Preview: Winter Art Tour


Get ready to shop deep local at craft fairs the weekend of December 9–11.

Get ready to shop deep local at craft fairs the weekend of December 9–11.

Those looking for wonderful handmade gifts in Washtenaw County are in luck this December! Last year Pulp focused on four events in the county, but in 2016 there's a lot more going on. In fact, a local group has created an official Winter Art Tour that takes you to nine stops at craft fairs and art studios across Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti the weekend of December 9-11. There's even a passport you can get stamped when you visit one of the tour's locations, and if you hit up at least four spots, you have a chance to win cool handcrafted prizes. See the WAT website for all the details on the Winter Art Tour’s passport and prizes.

The biggest events of the weekend-long handmade shopping extravaganza are the two indie craft fairs: Tiny Expo in Ann Arbor and DIYpsi in Ypsilanti.

Tiny Expo takes place at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library and is an annual holiday fair that features 45 artists and crafters selling their wares in a festive library space. This one-day celebration (December 10, 11 am-5:30 pm) will also have several make-n-takes, including screen printing, button making, and tiny polymer clay snow globes.

The Riverside Arts Center in Ypsilanti is home to DIYpsi, which will host 90 vendors of the best in handmade from the Midwest. It’s a chance to enjoy handcrafted food and drinks while you get your shop on at this super-fun two-day show. (December 10, 11 am-6 pm; December 11, 12-6 pm)

Plan your weekend accordingly and hit up both events!

In contrast, if you’re looking for cozy spaces with unique art by local artisans, the rest of the stops on the Winter Art Tour have you covered.

After hitting up DIYpsi, head on over to Ypsi Alloy Studios where you can explore the Ypsi Alloy Studios at their Winter Open Studio and Market! Tour the studios and browse for fine art and unique gifts handmade by studio artists. (December 10 & 11, 12-7 pm)

Over at Front Porch Textiles, you’ll find handwoven textiles, yarn, jewelry, woodworking, art tiles, and letterpress art. They’ll also have weaving demonstrations. (December 10 & 11, 10 am-5 pm)

Clay Work Studio in Ann Arbor is having its 3rd annual holiday sale and will feature work from members of Clay Work Studio, Clay Gallery, and more. This month-long sale is having its opening reception 6-9 pm on Friday, December 9, and will be open 12-5 pm on Saturday and Sunday for the Winter Art Tour.

Kate Tremel and Friends Art Studios Sale is happening in Ann Arbor’s Waterhill neighborhood. It’s the 10th year for this annual holiday home show, and the cozy space will feature eight artists with a variety of work, including book arts, pottery, jewelry, wearables, and handmade chocolates. (December 10 & 11, 12-5 pm)

Art on Adare! is home to a casual blend of art, wine, cheese, and light refreshments. This annual holiday sale in Ann Arbor features fine art jewelry, wearable fiber art, and blown glass by a few different artists. (December 10, 11:00 am-5:00 pm)

Glass art by Larry Nisson — part of the Westside Art Hop (left), The Ann Arbor Art Center's 117 Gallery Shop (right) is a Winter Art Tour stop.

Glass art by Larry Nisson — part of the Westside Art Hop (left), Ann Arbor Art Center's 117 Gallery Shop (right) is a Winter Art Tour stop.

At the big Ann Arbor Art Center “Art Off the Wall” exhibition, artwork is purchased directly “off the wall.” You’ll find an amazing assortment of handmade works of art from hundreds of artists. The event started November 18 and concludes January 7, but you can get your passport stamped if you go during the Winter Art Tour. (December 9, 10 am-7 pm; December 10, 10 am-6 pm; December 11, 12-5 pm)

The annual Yourist Studio Gallery holiday sale features ceramic works by Community Studio Resident Artists and select students. The gallery's opening gala (December 9, 5-8pm) is an evening of ceramic art and festive food and drink. (December 10, 10 am-6 pm; December 11, 10 am-5 pm)

If shopping and taking in art at nine stops on the Winter Art Tour has you itching for more, the Westside Art Hop is also happening during this magical crafty weekend. Residents of Ann Arbor’s Westside neighborhood open up their homes, garages, and workspaces to local artists. Talk about deep local! (December 10, 11am-5 pm; December 11, 12-4pm)

So, for the weekend of December 9-11, grab that reusable tote and be ready to hit up several of these unique, local shopping opportunities in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, because we’re pretty sure there’s something cooler out there for dad than another pair of socks.

Amanda Schott is a Library Technician at AADL and loves holiday craft fair season.

Check each event's individual website (linked throughout the story) for more details about locations and vendors.