REVIEW: Tiny Expo: Indie Holiday Art and Craft Fair

The Tiny Expo was not so tiny at all – it was great. The tables of artists and crafters were enough to keep an expo-goer busy for more than an hour, if you were lucky enough to get to every one because of the crowds. It is fulfilling to see community come together, and it is even better when it is for the sake of art.

Every table at the expo offered different work, such as toys, handmade jewelry, candles, origami, pins, zines, homegoods, pottery, prints, wellness products, bags and wallets, comics, crocheted accessories, and photography. While the jewelry tables were the most common at the expo, each brand still held its own unique style, whether that was being molded out of clay into miniature food pieces or being made of bicycle tires’ rubber. The expo had no shortage of creativity and energy, between the beautiful art and the lively artists who were eager to chat with everyone. One of my favorite artists I encountered was David Zinn, a street artist who does his vibrant, imaginative work primarily around Ann Arbor. (And he is a UMich alum… coooool!!!) Another was AlmaPottery, whose stunning metallic pottery pieces I stared at long enough to make up for not being able to buy one.

There was also the fun crafting going on in the “Secret Lab” basement of the library, which appealed more directly to children but was still worth taking a look at. With holiday-themed paper crafts, letter presses, pom-pom making, and screen printing, it was a good interactive addition to the expo. I think it has potential to be expanded on, maybe with more craft options or even workshops from the artists that would appeal to all ages.

A robust crowd attended the expo: plenty of children, drawn in by activities in the Secret Lab, and lots of adults, who support the community and its art. The only disappointment I felt about this crowd was the prominent absence of young adults. I did not notice many people who may have fallen between the ages of sixteen to thirty. For an event that is so welcoming to guests and vendors alike (the library gives the artists their tables free of charge, simply encouraging local art, as to most other expos/markets/festivals/fairs that charge for a space), I would have hoped to see more young adults interested in the expo. We are the ones fueling upcoming years of such expos and art in general. Art starts locally. There was beautiful work at the expo, work that I know many of my friends and other students would have appreciated. Hopefully in upcoming years it will be better publicized to pull in more college-aged people.

The Expo was an enjoyable afternoon that gave people the chance to see collection of varied, skillful, and inspiring work, done mostly by native Michiganders. The exposure given to these artists through Tiny Expo and the Winter Art Tour is an awesome opportunity, one that will hopefully gain a larger following in future years. 

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Mary O'Byrne

A sophomore Screen Arts & Cultures major, Mary loves ice cream, her light up sneakers, and her friends. Oh, and ice cream.

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