The first things I heard when I walked into the An Eclectic (Af)fair craft market held in Goodrich Hall on Saturday afternoon were the sounds of soft singing, a strumming guitar and casual conversation. Students stood behind tables displaying their work while people, students and parents alike, visited each stall.
The fair seemed relaxed and open, two characteristics that Claire Seizovic ’13, who organized the event, had hoped it would achieve. “There’s so much fine art and museum events [that are] more serious and I would say less accessible,” Seizovic said. “People can feel intimidated when they don’t know that much about art. The fair was a low-key way to support your friends and see what the more casual art scene is like.”
Some of the vendors sold crafts to fundraise for programs they care about, like Sarah Lyon ’13 and Jackline Odhiambo ’14. I was drawn to Lyon’s table, which displayed items ranging from jewelry to gloves that were made by local craftspeople in Peru. “I’m selling crafts from Peru and Ecuador to support a theater program in a barrio in Guayaquil, Ecuador, that I’ve been working with,” she explained.
Lyon began working with this community in her sophomore year of high school and has continued traveling there throughout her time at the College. “Last summer, I was there working with a tutoring program, and it ran a miniature version of a theater program called Destination Imagination,” she said. “And after I graduate this year I’m going to be returning to the community center for two years to help establish a permanent chapter of Destination Imagination with the students there. They really enjoyed it, and they want to continue with it. So I’m helping to raise money for this program.”
Odhiambo’s Kenyan jewelry, made by the women in her own community, is being sold to fundraise for a school in her community, specifically for a program to train the teachers working at the school. “Part of the reason why I’m doing this is that I want this school in my community to be a starting point, to challenge kids to really make out their own ideas for themselves from what they’re learning,” she said.
Odhiambo’s inspiration for this project? The College itself. “It was all based on my learning and my experience from my classes. I think it’s important, and I want [these children] to experience it also,” she said.
At other tables, students presented their own creations, such as the handknit hats that Heath Goldman ’13 makes. “I’ve been knitting hats since sophomore year of high school,” she said. “It’s awesome, because it takes me about three hours to knit a hat, but because I’ve done it so much, I don’t have to look at my hands until the end, so I can watch TV and talk to friends or watch movies. Or after dinner when everyone’s hanging around in the dining hall, I’ll pull out my knitting,” she laughed.
As a duo on stage began to sing “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones, I gravitated toward the table where Claire Rudolph ’14 stood, which showcased an abundance of cookies and sweet toppings. Rudolph introduced herself and shared that her passion is making ice cream. “What I would consider my signature flavor is called ‘A Big Bite of Breakfast,’” she said. Her combination consists of a maple syrup base with brown sugar, caramelized bacon and toasted waffle bits.
Rudolph began making ice cream two summers ago after being inspired by Jeni Briton Bauer, owner of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, and Briton’s cookbook. “I loved her ice cream, so I got her recipe book,” she said. “I spent my whole summer working my way through that book. Then I started to get more comfortable, so now I make my own original flavors.” Rudolph encouraged me to try a flavor, so I decided on the pumpkin spice cream cheese, which turned out to be delicious.
Savoring the ice cream, I wandered over to a booth overflowing with the oil paintings of Daniel Schreiner ’14. “I have some paintings and drawings that I did over the summer,” he explained. “I’ve always made art. It’s what I do, and I’ve been really attracted to paintings, so I started taking classes a long time ago in the summer during high school.”
When I asked him which of his pieces he liked the best, he didn’t hesitate to pull out a painting of a man, done in dark grays and blues. “I love painting the figure especially. I really like this one because I’m really into how you can be expressive with brush strokes, and I kind of intentionally made it very violent,” he said. “I’m into people and faces especially, and how I can evoke something about the person even if I don’t really know them, through paint.”
As a student on stage began to play the cello, I made my way out of Goodrich, squeezing by another wave of visitors, all of whom looked eager to interact with the College’s more casual art scene.