I Made It!
You made it! No, literally, you made it. On Murray Avenue and Forbes Street Sept. 17, the I Made It! Market had its last Squirrel Hill Night Market for the summer. The Night Market was previously held June 18 and Aug. 20, and is an initiative of NextGenPgh, Uncover Squirrel Hill, and the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, according to the official website of I Made It! Market.
The Squirrel Hill Night Market this month is also a part of Mayor William Peduto’s Bicentennial Celebration. This month, the Night Market was centered around the Asian culture and community of Pittsburgh. Bubble tea was rampant as per usual, but so was origami and other paper crafts. The 3D Origami Art Studio sold various origami sculptures and even kits so others could create and fold their own masterpieces. The shop specializes in kusudamas, Japanese flower balls and popular wedding decorations. While not having distinct Asian roots, Resident is another shop that sells kits that one can fold into their own geometric and deeply layered works of art, most often animal heads.
The Market also featured creative Asian-founded businesses. Local pastry shop Yummyholic is founded by Jasmine Cho and sells custom treats ranging from cookies in the shape of Oprah’s face to matcha velvet cupcakes. The shop is also branching out into apparel that promises to be “Phan Pho-King Tastic” and fully embrace their Asian roots.
Here are more highlights from the Squirrel Hill Night Market:
Go Carr Go: An art store specializing in the German paper cut art “scherenschnitte” with designs ranging from nerdy, a la Doctor Who and Alice in Wonderland, to classic red roses, or a silhouette of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. The shop brings a worldly vibe to the night market and the prints astound shoppers with their beauty and attention to detail.
Sorcery Science: This shop specializes in all things science related — but for jewelry. The shop is known for its molecular structure jewelry, with necklaces and earrings of caffeine, estrogen, and testosterone molecules, anatomical jewelry, with brain earrings and a necklace of a heart, and even periodic table quilts and a portable chess board. The chess board and all jewelry are laser cut and are perfect gifts for the science nerds in your life.
Songbird Artistry: Formerly known as Jenn’s Jems, the mother-daughter–run shop makes unique jewelry and ties inspired by pop culture hits like [ITAL]Harry Potter[ITAL], [ITAL]Game of Thrones[ITAL], [ITAL]Doctor Who[ITAL], and more. Songbird Artistry also sells Pittsburgh-inspired items as a beautiful homage to their roots, and makes screen-printed shirts and onesies of their designs for artists ranging from The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
Steel City Cotton Workers: Known for their “home grown quality,” Steel City Cotton Workers sells graphic tees, hoodies, and accessories with a main focus around Pittsburgh life, city, and culture. They were seen selling UPitt merchandise and shirts supporting the Pirates, Steelers, and the Penguins.
Papyrusaurus: Papyrusaurus is known for their “handmade goods with a geeky kick,” selling unique prints over vintage book pages with designs from [ITAL]Wicked[ITAL], [ITAL]Harry Potter[ITAL], [ITAL]Supernatural[ITAL], [ITAL]Doctor Who[ITAL], [ITAL]Firefly[ITAL], and more. They also sell earrings of little books and cute pins featuring covers of books as part of their Tiniest Book Club collection, as well as buttons and cards with their unique designs.
Strange Hours Atelier: A spiritual and tarot-themed store with “a keen interest in natural and unnatural history,” the patches that it sells feature designs inspired by tarots and the stars. The store also sells elaborate hats and buttons of their designs as well as intaglio etchings, a traditional form of printmaking.
Hip Modern Soap Co.: Hip Modern Soap Co. sells soap that is “vegan, sustainable, cruelty-free, God-fearin’, child-rearin', pants-droppin', eye-poppin', out-of-rhymes Steel City goodness.” Soap scents include the bright and colorful Carnival Soap, the cool and collected Watermelon Soap, the enigmatic blue Sherlock, and the fittingly fresh Fresh Fig Soap. The store also sells body butter and sugar scrubs.
In addition to featuring local Pittsburgh vendors and shops, the Night Market presented performances highlighting more of Asia’s rich and diverse culture. Carnegie Mellon’s own K-Pop Dance Club opened the night with their fun routines and Tuika’s Polynesian Island Magic lit up the street with their masterful performance of the Samoan Fire Knife Dance.
Live bands such as Steel City Ukuleles and The King Fez Band also played music throughout the night next to the variety of food trucks at the market, which ranged from the handcrafted and unique Stickler’s Ice Pops to the classic and delicious Pgh Crepes to Wok of Life Pgh, a healthy stir-fry food truck playing into the Market’s Asian theme.
Pittsburgh’s come a long way, and the Squirrel Hill Night Market was truly a vibrant celebration on Pittsburgh life and Pittsburgh Asian life, highlighting the city’s history and bringing together the community and the various cultures the town loves to embrace. So congrats Pittsburgh, you’ve made it!