of waxed canvas aprons and bags has already earned her a 2014 Martha Stewart American Made Awards Crafts nomination. Adelia Mae of Owl Kill Studio works with her mother to find mostly locally sourced, vintage, or discarded materials to create small-batch wares, like her gorgeous cutting boards, which are made from recycled school desks.

I also came away with a real appreciation for a handful of well-represented NY towns like Troy (Troy Cloth & Paper), Chatham (Raven & Boar; Lady Jayne's Alchemy; Grant House Press), Albany (Fort Orange General Store; Ex Libris Handmade), Copake (Petit Felts), and Kingston (Wishbone Letterpress). Meeting with those guys inspired me to want to get "upstate" and explore more often. There's so much growth and creativity happening north of NYC right now, which is why that tote at the top designed by Hello Pretty City for Fort Orange General Store resonated with many fair-goers. Oh, and speaking of going north, Becky and I had a great conversation over lunch-truck farm salads, mac and cheese, and limeade (the HRE drink of choice!) from Black-Eyed Suzie's with the ladies of And North who are launching their new site (a curated guide to life north of NYC) in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for a feature.

Post to follow tomorrow with lots of tips and advice from HRE show co-founder Stella Yoon that you won't want to miss if you're an entrepreneur looking to sell your wares at a craft fair or you're considering launching a fair in your own town or city in the near future. Have a great afternoon, guys!