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My Day at the Fair...

Molly Johnson's picture

This is the photo I purchased from Leslie Gregg. It can also be found on Facebook as part of the RIT photo challenge. (Permission granted by Leslie Gregg)

University News Service once did an article about getting out on campus, as there are a lot of stories to experience. Last year I did just that and went to the employee craft fair in the SAU. It was such a great experience, I thought I’d write about it for the Staff Council blog, especially since this year's Craft Fair is this week on Wednesday, Dec 8th from 10-4pm in the SAU.

At last year’s Craft Fair there were so many beautiful jewelry vendors, I thought to myself  -How anyone can ever make up their minds? Besides jewelry, there were many vendors selling other neat things too. There was a man selling animal sculptures, like cats and dogs and horses made out of scraps of metal.  Mary Niedermaier from Housing Operations, sold something I had never seen before called "Dipped Critters". They are stuffed animals dipped in scented soy wax that you can use to freshen up a room. I loved them so much I bought 3. I knew Mary from work, but I did not know that she also had this hidden talent.

To me, the most interesting story I came across was simply a box of photographs that I actually missed as I was about to move on to the next table.  I was moving slowly by a table, taking in all the beautiful jewelry. I mentioned something about how beautiful all the jewelry was and asked the woman sitting behind the table if she had made the jewelry. The woman was Leslie Gregg from  CAST Mfg & Mechanical Engineering Tech.  She told me that the jewelry belonged to her friend sitting next to her, but that the photographs were hers.  I said "What photographs?"  

Leslie’s photographs were in a box the size of a milk crate on top of the table. I stopped to take a look and I am so glad that I did. The photographs were absolutely beautiful. Talking to Leslie I found out so much about the photos. For every photograph she told me a story.  She showed me one photograph of downtown Rochester and the new bridge that was published on a CD about Rochester. Most of her photographs were taken in and around Rochester, and on a trip she had taken to Greece. I told her she had a great eye - of course that comes from someone who knows very little about photography.

But the photos I thought were particularly special were the ones from around campus; mostly nature scenes from the nature trails, of the deer and the geese.  Leslie told me she walks at lunch everyday and always takes her camera with her. She took one of a heart carved into a tree on the nature trail - that in itself could be a great story to find out the history behind the heart. I asked her which one was her favorite and she told me she could not choose.  I joked “kind of like children huh?” and she agreed. Although I loved them all, the picture I purchased was very unique - it was a picture of Eastman Hall seen through two puddles in front of the library. 

I am glad RIT’s Center for Campus Life hosted the craft show. I learned a lot and made some new friends.  If you can, try to get out and see the craft fair - I think you will really enjoy it.  Below is a list of some of this year’s participants.

Come see your RIT friends and colleagues at this year’s RIT Craft Sale.  Below are just some of the 30 vendors featured in this year’s show:

Kristi Dempski of Saunders College of Business is an independent consultant with Cookie Lee Jewelry.  She loves running her own home-based jewelry business aside from working at RIT.  It allows her to use her creativity to come up with marketing initiatives and unique events, and she really loves the opportunity it affords her to meet new and interesting people!

Lisa DeRomanis of CIAS School of Print Media will be making sewn items, such as purses and tote bags, and crochet items, like hats and scarves. This year she has attempted to do more “green crafting” and has focused on making “up-cycled” products, such as cup cozies (which are normally those little cardboard sleeves that go around coffee cups and then get thrown out) out of vintage table clothes and linen napkins. She’ll also be selling “up-cycled” envelopes, created from old stock photography books and calendars. Her goal was to use as much as she could from materials that already existed. This will be Lisa’s third time at the sale, and it is one that she looks forward to every year. To see some of her work online visit her blog at

Terri Glasow of the Student Life Center will be selling:

  • Fresh Bay Leaf Wreaths

  • Fresh Holly

  • Orders for fresh flower arrangements for holiday tables

  • Dried floral arrangements

  • Holiday Candles

  • Angel Wreaths

  • Holiday Baby Bibs

  • Jewelry

Dr. Cheryl Kleist of the College of Liberal Arts designs custom jewelry. Many unique necklaces, earrings, & bracelets created by Cheryl are made from precious and semi-precious gemstones and minerals. Some of the items she will be showcasing are:

Kazuri “small & beautiful” Kenya beads in necklaces & earrings with an article on the ladies at their co-op—proceeds support entire families

  • Silver & Gold handcrafted wire wrapping of gemstones, minerals, and glass foil

  • Sponge & bamboo corals, Taihitian Black Pearl Shells, & Abalone

  • Pandora look in lampwork glass on silicone cords for a fraction on the cost

  • Adorable Christmas & Holiday lampwork glass earrings and necklaces

  • wood bead, glass foil, and lampwork glass pieces

  • Colorful, fashion chains and earrings

  • Wine glass charms

Cathy Kubitz of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship, has been counseling students on financial aid and billing since 1998.  For her side business CK Designs, she’s a paper crafter & rubber stamper; creating works since the early ‘90s. Cathy enjoys making hand-made cards, gift bags & boxes and anything else she can stamp, sponge or emboss!  She also enjoys teaching her craft to others and offers workshops throughout the local community.  This will be her fourth year at the Craft Sale and she looks forward to seeing new and familiar faces!

Jennifer McDyer ’07 of the College of Science School of Biological and Medical Sciences, will be showcasing her latest craft obsession: purses.  She began making handbags in February of this year using various recycled materials even wining a spot in the Corn Hill Arts Festival this summer for Emerging Artists.  She has since moved forward in the complexity and elegance of her designs, and uses materials like suede, silk, faux and real leather. The bags range from coin purses and wallets, to evening and casual handbags, to large roomy totes and messenger bags.  She is really proud of the work that she does and how far she’s come since starting just last winter.

Gail Quartieri of the College of Applied Science and Technology will be selling handcrafted wine bottle lamps with beautiful glass beads in various colors.  These lamps provide wonderful subtle lighting addition to a kitchen counter top or bar area.  The lamps are a recycled/green craft that make a unique and affordable gifts for your holiday needs.   

Kate Scahill of the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, interns at Dock2 Letterpress, a print shop specializing in handset typography. She will be selling beautiful art prints, posters, notebooks, and holiday greeting cards.

Lisa Witt of The Wallace Center, creates traditional German inspired Christmas ornaments made from Dresden trims, glass glitter, and spun cotton.  She using vintage goods whenever possible and recycled pieces from Christmases past.

RIT United Way Student Committee will also have a table with general information about United Way of Greater Rochester. They will also be raffling off an autographed Frozen Four men’s hockey t-shirt with signatures from all the members of the 2009-2010 team plus all the coaches.


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