In Photos: From Microphotography to Metalworking, Allston Makers Show their Craft at Winter Market

By Elyse C. Goncalves and Jack R. Trapanick
By Elyse C. Goncalves

Local artists, craftspeople, and creators gathered to exhibit and sell their work at the Artisans Asylum in Allston this past Saturday. The event, the Winter Makers Market, welcomed residents to purchase works from the artists and ask them about their work.

Artisans Asylum is a space for local artists to practice their craft. The nonprofit rents small studio cubicles for artists to create in and offers specialty equipment ranging from oscilloscopes and enameling kilns to knitting needles and yarn. The offerings cater to a wide array of possible mediums including jewelry, photography, metalwork, carpentry, enamel, and fiber arts, all across a two-building site on Holton Street.

The group moved production from their Somerville location onto Harvard property in Allston near the Boston Landing commuter rail station. Since its founding more than a decade ago, the Asylum has steadily grown in size as demand has remained high for its services.

Kamal Ahmad, the organization’s facility and art director, stressed the importance of offering affordability in the face of a rising cost of living for artists in the area, adding that the area “used to be more affordable” for makers. To accommodate them, the Asylum offers different types of memberships, such as a discount option that offers access only at night or on weekends for those with day jobs.

By Elyse C. Goncalves

Pat Iverson and Kathryn Black, pictured above, own a shop called Beads Without End, which they started in 1995 with their late friend Martha Forsythe. The pair makes crochet beaded bracelets and other types of jewelry using beading practices Iverson and Forsythe learned in Bulgaria.

Iverson said she watched Forsythe, who was fluent in Bulgarian, receive beading lessons in the language. Iverson later picked up the craft herself through instruction from Forsythe trade and created mnemonics to remember beading patterns. She said many of the shop’s patterns came from mistakes in the patterns they had learned.

Iverson showed an example of an incorrectly performed pattern.

“You get something like that, right, mistakes that are worth repeating,” Iverson said.

“Happy accidents,” Black added.

Hope Zimmerman sells leather goods including custom belts, bracelets, buckles cast from seashells on Cape Cod, collars, and hair accessories. Like many of the artisans at the Asylum, Zimmerman’s craft began as a hobby before developing into a full-fledged business.

Barbara Sitar currently lives in Boston and works in the studios at Artisans Asylum. Born in Czechoslovakia, Sitar has traveled throughout Europe and the U.S. for her work. She was previously in California for six years for an exhibit before moving to Boston last year, where she has taught and lived since.

Sitar does not sell her art. She said the exhibition at the Makers Market was a way for her to share her craft with others, regardless of their experience with art.

“My completely free artwork is truly free of the ambition to sell because that ruins it, that compromises it, spoils it,” Sitar said. “I teach courses and classes, and that’s what I do as a work. I really love my individual work with people and with artists.”

Jess Holz, a photographer and microscopist based in Allston, produces micrographs — or photographs taken through the lens of a microscope — using pieces of plants and insects.

Eden Attar and Scraps sparcS, who specialize in welding and blacksmithing, demonstrated their work outside the entrance to the market. Attar teaches welding and plasma cutting; sparcS also runs socials and drag nights at the shop.

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