RAHWAY, NJ — At the Rahway Craft and Art Fair on Saturday, Nov. 4, artists were not only selling their work, but also buying the work of other artists.
The vibes were high at the Rahway Recreation Center, where more than 60 vendors sold their handmade original artworks and wares.
No mass-produced art or commercial art was accepted. Vendors were chosen by Lawrence Cappiello, an artist who also founded the Arts Guild New Jersey in Rahway in 1997 and served as its executive director until it closed its doors in 2016. The Rahway Craft and Art Fair included paintings, prints, photographs, mixed media, drawings, children-oriented illustrations and decorations, handmade jewelry, handmade pottery, handmade glass plates and bowls, original/unique clothing, wooden toys and crafts, home décor, hand-sewn pillows, homemade soaps and body lotions, soy candles, homemade chocolates and much more.
James Roberts of Sawdust & Sacrifice in Rahway sold rustic farm serving trays and cutting boards. The Rahway resident is a veteran who got started in woodwork when he made a frame for his mother after his brother died. “Woodwork is therapeutic,” he said. “I enjoy the heck out of it.”
Alexandria Miller of Décor by Dri sells natural vegan candles made of soy wax. She said she loves fragrances, so she came up with something nice, clean, healthy and good for the environment. Her business is based in Rahway.
Mike Junnier of MJ Woodworking in South Plainfield focuses on crafting handmade items, all in his basement. He learned from his father and grandfather. It’s his fourth year having a table in the Craft & Art Fair and he said he’s proving successful in his efforts.
Artist and author Peggy Rothbaum creates handcrafted jewelry. She and her business manager, Julie Sakowicz, both have day jobs and give all the proceeds they make off her art to charities such as animal shelters, the homeless and those who are near homeless.
JoAnna Livingston of Moon Eater Art Co. works in clay and is based in Atlantic Highlands.
Landon Horn of Jax the Soul Collector’s Horror Treasures works at home in Rahway. He said he enjoys the Craft and Art Fair because “It’s a wide variety of items and people.”
Sarah Serrano Esquilin of Can’t Fight the Fro said the Craft and Art Fair is “a beautiful place to be.”
Wanda Espana of Knick Knack Art sells 4×4 art tiles, which could be hung on the wall or displayed on easels. “I like how much this town appreciates art,” she said. “I’m a professional artist. Art is part of my life.”
Charles Casseus, an artist who works in his studio and basement in Rahway, said he enjoys this event because it’s “very close” to his home.
Alex Cavaliere of Rahway had gothic stickers, jewelry and pouches. Everything was hand drawn. “It’s good to see other artists,” she said. “It brings out the best of Rahway.”
Darline Chudoba of Elizabeth takes old clothes and turns them into handbags, shopping bags, zipper pouches for makeup and dog poop pouches. Her motto is “Reduce, reverse, recycle.” She said she loves to see the creative minds coming together in one location; and seeing other artists showcase their creativity.
Becca Cristino of Dirtnap Straps makes awesome guitar straps, camera straps, hand-sewn pillows, shirts, bags and tote bags. It all began for her when she started marking guitar straps for friends.
Tom Levier, owner and designer of Cold Garage Creations, defines his arts, crafts and jewelry as “steampunk/science fiction/fantasy.” He works at home in Hamilton, out of his garage.
Renaee Smith is originally from Jamaica and currently living in Roselle. She writes children’s and inspirational books. She also crochets.
Wendy Sheridan of Rahway was selling her paintings and coloring books for which she created the art. She also makes homemade jam. She said her art teacher told her it was the “best they’ve ever eaten.”
Felipe Marreo is not an artist but he was there selling the work of his former wife, Elizabeth Lucas, who lives in Phoenix, Ariz. “It’s a nice event,” he said. “I enjoy seeing other artists. I enjoy arts and crafts and shopping.”
Alfonso Catering had a food truck outside selling skirt steak quesadillas, fries and grilled-cheese sandwiches.
Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta