Driving rain drove the Marine Park Alliance (MPA) Arts & Crafts Showcase indoors this year, but many stalwart local artisans eager to put their skilled craftmanship on display still managed to fill the Carmine Carro Community Center at 3000 Fillmore Avenue on Saturday, May 20th.
The showcase, in its tenth year, had artistic paintings, sketches and photography that filled some of the tables, while others had handcrafted soaps, penny art, customized coasters, keychains, assorted tchotchkes and more.
Bob Kaplan, who teaches woodworking and woodturning classes at the Carro Center twice a week, has been practicing his craft for about 40 years. “I always liked working with tools and woodturning is like more advanced woodworking,” he said of the method that requires a spinning lathe.
Kaplan tipped off Midwood resident and fellow woodworker Don Quigley who was showing his artistic woodwork carved out of basswood grown from linden trees plentiful in the Northeast and cottonwood bark from Montana.
Quigley drove his friend, Ditmas Park resident Laurie Sapp, to the event where she set up her table next to his to display her baby crochet outfits and caps; at $5, her hand-crocheted hats were a bargain.
There were deals to be had at the jewelry tables too where some handcrafted pieces made by Gladys Pagan could be had for as little as $5 and where Colette Rottenstreich displayed her beautiful, handcrafted jewelry made of genuine amethyst, sterling silver, pearls, leather and genuine stones she picked up while hiking across the country. Both are members of the Active Adults Senior Program at the Carro Center.
“Everything is my creation,” Rottenstreich said of her one-of-a-kind pieces. She had a necklace with intricate metallic Asian characters. Quigley’s table had a similar Asian influence in a wood carving of a Japanese geisha.
“We want to be supporting artisans from different cultures, and we want to support arts and culture here,” MPA board member Margot Perron said of such displays, mentioning that there was Haitian craftwork brought in last summer.
“We are looking to reach out to other ethnicities as the demographics change here, and we want to uplift those who have been underrepresented,” she said.