Bethany Rusen—founder and director of Black Hound Clay Studio—knows the struggle of having excessive clutter and a lack of studio space all too well. “All of my friends are artists, and we all run into the issue that as an artist you are making a lot of work,” Bethany said. “You have a lot of pieces that didn’t go quite right. Something’s a little bit damaged. Something’s just a little bit off. So as an artist you have this buildup of inventory that you can’t really sell at full price."
It was this dilemma that inspired Bethany to put on the first West Philly Artists Yard Sale in July 2018. "I thought, 'Let’s have an artists yard sale' because every artist I know has this problem," she said. But the event doesn't just benefit vendors. WPAYS is a great opportunity for members of the community to purchase artwork at an affordable price. “I think that a lot of people are interested in buying art and are interested in collecting art and maybe don’t have the budget yet to invest in very expensive pieces. But [the sale] is a way to get functional, beautiful art without paying a lot of money," Bethany said.
The event has flourished since its humble beginnings as a small affair put on by Bethany and her friends. The upcoming WPAYS, set to take place on Oct. 27 in the parking lot and patio Black Hound Clay Studio, is expected to attract approximately 40 vendors ranging from local small–time crafters to established artists. “There are people who do this for a living, who make art and do craft shows, and who sell in stores and online,” Bethany said. “And then it runs the gamut to people who just do it as a hobby.”
As the event itself has grown, so has the variety of items for sale. From pottery and jewelry to art prints and clothing, at the WPAYS, there is no shortage of eccentric pieces up for grabs. “It’s going to be a wide variety of media,” Bethany said. “We have a lot of random and interesting things."
In addition to slightly flawed pieces looking for a second chance, attendees can expect to find discontinued items at the sale. Makers come to WPAYS to sell art from older lines that don’t fit with their current work at a discounted price. “My friend Kelly Anne used to do a lot of jewelry with gemstones and she doesn’t really anymore, so she’ll bring all of that jewelry that she doesn’t make anymore,” Bethany said.
Visitors can also look forward to picking up experimental pieces as well. Past sales have seen out–of–the–box offerings like wooden model boats put on display. Bethany noted a couple of examples of quirky items that vendors will bring to the sale, mentioning that, “There’s one guy who makes a lot of buttons, and my friend Ben is bringing candles.”
If you’re looking to make art of your own, the WPAYS will also have art supplies and equipment available for purchase. “I have a lot of old hardware that I’m bringing,” Bethany said, adding that the sale is a great way for visitors to pick up “miscellaneous things” that artists are looking to clear out of their studios.
If you are planning on attending the sale, Bethany advises you to come early. “I think there’s going to be a lot of people,” she said. “It’s crazy because I started it as this really small thing and it’s kind of grown into this huge event.”
Make sure to add paying a visit to the West Philly Artists Yard Sale to your list of weekend plans. Pick up some artwork for your room or some holiday gifts all while benefiting local artists.
West Philly Artists Yard Sale
Location: 715 S 50th St.
Hours: 12 p.m. — 4 p.m.