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. 

PREVIEW: Tiny Expo: Indie Holiday Art & Craft Fair

At the downtown Ann Arbor District Library, Tiny Expo will hold their annual fair with 45 vendors of artists and crafters, as well as free opportunities for guests to craft. There will be a variety of vibrant handmade art to see, offering a great opportunity for holiday shoppers and to support local artists (which is awesome!) The fair is a part of the Winter Art Tour, which supports ten art shows in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti during the second weekend in December.

Check out the holiday fair on Saturday, December 9th, at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library, from 11:30am-5:30pm. Coffee from Sweetwaters will be provided, and from 1-4pm, free opportunities for guests to craft will be happening in the library’s Secret Lab.

Preview: Who is Anton Chekhov?


The charismatic Anton Chekhov
The charismatic Anton Chekhov

Next Week, “Uncle Vanya” will be performed under the auspices of UMS  (more on this to come). It is a tricky and complex plot that baffles a lot of people. So getting to know its writer, Anton Chekhov, might help in our comprehension or at least make us accept the difficulty of the plot  for what it is and understand why it was intended thus.

Chekhov, hailed to be among the greatest short-story writers of all time by many,  was a highly cerebral artist who started writing in his spare time while training to be a physician, actually in order to make money. He continued to do so but didn’t pay much attention to writing as an art until Grigorovich, another eminent Russian writer told him that he had true talent. 

Chekhov started to pay more attention to his writing and always tried to experiment and depart from the road well trodden. His stories are tedious and it was Chekhov’s conviction that a true artist raises questions that didn’t exist and it was not his onus to solve those issues. His views in his plays and stories are definitely worth a read.

At the Ann Arbor District Library (Downtown branch) this monday evening, Michael Makin, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Residential College Drama Lecturer Katherine Mendeloff will examine Chekhov’s role in Russian literature and society and as transformer and innovator of Russian drama. There will be a discussion specifically around the play “Uncle Vanya” and parts of it will be acted out by U of M students.

Prof Kate Mendeloff
Prof Kate Mendeloff

When I saw Prof Mendeloff’s name on the program, I knew I had seen it somewhere. I thought hard before I realised that she is the one of the key forces behind the Shakespeare in the Arb series! Every summer, a Shakespearen play is enacted at the Nichol’s arboretum and Kate Mendeloff  directs the plays.

Twelfth Night- Shakespeare at the Arb
Twelfth Night- Shakespeare at the Arb

I remember attending “Twelfth Night” last summer. It suddenly started pouring   and as the  brave actors still got on with the show, she was with them till the end, a bit drenched though. I thought that it was so nice of the director to be through it all. Also, her direction of the plays are awesome too. It will be a treat to listen to her. 

 So, to summarize,

What: Who is Anton Chekhov?

Where: Downtown Library (AADL), Multi-purpose room (visit for directions to the downtown library)

When: Monday, March 22, 2010, 7 pm to 8.30 pm

$$: Admission FREE!

Chekhov is said to have been among the first to use stream-of-consciousness techniques in his works. Interested to know what that is all about? See you at the AADL then !

Yours sincerely,

Krithika, for [art]seen