The Silver Birch Trading Post

silver_birch_front_desk.jpg

Fair-trade art and gifts at The Silver Birch

By Heather Lumb

A-Town's Delaware Avenue is home to a handful of gems that are adding to its up-and-comer image. Count fair-trade advocate The Silver Birch Trading Post among them. A hybrid of an art gallery and a boutique, the store's goal is to help support starving artists both around the way and around the world. So if you're a lawyer by day and pillow stuffer/wood ring carver/hot shot photographer by night, release your artsy output right here.

silver birch outsideIt isn't "staff" that keeps this creative joint running, it's family. Owner Brooke (her parents and sisters help out) is all smiles and will direct you toward the funkiest birthday gift or give you the background on any of the artists on display. Go on and test her--we did, and she seriously knows her inventory.

silver birch front of storeSilver Birch has no real theme. As long as it's fair-trade, impressive art, anything goes. A surprise fact--the store is also an eBay community, so if they're short on shelf space or if an artist wants to go national, Brooke and crew will post pieces online.

The Vibe: The room is a square foot shy of tiny, and the intricate displays combine to make you feel like you're in your hippie grandmother's La Jolla, California sitting room. A posted sign on the door proclaims "browsers welcome!" and that's half the fun, but you'll more than likely walk out with something. Maybe Shorties Incense ($.10/stick) or an "I heart Boxed Wine" tee ($20).

Price Point: Affordable. There's a $20 average on gifts and $100 average on art.

Score! Find: A pair of 12-year-old girls, self-titled The Diamond Sisters, make a branch-and-origami mobile of teensy paper cranes and beads. $25 per branch, and the "aw, shucks" factor is just priceless.

Find It

The Silver Birch Trading Post
294 Delaware Ave
Albany, NY 12209

Comments

Is that meant to be fair trade instead of free trade?

@chrisck: Yep. Thanks for catching that. It's fixed now.

I'm a thousand times over impressed with this little shop, so great find! I actually walked past it last week and wondered what was inside. Thank you, thank you.

This is a pretty excellent concept. One place where local artists can sell their stuff. I like going into these types of places when I visit other cities. It'll be nice to do it locally. I wonder if they will sell local CDs...

My friend and I went into the store to kill some time before a movie and the owner started talking to us about the movie and how the neighborhood is going to change. She was so nice and cool and had great stuff. I'm going back to buy something soon.

There's a new-ish store in East Greenbush/Rensselaer, Blue Fiddle Gifts, that sells art and crafts by local people. They operate on consignment. It's an eclectic little place, lots of fun to look around, tons of stuff to see.I have bought a few very reasonably priced gifts there.

They have a website: http://www.bluefiddlegifts.com

Silver Birch is a fantastic little shop, and Brooke is wonderful! She helped me figure out what size bracelet would fit a 5 year old by calling the artist! I try to stop in whenever I am walking by.

Sadly, it appears that the Silver Birch Trading Post has closed (unless somebody knows it has moved to another location). I just saw today that Botanic Ana Spiritual Works has moved into that spot near the Spectrum (from another locations a couple of blocks down Delaware).
It's unfortunate to lose a place for local artists and quality crafters to sell their work.

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