One of the advantages of buying produce at a farmers’ market is the opportunity to speak directly with the person who grew those ears of corn you’re taking home. You can ask them how to store it or for unique ways to serve the corn at your cookout.
On the third Saturday of the month at the Batavia Farmers’ Market, shoppers also can chat with over 20 artisans who bring their homemade soaps, jewelry, candles, ceramics, hand carved wood and other eclectic pieces to the market as part of the Artisan Collective.
Since 2012, the Artisan Collective has provided downtown Batavia with pop-up market experiences featuring local artisans mainly from Batavia and the Fox Valley area while supporting downtown businesses.
The volunteer-run organization is under the umbrella of Batavia Main Street, a national organization with chapters in different cities dedicated to revitalizing a community’s downtown area. When the Artisan Collective began showcasing at the Batavia Farmers’ Market in 2015, the goal was to increase exposure for the group as well as the local artists themselves.
“Just like it feels awesome to buy veggies directly from the grower, you get a story to go with the bar of soap you buy,” says Brea Hayes, Artisan Collective co-chair. “We try to make sure the vendors offer an eclectic collection and meet a variety of interests.”
Some artisans, like Annie Scholl, Artisan Collective co-chair, have gone on to open their storefront or to sell their products at other stores in downtown Batavia. Scholl, who used to sell vintage items, decided to include her homemade wedding candle favors at her first Artisan Collective pop up. It proved to be a success as Scholl sold every candle favor. The experience prompted her to begin making her own products for sale.
Today, Scholl is in the process of opening a new studio space for workshops taught by other artisans and a general store to sell candles, both in Batavia. Her husband, Andy Kenney, a volunteer designer for Artisan Collective, also makes Batavia-themed souvenirs from hats to pins.
As the vendors see their artistic dreams take off, the Artisan Collective is working on attaining its own dreams by rebuilding its brand. Recently the group created a new logo and tagline “Shop local art” that’s used in signage at the market. The group also is launching a new website to offer more information about the organization, feature artisans, and create an easier process to apply as a vendor.
“Artisan Collective is a gem not everyone knows is out there,” Scholl explains. “We want to keep the pop ups affordable and give artists starting out a chance to see what’s working and what needs improvement without making a huge financial commitment.”
Check out the Artisan Collective vendors from 8 a.m. to noon on the third Saturday of the month, Aug. 17; Sept. 21; and Oct 19, at the Batavia Farmers’ Market on north River Street. The Artisan Collective also does other pop-ups throughout the year, including the Winterfest Art Market in Batavia.
For more information or to sign up as a vendor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check them out on Facebook.