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Your 2015 Artful Shop-portunities

Can you believe it’s November already? A quick check of upcoming calendar events confirms that holiday-themed artisan & craft market high season rapidly approaches here in the Triangle. Many favorite artisan markets return, while monthly craft markets expand their offerings. I’ve compiled currently available information on the markets in our area and will make updates as new information becomes available (so bookmark this post to check back for those updates).

Ready to get your shop on? Good, because it starts this weekend!

tiny tree in salt shaker

First Stop – Your Local Farmers Market

If you look closely sprinkled among the produce vendors at your local farmers market you will find a craft artist or two selling hand-made items. Many of the area farmers markets host special one-day craft fairs this month and next, during regular market hours (helping shoppers knock out several tasks in one fell swoop). This Saturday (Nov 7) is the Holiday Arts & Craft Fair at Chatham Mills Farmers Market in Pittsboro. Later in November the State Farmers Market in Raleigh holds their three-day Fall Craft Fair November 13 through 15. Wake Forest Farmers Market plans to hold a Holiday Craft Market on December 5th. During December Chapel Hill Farmers Market will host special Holiday Craft Markets over three consecutive Saturdays, beginning December 5th.  On your next visit to your local farmers market, plan to spend a little extra time browsing those non-food vendors. You might find something just perfect.

Carolina Artisan Craft Market – Nov. 6, 5-10 pm, Nov. 7, 10 am-6 pm, Nov. 8, 11 am-5 pm

The long-standing annual market, presented by Carolina Designers Craftsman Guild, features the best of fine craft including pottery, sculpture, wearable and decorative fiber, glass, jewelry, metal work, furniture, leather, photography, printmaking and mixed media (in short, everything!). Though the event has been around for years, they are moving to a new location this year, at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh. While you shop, enjoy live music, artist demonstrations and of course, a fabulous group of fine craft artists all in one place. Ticket prices vary for one-day and weekend passes, so check the event website for more details.

Orange County Artists Guild Open Studio Tour – Nov. 7 & 8, 14 & 15

Now in its 21st year, the annual Orange County Artists Guild Open Tour Studio begins next weekend, inviting the public into artist studios all around Orange County.  With more than 70 participating artists, it would be quite a challenge to fit them all in the one weekend – thank goodness there are two weekends! Download and review the tour brochure to plot your artsy course around Hillsborough, Chapel Hill & Carrboro.

Raleigh Makers Market – Nov. 7 & Dec. 5, 10 am – 2 pm

Earlier this year a new makers market popped up in Raleigh’s Cameron Village, in the breezeway by Benelux Coffee. The juried monthly gathering of local artisans selling their uniquely handcrafted goods paired with talented musicians makes a fine activity for the first Saturday of each month. 

Durham Patchwork Market – Nov. 7, Noon – 4 pm and Dec. 6, Noon – 5 pm

The Durham Patchwork Market allows local makers and vintage vendors the opportunity to sell to their goods to the local community on a monthly basis. The monthly markets are held at Fullsteam Brewery, allowing shoppers to combine another favorite craft (craft beer) with their shopping fun. A special holiday version of Durham Patchwork Market will take place at Durham Armory on Sunday, December 6.

Downtown Cary Food & Flea – Nov. 8 and Dec. 13, Noon to 4 pm

The Downtown Cary Food & Flea in Ashworth Village is a monthly market that combines food trucks and local craft beer with vintage items, art & craft goods, edibles and music. It’s sort of one-stop shopping/dining/entertainment and provides the perfect opportunity to explore downtown Cary.

Pop Up Markets at Sola Coffee Cafe – Second & Fourth Saturdays (9 am – 2 pm)

Perhaps you were aware of North Raleigh’s favorite cafe but didn’t know they host a handful of local craft vendors at their Pop Up Markets. Look for holiday decor and antiques, art and note cards, vintage clothing, handmade jewelry and much more from the juried vendors. I can’t think of a more pleasant way to start a weekend than with a delicious cup of coffee and some hot mini donuts while shopping this special event at Sola. Make sure you fit it in your Saturday agenda once in a while.

Jingle Your Junkin’ Bells with Rusted Roots – Nov. 13 – 15 and Dec. 4 – 6 (various times)

If you don’t live near Hillsborough (like me) but you love to visit (like me) here’s the perfect excuse to make a special day trip to the small town in northern Orange County. Rusted Roots is a vintage and upcycled goods shop in Daniel Boone Village (where you’ll find an abundance of antique shops). A few times a year Rusted Roots has organized seasonal “junk market” events that are so enjoyable to browse. If you think “old stuff” is really the coolest stuff, then you’ve got to go to the holiday junk markets for vintage Christmas items, upcycled rustic and repurposed holiday decor and the hot cocoa bar. Seriously, a hot cocoa bar! How can you pass that up? Make sure you’re following Rusted Roots Instagram for previews of all the things you’ll want to buy.

Durham County Pottery Tour – Nov. 14, 10 am – 5 pm, Nov. 15, 12 pm – 5 pm.

