The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Artists gather at the Maker’s Market to kick off the fall season

Vendors sell and showcase their work at Phoenix Park
Photo by Ambrosia Wojahn
Visitors stroll along the market strip, observing the ornate handiwork of Maker’s Market vendors

On Friday, Sept. 15, community members assembled in Phoenix Park for Eau Claire’s monthly Maker’s Market. Pedestrians strolled through the park shelter strip, taking in the local artistry. 

About 35 vendors set up booths displaying a myriad of handmade items from clothes, quilting and jewelry to toys, ceramics and sculptures. 

Since beginning in 2021, the Maker’s Market has become a staple event in Eau Claire. As one of the founders said, the market was founded two years ago by UW-Eau Claire alumni with the purpose of providing a platform for local artists to showcase and promote their craft. 

Kala Rehberger, co-founder and orchestrator of the Maker’s Market, said the goal was to cater toward new artists and demographics, people who have had historically tough times finding their place in the art community. 

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“Especially in Eau Claire, I feel like the art community has grown immensely during the last decade, which is really awesome,” Rehberger said.

Rehberger said that the Maker’s Market draws in a variety of vendors specializing in both fine art and crafted goods. 

Remi, a first-year student, was selling crocheted items at the market for the first time on Friday.

“I really love to crochet. When I saw a flier for the Maker’s Market, I decided to try selling my projects here,” Remi said. “The signing up process was pretty easy, just a simple Google form.” 

Print artist Kaden started selling at the market in August.

“I’d never sold my art before this. I’m really excited to be getting myself out there and creating more of a platform,” Kaden said.

Rehberger and fellow alumnus Lexi Kane held the first ‘unofficial’ Maker’s Market in October of 2021, Rehberger said.  

“It was just in our yard at that time, more of a pop-up garage sale kind of thing. It was only our work — earrings and other art we had made,” Rehberger said.

The popularity of that first event prompted Rehberger and Kane to spread the word to other artists in the area. 

“We put out a call and added more people to the bunch, and our first ‘official’ market was held that year at Forage,” Rehberger said. 

Rehberger said that the Maker’s Market has grown steadily over the past two years. 

“Our summer and fall markets have been getting more people. Of this month’s 35 vendors, I’d say 75% have worked with us, and around 25% are new vendors who might have never done a market before,” Rehberger said. 

The market is held indoors during the wintertime, and during those events, 300-500 people were in attendance. The seller base has expanded to older generations as well as college students, with a blend of ‘crafty’ and ‘novelty’ pieces, Rehberger said. 

Vendor Greyson Grey has been selling vintage and handcrafted items with the market since the beginning.

“I’d say that since I started here, there has been a lot more traction in the planning process. It all runs a little smoother,” Grey said.

Since co-founder Kane moved out of state, Rehberger said she has been leading the operation along with five other employees.

“Planning the Maker’s Market is really an ongoing process — there’s never much downtime,” Rehberger said. “We’ve got a great team working on it, and we’re all pretty tight.”

Vendors looking to sell at the Maker’s Market can apply online for the fall season. Rehberger said a slot at the market costs $25 to $35.

The Maker’s Market team is looking forward to the coming season’s markets, as well as a downtown Halloween party which Rehberger said is in the works.

“We’re excited to be expanding the community, getting our name out there, and having more people take risks. We want to strive to make alternative artwork more mainstream,” Rehberger said.

Wojahn can be reached at [email protected]

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Ambrosia Wojahn, Staff Writer

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