by Sarah Cristine Burrola
Photography courtesy of Meghana Patnana
Customers meandered through the trees and pursued the fine goods spread out along the various tables of the Loring-Greenough house. As cheery pop music filled the warm air, the last tinges of summer clinging to the sunny day.
This was the scene as local artists, entrepreneurs and educators from all over Beantown came together at this year’s first ever Boston Women’s Market, held on Sunday, September 17 from 12-3 p.m. at the historic site in Jamaica Plains, Boston.
The event featured 30 vendors offering everything from hand-embroidered apparel and homemade skincare products to children’s books and watercolor paintings, all with one thing in common: their experience as women.
Shai-Anne Nance, 20, from Dorchester, was a vendor at the event who found satisfaction in the idea of a market that was by women, for women, and also for the community at large. She was selling her homemade cupcakes, puddings, face masks and moisturizers, alongside her art and her sister’s handcrafted knit apparel.
“I loved the focus on small business, especially small female business, because we don’t always have that platform,” she said. She, like most of the other vendors, found the event through Facebook.
Nance also said she decided to be a part of the event because her business is “just starting out.” The event was especially meaningful to her in establishing her business as sharing her business “is giving a piece of myself to the world, and sharing the meaning of that with other people.”
Another vendor, Megan Smith, 29, from Allston, helped herself and others find their space in the world of art. She not only sold handmade digital prints and postcards, but also sold an incarcerated friend’s artwork.
“I think that it is cool because it brings out a lot of folks from the community who are really interested in supporting not just female artists and entrepreneurs, but also feminism in general,” she said. “When I’m selling art that is pretty explicitly feminist and people relate to it, it brings me joy.”
Vendors were not the only ones at the event trying to spread a message to the community at large. There was also a table manned by female graduate students at Boston University’s School of Medicine dedicated to spreading information about ovulation and menstruation health.
Anna Williams (BUSM), said that being part of the community-based event was really meaningful to her given the nature of the work she is assisting Dr. Shruti Mahalingaiah, an assistant professor at BUSM.
“There’s been a lot of research on this topic [ovulation and menstruation health] in white, cis[gender] women, from one socio-economic group, so we’re really working on creating a multi-ethnic group from different backgrounds, not just women but menstruating individuals, and this event is helping a lot in doing that,” Williams said.
The most important component of this market was incorporating comradery and support of women and their contributions to artwork.