Monday, February 23, 2009

Chop Suey/Bizarre Market in Brick Reloaded: Dec. 08

"Keep Richmond Bizarre
Cesca Janece Waterfield
December 03, 2008

Anxious about Aunt Alice’s Christmas present? Wondering what to get your Wii partner for Hanukkah?

Look no further than Chop Suey Tuey, 2913 W. Cary St., where you’ll find everything from handmade cards, children’s toys, paintings, photography, handmade bags, knit clothing, stuffed animals, jewelry, and more. Through December 24, the Carytown bookshop is host to the Bizarre Market, Richmond’s most unique shopping event.

Chop Suey Books has united residents, artists, authors, and musicians since March of 2002 with its diverse inventory and eclectic schedule of events including readings, live performances, movie screenings, and more. With Shelley Briggs, owner Ward Tefft even established the innovative “Books on Wheels,” a non-profit committed to distributing free books and bike repair, and inexpensive restored bikes. One of Ward’s friends and a former employee, Anna Virginia, began the Bizarre Market six years ago to bring together artists and crafters like herself with treasure hunting shoppers. Previous Bizarre Markets have been held outside Chop Suey’s original location near VCU, and they’ve grown each season. You don’t need a red-nosed reindeer to see why.

The Bizarre Market is quirky and classy: Richmond resident Bird Cox curated this year’s collection, which features the work of 50 independent artists and crafters, all from Richmond. Everything here is one-of-a-kind, made by somebody you might actually talk to.

It’s affordable: Prices begin at $1, with most items costing around $20. The highest price-tag maxes out at $250.

The Bizarre Market is socially responsible. Sure, you can pump your hard-earned dollars into short-sighted, mass marketed knickknacks. Or you can get cool heirloom pieces, direct your shopping dollars, and share the love with local stores and artists. Located at the edge of Carytown, the Bizarre Market can be the jump-off to a memorable holiday experience with your friends and family that also supports the businesses and people in our own backyard. Studies consistently show that dollars spent at locally-owned businesses tend to stay in the area, tripling their positive economic impact and cultivating healthy communities. So shopping locally is sensible anytime. But when economic belts grow tighter, it can be the difference in a town surviving, or thriving.

Some of the artists represented this season include Jan Shropshire, who works with her 6-year-old daughter. “She does ceramics and tiles,” Bird said. “They’re really fun, colorful, and childlike birds and stars and flowers. She also does paintings in that same style.” The whimsical children’s apparel of Anda Corie is available, including appliqué shoes and reversible smocks. Screenprinter Travis Robertson has made his unique books and notepads available. “He does everything in very bold, bright colors,” Bird said. Travis is associate editor of The Drama, a quarterly arts publication based in Richmond.

The Bizarre Market has hundreds of ways to deliver meaningful cheer to the folks on your shopping list, and even to some who aren’t. And the goods here aren’t your average retailer fare. “The quality and the meaning you get from something that’s been made by hand by someone who loves what they’re doing is so intrinsically different from something you’d get at [a chain store],” Bird said. “It carries with it a good feeling. You come into the room and you can tell people poured their hearts into it.”

The Bizarre Market at Chop Suey Tuey
2913 West Cary St.
Mon - Thu. 10 - 6
Friday & Sat. 10 - 7
Sun 12 - 6

No comments: