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Not your average craft market

Made by Hand features select artists from the Northeast

Alana Sparrow, founding principal of The Foundry in Cohoes, stands in her gallery in front of a piece created by artist David Grainger.

Alana Sparrow, founding principal of The Foundry in Cohoes, stands in her gallery in front of a piece created by artist David Grainger. Photo by Billy DeLap.

Many people are familiar with craft fairs, but a local business is holding an invitation-only craft market to ensure the quality of the products for sale.

The Foundry in Cohoes is holding its second annual Made by Hand Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“All of the work needs to be original and very high quality,” said Alana Sparrow, principal founder of The Foundry. “I hand-selected works that fall into ceramics, jewelry, clothing and textiles, and soaps and that sort of thing.”

There will be 15 different designers from the Capital Region and as far away as Boston. Last year’s inaugural event brought in approximately 700 people and made just under $13,000 in six hours, which Sparrow hopes to top this year.

Sparrow, who had promoted all over for the show, said she was getting calls from people wanting to participate in this year’s event.

“It’s getting to a point now where calls have finally stopped,” said Sparrow. “I had about a one-month clip where literally every single day, either via email or phone, I was getting calls from artists wanting to be in the show. “

Due to the exclusive nature of the show, Sparrow said more artists will want to participate, ensuring the quality of those selected will be of the highest level.

“Being a part of a high quality show, they know that there are going to be people there who are buyers. That’s the thing; it’s not just people coming to look. These are people who came to buy,” said Sparrow.

Sparrow and her husband, Jesse Matulis, created The Foundry for Art Design + Culture, LLC in 2007. They bought the building at 119 Remsen St. in 2005 and opened the gallery in 2011.

The Foundry helps local artists connect to businesses and does consulting work with businesses in the area. They also hold classes and workshops for artists.

“It’s all about helping artists make and generate income,” said Sparrow. “That’s really at the core of what we do.”

With the success of the initial show, Sparrow — who said she is expecting big things this year — is toying with the idea of expanding it next year.

“If we’re jammed and we get at least what we got last year, I’ll keep it the same size. If we’re slammed and everyone is sold out by three o’clock, I might have to reevaluate,” said Sparrow.

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