Monday, January 7, 2013

Places to Go: Celebrating 130 Years of Craft at the Women’s Industrial Exchange

It's easy to find handcrafted goods this time of the year. There are craft shows every weekend. But if it's the middle of the week, or maybe January or June, or you just want to see some new artists, the Woman's Industrial Exchange Gift Shop at 333 North Charles Street in Baltimore  is the place to go. 
For 130 years, the Woman's Industrial Exchange has been supporting the handmade movement. Its original mission was to provide an outlet for women to supplement their income by selling their handcrafted goods. The Exchange now provides both men and women crafters with both a place to sell their products and a place to learn new skills to enhance their businesses. This video, which appeared on a local TV channel in celebration of the 130th Anniversary, tells some of the story.             

There’s a lot to choose from at the gift shop. Just a few examples: There is jewelry made from buttons from Treena Moore (who also manages the shop); bags of all kinds made from rescued fabric from Phyllis Smith; plates, business card holders, mugs and more from Elizabeth Langsfeld. There are toddler and baby items and all sorts of toys. There are the wonderful hand-painted silk scarves of Susan Brandt. And Wood Art for Living just started showing their clocks, bowls and kitchen utensils at the shop.
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In addition to the wide array of crafts, the Woman’s Industrial Exchange building houses two restaurants. The Women’s Industrial Kitchen reopened last year with a seasonal menu that features many old-time favorites. The restaurant is open for lunch from 11-3. Jack and Zach’s, a restaurant that features organic and local food is open from 7:30 to 4 on weekdays and from 10-4 on Sunday.
The Women’s Industrial Exchange Gift Shop is open Monday from 11-4, Tuesday-Friday from 11-6 and Saturday 11-5.
Come in and find that unique gift you’re looking for or treat yourself to something special, knowing that your purchase helps support local craft.
written by Marcia Dresner of Wood Art for Living

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