Although the weather outside was rainy, chilly and gloomy, it was balanced by the cozy atmosphere within the 10th annual Hovercraft MKE market, Milwaukee’s annual holiday shopping extravaganza. Located inside the Pritzlaff building, there were more than 100 local vendors selling goods that ranged from pottery, prints, jewelry and more. The filled space was booming with energy and community.
One of the artists I spoke with was Kate Kaminski, who has a Master of Fine Arts in sculpture and specializes in ceramics. Her work is 100 percent handmade in her one-woman shop, The Habitat Shoppe. To get an idea of her work, her finishing products transform into these peculiar animal art pieces such as a fox smoking a cigar and a bear decorated with a pastel floral print.
“I started the shop after I had my first child because I wanted to make things that were unique and fun for kids bedrooms,” said Kaminski. “And then from there it just blossomed into things for your house but it’s all super fun and that’s why I love it.”
Jason Ludtke, graphic designer and owner of Mild Tiger, customizes a variety of goods such as patches, buttons and stickers. Ludtke says his inspiration is drawn from all places in his everyday life including Milwaukee.
“My City of Milwaukee T-shirt was inspired by walking my dog,” said Ludtke. “There’s this spot where we always stop on our walk and it just says ‘The City of Milwaukee’ on the street. Otherwise, a lot of the illustrations are just sketching in my sketchbook and if I think it’s cool, I’ll throw it in Photoshop and build it out from there.”
Rachal Duggan, an illustrator from Chicago and the creator of Rad Illustrates, has taken an interest in illustrating one special thing.
“I just love drawing people and things, particularly butts,” said Duggan.
At her table, she had a personalized “booty portrait” offer where you can get your own butt illustrated on the spot. If you are wondering, I couldn’t resist and had to get my very own.
“I really like body positivity and normalizing things that might be uncomfortable for people and things that I think should be more generally accepted and welcomed,” said Duggan.
I have such a warm spot for local markets. They’re a way to help the community by keeping the money local. I personally love filling my home with local art, gifting friends handmade jewelry and meeting Milwaukee creators. There’s something special about knowing where your products come from and associating friendly, local faces to your items.