Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 46
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
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Annual YWCA Crafters’ Marketplace Will Feature 130 Artists and Two Choirs

Linda Arntzenius

One of Princeton’s most popular craft shows returns to the John Witherspoon Middle School on Walnut Lane for the 34th year this weekend on Saturday, November 17, and Sunday, November 18.

The 34th Annual YWCA Crafters’ Marketplace will feature 130 artists and artisans working in metal, fiber, mixed media, glass, soap, wood, paper, and photography, as well as two choral concerts.

Items on sale will include hand-made baskets, wearable art, fashions, tabletop linens, collectable pottery and glass, distinctive jewelry, as well as items specially made for the holiday shopping season.

The juried show not only features crafters from this area, but also from New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.

Participating for the first time, hat-maker Megan Mitchell moved to Princeton from San Francisco less than three months ago. She was working as a sculptor at an art colony in Vermont when the idea of hat-making first occurred to her while making warm hats for friends and family attending her December birthday party. “I got such a kick out of people wearing the hats, and the idea that what I had made was actually keeping their heads warm that I pretty much ditched the sculpting and dove into hat making.”

Ms. Mitchell’s hats are made of fleece, fake fur, and other soft, washable sparkly, and fuzzy materials. Her recent focus is on baby and toddler hats, inspired in part by her eight-month old son. They feature removable (for easy washing) pom poms, tassles, and buttons. She develops her patterns through hand drawings and then through a computer-aided design system. Each hand-sewn hat takes between two and three hours to produce. They have been sold in stores and markets in New York City, upstate New York, and San Francisco, with baby hats selling for between $30 and $40, and adult hats from $40 to $80.

From Hats to Hollywood

Returning to the Marketplace after a three year sojourn in California, Jennifer Cura will be selling her one-of-a-kind quilts and teddy bears.“We missed central New Jersey and moved back to Princeton this past summer,” said Ms. Cura, whose daughters Isabella, 11, and Amelia, 8, attend the St Paul’s School and two-year old son Luke is in preschool at Cherry Hill Nursery School. Ms. Cura, who grew up in upstate NY and started sewing in high school, has been a crafter for over two decades.

“The idea for The Patchwork Bear was born out of a desire to stay home with my daughters,” said Ms. Cura, who was working as an architect when her home business took off. “I began sewing quilts and matching bears for friends who had babies and eventually, my name was passed around and soon I was busy selling custom quilts, blankets, and bears.”

Since then, Ms. Cura’s line has expanded to include tooth fairy pillows, reminder towels, memory quilts, custom baby clothes quilts, and wedding dress quilts. She sells online and through select retail shops in Los Angeles such as Bel Bambini & Petit Tresor, both of which cater to celebrity clientele, her products having been featured in gift baskets given to the likes of Angelina Jolie, Gwenyth Paltrow, Angela Bassett, Heidi Klum, and Brooke Shields.

Ms. Cura has found a novel niche market in custom baby clothes quilts and wedding dress quilts. “As a mom, I love any kind of sentimental keepsake for my kids,” she explained. “I use favorite outgrown baby clothes, blankets, wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses to make each handmade quilt to order.”

Ms. Cura will be returning to the west coast to take part in a special gifting suite dedicated to celebrity babies next January in Hollywood as part of the 2008 Golden Globe Awards celebration. “Local craft shows are a fun way for me to get feedback on my latest designs,” she said.

At the YWCA Crafters’ Marketplace, Ms. Cura will have items for sale range from $15 to $75. She will also take orders for heirloom quilts and bears, range from $50 to $275.

Her work can be seen on her Web site:

Clay to Table

Ten years ago, painter, illustrator, and graphic designer Gloria Singer of East Brunswick turned to creating ceramics, which soon became her passion. “Clay is an extension of myself,” she reports on her Web site. “I am constantly juggling control and spontaneity, looking to find my own voice in clay. My pottery when it is successful demands to be held. It is a thrill to watch someone hold my pot as if it is a thing of beauty, a cherished object.”

According to Ms. Singer, whose work is wheel thrown and then altered, glazing is the most interesting part of the entire process.

Other local crafters include fiber artist Jeap Imbrie, who hand-crafts silk home accessories and jewelry; scarf-maker Marilyn Antonakos; jeweler Toren Tribuzio; clothing designer Adria Sherman of Princeton Junction, and East Windsor jeweler Hilary Greif.

Choral Concerts

The Princeton Girlchoir will kick-off the event with a performance on Saturday at 2 p.m. Founded in 1989, the Girlchoir gives two major concerts a year at Richardson Auditorium in Princeton.

The American Boychoir Alumni Chorus will close the show on Sunday at 3 p.m. The Alumni Chorus features more than 40 men from all over the United States and is under the direction of Music Director Emeritus James Litton. Both performances will be held in the auditorium of the John Witherspoon Middle School and are included in the price of admission.

The annual event benefits the Pearl Bates Scholarship Fund at the Princeton YWCA on Paul Robeson Place. The scholarship provides financial assistance for economically disadvantaged community members to participate in YWCA Princeton programs.

In 2006, over 2000 people attended the event, which raised $54,000 for the scholarship fund.

Admission is $6 per day for adults (or a two-day pass can be had for $10) and $5 for seniors and children 16 and under. Anyone under six is free. Strollers will not be allowed, by order of the local fire marshal.

For more information, visit

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