Roc Girls to Know: Meet the Women behind Mayday! Underground

Photography by Emily Patten. See her portfolio HERE.

Tell us your name, age and what you do.
Erin Gursslin, I’m a 37 year old full time artist and owner of Sunshyne Silverwear.

Jessica Goodenbury, 31, and I run Puccoon Raccoon Jewelry.

Amanda Preske, 28, owner of Circuit Breaker Labs.

Casey Wright, 34, I’m the owner of Peaches Products.

Give us a little history (how did you come together and form Mayday! Underground)
ERIN: Casey and Amanda had been running Mayday! Underground by themselves for a number of years before I came on board. I had been a long time artist vendor at the market, then we all became friends as we continued to do shows all over the state and beyond together. One night, in a hotel in Utica, I proposed the idea of seeing Mayday grow with the addition of sponsors. A year or two later, when Casey was pregnant, they brought me on board to try out the sponsorship idea while taking on some of Casey’s duties. We all worked together so well, that they kept me on as one of the crew.

JESSICA: I joined Mayday after offering to help with planning our Mini Mayday while Casey was pregnant. I love helping and seeing all the behind the scenes details, I’m so grateful to be a part of it.

AMANDA: Casey Wright and I started Mayday! Underground in 2010. The indie craft scene was still growing and many amazing indie craft markets were only located in large cities. While some small indie craft shows had popped up sporadically in Rochester, a large, consistent market didn’t exist, so we created Mayday! Underground. The very first show was on May 1, 2010 in the basement of a warehouse on St. Paul St, so the show name was created to be a combination of the date, location, and character of the show. Our goal with the show is to curate a fresh collection of gritty, wacky, beautiful, and trendy handcrafted items from artists across Rochester and beyond. Every show is held in the Village Gate atrium, which is a gorgeous, eclectic space filled with bright colors, sculpture, and industrial charm, which suits Mayday! Underground perfectly.

CASEY: Amanda and I were doing small craft shows together, and started talking about what we did and didn’t like at shows.  I’d always had this idea about how great it would be to run a show, but I’m more of an idea generator and not so great at organization.  Amanda is a perfect complement to that. Together we came up with the name (Mayday since it was on may 1st the first time, underground because our first venue was the basement space of an old factory on St Paul) and just went from there.  

Tell us more about what you do:
ERIN: I reach out to like-minded local businesses to ask if they would be interested in backing our completely volunteer run indie craft market. I also put together half of the artist spotlights you see on social media as we near the show. I’ve always admired shows that took the time to highlight their artist before an event. It gets the patrons excited about what they might see and gives exposure to the artist that they may not otherwise have.

JESSICA: I make a lot of the promo images, help with the spotlights, and a lot of the odds and ends jobs that need doing.

AMANDA: My specific role to producing Mayday! Underground is mostly marketing and budgeting but I also act as the team leader. There are a lot of small pieces that need to fit together to produce a successful event, so I work to make sure everyone and everything is running on schedule.

CASEY: My main duties for Mayday are jurying, replying to emails, doing the booth layout, and handling the sound system and coffee the day of the show.  

What are your favorite things about Rochester?
ERIN: There is so much to love about Rochester. I was lucky to have been born in this amazing, progressive, open minded city. It is a great place to be exposed to scores of different cultures and ways of life. The amazing food, music and art scenes rival the biggest of cities while being an affordable place to make a home. I do a lot of traveling for my art business, but after a long trip, crossing the border into the city always puts a smile on my face. There is no place else I’d rather call home.

JESSICA: I love Rochester because it’s a big city, but still small enough where I run into friends and everyone feels like they know each other. It’s a pretty tight knit community that feels very interested in supporting local artists, and that fills my heart with pride.

AMANDA: I’ve only lived in Rochester for about a decade (I’m a transplant from Syracuse), but my involvement in Mayday! Underground has brought me closer to Rochester and the people that call Roc home. Having held Mayday! at the Village Gate for so long, I’ve developed a strong connection to the people there. I absolutely love grabbing a bite to eat at Salena’s, Get Caked, or the Gate House. I also love Rochester’s love of the arts, with so many festivals and events to keep me busy most of the year. As a complete science nerd (I do have a PhD in Chemistry after all), Rochester is perfect for that side of me as well. I frequent the RMSC and planetarium, and with so many RIT and UR alums in the area, I can geek out with others when I’m exhibiting my work.

CASEY: I’m a huge bird nerd and volunteer on the owl banding team at Braddock bay raptor research.  Most people don’t realize it but we’re in a major migration flight path here. I also love how there’s such a strong appreciation for the arts here. Without so many people taking the time to come and support the artists and the show. It never could have kept going for this long. I can’t believe it’s been seven years already. I’m excited to see where we are in another seven years.