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ISSUE 119 VOL 6 PUBLISHED 10/28/2005

Artisans' bazaar displays crafts

By Lauren Radomski
Variety Editor

Friday, October 28, 2005

St. Olaf students, staff and faculty members displayed their wares Tuesday at the Ole Artisans Bazaar.

Vendors gathered in the Crossroads area of Buntrock Commons, filling about 30 tables with a variety of arts and crafts. Although they paid $15 for a spot at the bazaar, vendors kept all of the day's profits.

Barb Schmidt, administrative assistant to the Dean of Students and one of the bazaar's organizers, described the event as a community builder.

"One of the nice things about [the bazaar] is that it brings the community together," she said. People enjoy just coming out and seeing what's here.

Schmidt noted a rise from last year in the number of students involved the bazaar.

For many of the student vendors, the idea of selling their art came after years of creating it for fun. Julie Boehmar '08 and Rachel Carlin '08 used a buttonmaker to customize buttons for friends before deciding to sell them at the bazaar.

At 50 cents apiece, the buttons feature pictures of characters from popular television shows such as "Saved By the Bell" and "Family Guy," along with phrases such as "Vote for Pedro" and "I love nerds."

Some of the crafts at the bazaar had international origins. Grace Munyakazi-Umutoni '06 and Andre Conner '06 sold paintings, carvings, baskets, bags and necklaces sent from Rwanda by Munyakazi-Umutoni's mother.

Munyakazi-Umutoni appreciated both the diversity and the affordability of the bazaar.

"People can come and see a variety of things [at reasonable prices,]" she said.

One of the more unusual displays at the bazaar belonged to Phong Nguyen '07, who raises beta fish in the basement of his Northfield home. Nguyen is currently breeding about 800 fish, many of which he will eventually sell to Aquatic Pets, a local pet store.

At the bazaar, Nguyen lined his table with fishbowls featuring betas of varying colors and breeds. The fish ranged in price from $4 to $20, depending on how difficult they were to breed.

In addition to vendors from the immediate St. Olaf community, the bazaar included at least one alumnus. Heather Lawrenz fashions sterling silver earrings, necklaces and bracelets through her small business, Lawrenz Jewelry.

Lawrenz, who majored in art and biology, said she sees her jewelry making as a way for me to do my art, which she called "wearable art."

"This is my creative outlet," Lawrenz said.

Tuesday's bazaar marked the sixth anniversary of the event. According to Schmidt, it was initially organized through a campus entrepreneurial program. When the program stopped its sponsorship, the bazaar continued due to popular demand.

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