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Chit Chatting with Elm City Handmade

I finally found time to visit Elm City Handmade last week, after a friend told me about it opening recently.  I was like a kid in a candy store surrounded by so many beautiful things!  But tell us first, what is Elm City Handmade?

We are a collective of New Haven area ‘makers’ –artists & craftspeople– that are teaching their skills & consigning their wares @ 71 Orange St. in the heart of the Ninth Square in New Haven.

Elm City Handmade started from an Etsy Street Team of artists.  Boy, do I love Etsy!  Tell us a little about, including the street team. is the online storefront for all things handmade. Etsy also allows folk to sell their vintage clothing & objects. Etsy is wonderful because it makes the process so very painless to create your own virtual storefront that is open to a worldwide audience, all day everyday. Street Teams are formed around themes – and ours is to promote local sellers. Etsy is an excellent social network for the crafty among us!

I’ve read that Elm City Handmade is a result of New Haven’s Project Storefronts.  What is Project Storefronts?

Project Storefronts is an incubation location for creative entrepreneurs supported by the New Haven Department of Cultural Affairs, New Haven Department of Economic Development & the property owner, Related Properties. The driving force behind Project Storefronts is to give creative folks an opportunity to launch new businesses that will enliven the neighborhood & contribute to the overall well-being of the city.  A win win win.

You know, I was really impressed with the quality of items I saw at Elm City Handmade.  There are some great items for kiddos like Sweet Emma Jean’s felt shoes and play food patterns.  Tell us about some of the things made especially for kiddos at Elm City Handmade right now.

Well, there’s The Cotton Press that uses organic cotton & soy based inks for their line of kid’s printed tees, onesies & bibs. Our co-director, Eric Iannucci makes Junkbots which are technically sculpture pieces, but older kids will covet them. He’s an arts educator & his students make them, too.

Plus, we currently have Doll Wars going on at the store.  Doll Wars is a competitive crafting challenge where any maker of any age can enter a handmade stuffed creature, preferably made during our open crafting hours on Wednesdays from 7-9 pm and Saturdays from 2-5pm. And get this, the winner will be determined by our Facebook fans.  That is, the Doll with the most comments and likes via Facebook wins!

And I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of in love with the upcycled handbags and clutches made from highway billboards you’re selling at Elm City Handmade.  What other upcycled items are hot at Elm City Handmade right now?

That’s GG2G in our microtique!

Gina Spina’s recycled kimono fabric scarves are also a hit.  There is also lots of gorgeous jewelry made from vintage beads & buttons.  Smart Designing’s book cover purses are clever and one of a kind.  Delight Worthyn’s hats, necklaces & pins are to die for.  And did I mention the VINTAGE CLOTHES?  We were so successful with our Fashion Stroll, we were asked to expand and collaborate with Crosby St. Gallery & Upcycle Arts with several vintage items we have now at Elm City Handmade.  You’ll want to get your hands on one of the vintage hats we have on display.  Beautiful.  It doesn’t stop there, though.  We have a shop full of handmade works by so many more talented artists and craftspeople!

Alrighty.  Give us your top 5 reasons to buy local this holiday season.  Ready?  Go.

  • Lower your carbon footprint without the darn mall madness
  • Wow your loved ones with the thoughtfulness of a handmade treasure
  • Support your neighbor, buy their craft.
  • We’ll teach you how to knit that scarf for next year
  • Who else makes craft a competitive sport?  Lisa will hula hoop with you and you’ll be hooked.  Just you wait and see.

I hope you all get a chance to come on over to Elm City Handmade soon…maybe for some holiday shopping?!  When you do, please say hello – we’re a friendly bunch :)  In the meantime, check us out online, on Facebook and on Yelp!

the essentials:

New Haven, 71 Orange Street

Store Hours: Tuesday thru Saturday 1:00 – 9:00pm, Sunday 1:00 – 5:00pm

Open Crafting Hours: Wednesdays 7:00 – 9:00pm; Saturdays 2:00 – 5:00pm

online: ~  email:

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. HI there! That stuff is so beautiful! I love the unique look of handmade stuff! I am here in New Haven making upcycled kids stuff too! And I am on Etsy! My shop can be found at

    December 18, 2010
  2. kidhaven #

    Awesome, Kerry! What do you make?! I love handmade, too (as if it wasn’t already obvious). Contact Lisa at the email listed above for more info about getting involved with Elm City Handmade – tell her Kim at kidHaven sent you :)

    p.s. Did you get the email about the playgroup update? Hope so.

    December 18, 2010
  3. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to
    say wonderful blog!

    July 16, 2014

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