If you didn’t venture out to Philadelphia Magic Gardens’ annual street festival last weekend in fear of getting a little wet, then you really missed out. From Bollywood dancing and gypsies with hula hoops to jazz fusion performances in the rain, ART/GAGE was definitely THE place to be. Don’t feel too bad though, I’ll fill you in on some of the cool things I found.
I was expecting to see some interesting things while I was at the festival, but I didn’t imagine I would find anything that would make me stop and count the change in my wallet to see if I could buy something right then and there. But that’s exactly what I did when I stumbled upon the one-of-a-kind artwork by Patrick Hay. An art teacher by trade, Hay creates decorative mosaics on ceramic tiles and sculptures composed of pieces of hardware that he’s found lying around. His most sought after creations are his guitars, which he builds almost solely out of cigar boxes. Each guitar is unique and actually plays, so they make both great wall ornaments and actual instruments. Certainly any work of art you purchase from him will be a definite conversation starter.
I was drawn mostly by the color and the shape of the candles above anything else, but the more I learned about Mellifera Candles, the more I liked them. Sarah Lyter and her colleagues, whose business they run out of their home in West Philly, use entirely organic ingredients, specifically beeswax. The dye used in their products are made from food-grade oils, so there’s no dangerous or cancer-causing additives to be worry about in case your two-year-old niece tries to take a bite out of your candles again. The candles themselves come in these rich, earthy tones and a variety of elegant shapes that will complement any area that you put them in, whether you place them on the mantle of your fireplace or on the dining room table. They are unscented as well, so there’s no chance of offending anyone with a horribly artificial fragrance like some candles do.
I’ve always had an affinity for things from Eastern cultures, so it’s not surprising that I would spot Mushmina’s Moroccan handbags from all the way across the block. That’s not the only thing that this vendor was selling however; I noticed a wide variety of items, such as beautifully patterned scarves to ornamental silver jewelry and tea sets. The salesperson informed me that there is an even wider selection of clothing and home décor at their main store, located at 1540 South St. The best part about this company is that aside from making beautiful, handmade clothing, all of their products are fair trade, meaning that they provide employment opportunities for people in developing countries without the use of slave labor like many retailers do. That way you can feel good about dropping some cash on these lovely items because you know that it directly benefits the workers who made the product.