Friday, December 10, 2010

Double Date: Get Crafty

Kathleen Dustin’s work is on sale at the Craftboston holiday event. 

Stock up on holiday gifts at a sale of local artwork, then take a break with some artisanal brew


Remember way back before mass-consumer culture became the norm? I don’t. But I’m told it’s a period of human history that existed. Back then, actual people made actual things by hand, and by necessity these items brought with them a personalized sense of love and hard work. That’s an idea that the boom in hand-crafted products over the past few years has hoped to reintroduce to our consuming habits. If you remember those days and yearn for them (or if you don’t, but just like cool stuff) one good place to start might be the Craftboston Holiday event this weekend.

Beth Ann Gerstein of the Society of Arts and Crafts, the group behind New England’s largest exhibition and sale of craft items, says the demand for handmade goods is still on the rise. “I think as the community continues to grow, people continue to be interested in handmade items,’’ she says. Among those for sale this weekend are ceramics, furniture, clothing, jewelry, glasswork, and artworks in all media, to name just a few. “I think the show is a good place to come to see a wide range from functional to sculptural, to narrative and humorous crafts.’’

More than 90 artists and artisans will come from all over the country, but there is a strong representation of those from the New England area. Even better, many of their works won’t break the bank. While some range up into the thousands of dollars, others might go for as low as $10. Anyone with items under $100 for sale will have tags next to their work that make it easy to identify as you’re walking through the aisles. Mass-produced goods elsewhere are almost always going to be cheaper, but at what cost?

Craftboston Holiday runs through Sunday. $15 for a three-day pass. Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St., Boston.

Macrobrews tend to be cheaper than their smaller counterparts as well, but in that case you’re losing a lot in terms of taste and complexity that you’re making up for in price. At nearby Coda in the South End, most of their draft beers aren’t even that much more to begin with, averaging about $5.50.

Michael Moxley, one of the co-owners of the bar (as well as the Common Ground in Allston and the new Canary Square in Jamaica Plain) says having a broad selection of craft beers is pretty much the standard now. Nonetheless, there aren’t many beer bars in the South End. Coda comes the closest with local bottled and draft beers like Pretty Things and Haverhill Brewing Co., and other craft beers like Lagunitas, Green Flash, and Abita.

“It’s expected in most places,’’ Moxley says. “People crave craft beer, and like the diversity now. A lot of these [brewing companies] are really grass-roots kind of stuff, and I respect that.’’

Coda, 329 Columbus Ave., Boston. 617-536-2632.

Boston Globe

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