Architects and designers showcase handicraft and talent


Katherine Tsvirkunova

Artisans who vended at the festival got the opportunity to sell their wares and to bond with the community.

With mass-production businesses booming on the market these days, local artisans often struggle to find ways to showcase their talent. The Excavating Treasures festival created a stage for small businesses to demonstrate their handiwork and crafts, as well as to raise money for charities.

Formed by the Commercial Interior Design Program (IIDA), Excavating Treasures features vendors selling their jewelry, paintings, cards, prints, and more to support food-centered programs in East San Jose. The event, on November 14, was held in the Insidesource Showroom in San Carlos.

This year, the event brought the community together to support their partner, Veggielution. Veggielution is a community farm in San Jose, California, that aims to connect people from diverse backgrounds through food and farming. They utilize a unique community farm model that mobilizes volunteers to cultivate and grow healthy crops, which are then made available to their program participants and other residents. Veggielution was founded by three San Jose State University students, looking to bond food and farming into a community.

Katherine Tsvirkunova
Crafts and handiwork like these coasters were sold by the vendors of the festival.

The festival was initially started for artists and designers within the architectural interior-design field to present the small-businesses and hobbies that they manage apart from work. Now it’s become a tradition to kick off the holiday season and an excuse for everyone to come together and show a different side of their creativity.

Alisha Coelho, one of the vendors this year, displayed her hand-made acrylic art on items such as coasters and board paintings, and her pen-and-ink drawings. Coelho, who owns “AltCDesign,” was also a vendor at the Gilroy Garlic Festival and the San Francisco Pride Parade this year.

“The variety of art present here at the festival brings out all of the aspects of the community, which is what personally inspires me to come out, and design more myself,” Coelho said.

Attendees, like Alex Ligman, got the opportunity to walk around the different booths that flourished with vendors’ artistries, and even purchase some if they liked.

Katherine Tsvirkunova
Lines of tables were stacked with an assortment of snacks for attendees to enjoy.

“I like the cohesiveness of bringing all these different architects and designers into one cool atmosphere. The premise behind all this shows that it’s all curated and local, which we lose touch of these days with everything being mass-produced,” Ligman said.

Ligman, a fellow architect, works for a manufacturer for Insidesource, an office furniture store in San Carlos.

Another attendee of Excavating Treasures was Paul Gordon, who was there for his fourth time.

“You get together with a lot of co-workers in a non-work setting, and then you get to buy something for your wife, your lover, your neighbor, or your kid. I bought a painted rock! My wife would love that,” Gordon said.

The architectural and design community get together around the same time each year for the festival, paving opportunities for the various vendors aspiring to share their work with others.

“There’s not as much of an appreciation today for the people that spend actual, real-time creating something unique. The environment here helps shine a light on those who do,” Ligman said.