Not to be left out of the studio tour events, Durham County Potters started their own studio tour last year and it’s back this year with 3 new potters and 2 teaching facilities (in case you’d like to explore your hand at pottery. Keep your eye on the event website for updates on the map of studios included in 2015.

The Handmade Market – Nov. 14, 10 am – 5 pm

This is one of my favorite craft fairs. I never walk away empty-handed. Held indoors at Market Hall in City Market, bad weather is never an issue.  Admission to the main event is free but donations can be made via raffle ticket purchase at the door. If you just can’t wait, you can get a sneak preview the evening before (Nov. 13th, 7 – 9 pm) for $5 (cash). Check the Handmade Market’s website for this fall’s participants and start checking off your gift list.

The Bazaar – Nov. 15, 1 – 6 pm

A couple of months ago The Bazaar held its first craft and art market at the Carrboro Town Commons (where one finds the farmers market each Saturday). I, for one, was instantly smitten with the selection of vendors from the Carrboro community, the availability of food trucks and local craft beverages (beer, cider, tea & coffee) I could nosh on while shopping. I’ll definitely be back and my bank account will be poorer, but I’m OK with that.

Pop-Up Sunday Market – Nov. 22, Noon – 5 pm

The Pop-Up Sunday market kicked off its season in Spring and the last market for this year will be Nov. 22nd in the parking lot by Ornamentea on West Street in Raleigh. Check the Pop-Up Sunday website for vendor updates as the event date nears.

Durham Art Walk Holiday Market – Nov. 21 & 22

The two-day semi-annual art walk’s holiday edition really cranks up the season in Durham.  Staged in various venues around downtown, shoppers can stroll from site to site (or catch a free ride on the Bull City Connector) to shop, catch live music performances, and dine in any number of world-class restaurants. Check the Art Walk website to plan your visit.

Craftsgiving at Ornamentea – Nov. 27 – 29

Craftsgiving at Ornamentea is fun for those that like to do the crafting themselves and a perfect family activity for the long post-Thanksgiving weekend. The downtown Raleigh craft Mecca offers several make & take projects that are great for gift giving (or keeping). Find the complete list of classes at their website.

Holiday Handmade Pop Up at Perch Studios – Nov. 28, 9 am to 1 pm

Perch Studios is a co-working space in Carrboro, in the same building as Steel String Brewery and Glasshalful, and this Saturday they’re hosting a special event featuring a diverse range of work by local makers including, terrariums, pottery, jewelry, stationary, artisan foods, scarves, toiletries and clothing. So if you happen to be in Carrboro on a Saturday morning there’s something more to add to your agenda. 

Hops & Shop Market – Nov. 29 & Dec. 20, Noon – 5 pm

I’m beginning to see a trend here, combing craft beer with craft shopping. That’s one of the perks of the Hops & Shop Market in Market Hall at downtown Raleigh’s City Market. Free admission to this seasonal event makes it all the more appealing.

Art Market at Vega Metals (Dec. 5) & Durham Craft Market (Dec. 13) 

Maybe you’ve noticed the Durham Craft Market vendors across the green from Durham Farmers Market or the Art Market at Vega Metals around the corner on Hunt Street (where the food trucks hang). Each is a weekly event and each holds a special holiday event in December. The Durham Craft Market vendors will gather at the Durham Armory on Dec. 13th from Noon to 5 pm, while the Annual Holiday Gift Market at Vega Metals is set for Dec. 5th, 10 am to 1 pm.

ELF Fair at The ArtsCenter – Dec. 5, 11 am – 5 pm

Once again, ELF Fair returns to The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. More than 30 local artists will be present, selling jewelry, pottery, clothing, accessories, candles, toys and lots of unique items for all ages. Plus, a kids’ zone with hands-on art projects to keep the little ones entertained.

Annual Chatham Artists Studio Tour – Dec. 5 & 6, 12 & 13

One of the oldest such tours in the state, Chatham County artists open their studios to the public the first two weekends of December. A map for the self-guided tour of more than forty artist studios is available at the Chatham Artists Guild website, along with information about each artist’s work. Peruse the website thoroughly, then plot your artsy course through the Chatham County countryside.

Saxapahaw Holiday Market – Dec. 5, 8 am – 7 pm & Dec. 6, 12 pm – 5 pm

Described as a “holiday market of old”, a visit to peruse locally produced and handcrafted wares at the two-day market inside the Haw River Ballroom might be in order this weekend. Included in the (free) price of admission are free performances by local musicians. Naturally there’s great food nearby too (maybe an Eggnog Latte from Cup 22 Coffeehouse to get started). 

Boylan Heights ArtWalk – Dec. 6, 12 pm – 5 pm

This popular event held in downtown Raleigh’s Boylan Heights allows us to stroll a historic neighborhood and shop more than 100 artists & craft persons, displaying their wares on porches, in homes & studios. Admission is free to this fun and unique event.


That’s more than enough craftiness to carry us through the year, don’t ya think?  I hope you find yourself at just one of these events, and that you find the perfect hand-crafted treasure from your community.

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