On Wednesday morning, Lana Williams arrived at the Monument Square Farmers Market with 22 hand-painted scarves, hoping to intrigue shoppers buying organic berries and melons.

Amid the street artists, musicians, produce tents and flower vendors, however, Williams struggled to get noticed, and packed up after two hours.

Soon she may not have that problem.

The city is considering establishing a weekly crafts market, possibly on Thursdays in Monument Square. The market is in the early stages of planning, but under the current proposal, it would only allow homemade, made-in-Maine items.

Williams, who moved to Portland last month from Nevada, said she would welcome the new market.

“Portland is a great city with a lot to offer,” she said. “But for craftspeople, it doesn’t seem like there’s really any place to sell your stuff, outside of the Etsy (website) and other places on the Internet.”

Dawud Ummah, president of the Center for African Heritage, first raised the idea of a crafts market at one of the city’s health and recreation committee meetings earlier this month.

He originally conceived of the craft sales as part of an International Farmers Market on Mondays, where Mali immigrants could sell homemade drums and others could sell silk scarves, wood sculptures and jewelry. Other committee members, however, said crafts deserved their own day.

“There’s a lot of really talented craftspeople in Maine,” said City Councilor Dory Waxman, who owned Casco Bay Wool Works for many years. “They deserve a unique place to sell their creations.”

A lot has yet to be decided about the proposed market. The day and location have been only preliminarily discussed. The committee also needs to figure out how much permits would cost, and design an oversight system that ensures only homemade, Maine-built crafts are being sold.

The city must also find a balance between jewelers, metalworkers, sculptors, woodworkers, clothing makers and other craftspeople, officials said. And what happens if too many people sign up? Who would then get spots at the market?

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” Waxman said. “But we’re going to start working on it right away.”

Mary Costigan, a lawyer for the city, is drawing up a first draft of the proposal. She plans to present it at the health and recreation committee’s Sept. 20 meeting. Once approved at the committee level, the proposal would then go to the Portland City Council for final approval.

If Monument Square were the location, Costigan said, the city would set up the entire square as a festival area. That would preclude street artists without permits from being allowed to set up.

According to the U.S. Supreme Court, street artists don’t need permits to set up on the sidewalk and sell their products. But the city can circumvent that by designating an event as a festival.

Letting street artists set up side by side with craftspeople who need to pay to get permits for the market could create tension and confusion, Costigan said. “Artists can still set up across the street or anywhere else,” she said. “They just wouldn’t be able to set up right in the square.”

Waxman said she didn’t know if precluding street artists would create some sort of backlash. But she said they’re allowed at the farmers market and most other events, so it seems fair that craftspeople have a day and area designated

“It’s about sharing,” Waxman said. “We’ve got one big sand box and we need to figure out how to make it work for everyone. But I think it’s only a positive thing.

“If people knew they could buy a painting one day and a beautiful, homemade sweater the next, I think we could draw a lot of people downtown and give a lot of craftspeople a chance to make a living.”

Jason Singer can be reached at 791-6437 or:

[email protected]