By Richard Campbell

This past Saturday the Institute for Contemporary Art celebrated their Winter Market, a small pop-up festivity of artists and vendors designed as a holiday attraction for Seaport visitors. It was well received by those who braved the first Boston snowfall. Held in the lobby of the ICA the low key event featured young artists and entrepreneurs, plying their goods.  The majority of the artists in displays were small, and missing enough choice to give them broad appeal, but there were some unique start-ups.

Perhaps the most ICA appropriate artist, Alex Kittle of Panandascan, displayed her edgy film and TV inspired illustrations that give a cartoonish glimpse of entertainment classics like Twin Peaks, Moonstruck, and  Kill Bill with cult worthy stickers and pins of everyone from Joan Jet to John Waters. Hillary Kassel’s Highland Felting Studio offered some uniquely shaped fiber creations, and Burrow, had handmade wool goods from Salem, that seemed to be primarily in the black and white mode sporting geometric patterns. Kim Mowers of the Kimberly Rose/ Zaum company of East Boston offered “upcycled” leather goods mostly for women, but included computer bags as well.   Ashley Diamond Armstrong- a witty young designer had a limited set of products: namely buttons, bags, hand-made paper prints of her company The Little Goods which seems poised to become a marketing and packaging enterprise. Grace Givertz, sported some clever jewelry and not only seemed to be a crafts person, but also an acoustic folk singer on the side. You may notice that most of the art work centered around women’s products.

The food and drink vendors were what the guys are mostly into. Can’t say that Mei Mei is the most tantalizing choice for a holiday meal, but they are popular with the kids. Who could turn down free zesty samples of Aeronaut Brewing of Somerville, or Nussli118 sweet samples given out of fine nuts and health foods- the kind of thing you find in Whole Foods. I was partial to South Boston local Nicolas O’Connell’s Cask Force Artist Series from Fort Point, due to show up sometime at American Provisions.  Their Vermont maple syrup with over the top caramel flavors, turned my pancakes into a luxury food. Somerville’s Union Square Donuts had some exotic donut holes that looked scrumptious, but you know if you sample the beer and all the rest, you can’t have the donuts as well! The ICA had some people serving liquor flavored coffees and the art making station was crowded.  Early on there was some  choir music, so staff and visitors seemed in the holiday mood.  This is a festival that could grow into something more substantial in the future and worthy of a bookmark for next year.