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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thing 67: Crafty Bastards

Portrait of Michael Jackson, yarn

Ya'll are some crafty bastards, DC. Does anyone need a yarn-woven portrait of Michael Jackson? No. Of course not. But you kind of want one now, don't you?

In that last weekend of September it was still blissfully summery. Downright hot and sweaty as we wandered from crowded booth to crowded booth at the City Paper's annual Crafty Bastards festival in Adams Morgan. Over 100 local and regional crafters had turned out to showcase and sell their wears, from the beautiful to the practical to the wacky to the downright ridiculous. If you thought recycling was boring, you must visit the crafty bastards next year.

Caitlin Phillips of Rebound Designs makes book-bags. As in, purses made from the hard covers of used books.Rebound Designs' book bags That purple one is Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. While they are adorable and all, I was concerned about the books that were stripped naked for the making of crafts. When I asked Caitlin what she did with the multitude of naked books running around coverless, she assured me that she donates some of them to other local artists for their art projects (is there a paper mache sculpture of an octopus that originated as Harry Potter VI somewhere in the world?). But mostly, she told me, she just has a lot of coverless books on the shelves of her apartment. You can still read them just fine, she reminds me.

Old sweaters found new life as cute, 1920s reminiscent winter caps with huge flowers at A. Bel I just don't knowStudio. Plastic flowers and scrap metal became an elaborate diorama.

There was plenty of jewelry - all kinds of beading and metal work, which I browsed through until I broke down and bought a green plastic necklace that says 'avocado'. There were postcards and journals, pillows and magnets, skirts and dresses and hand-printed tee shirts. Crafty people seem to really like buttons. There were many, many buttons for sale, the tiny kind that say something witty (my favorite: "Tim Gunn '08"). I've never seen anyone wear these buttons...where do they all go?

Buttons for sale!If you got hungry wandering beneath the hot sun, Sticky Fingers bakery (the vegan bakery) had a booth, and so did Cake Love (the anti-vegan bakery). I was excited to try a vegan cupcake, but by the time I felt peckish they were completely sold out. So I went over to the butter lover's Cake Love booth, and darn it, they were sold out too. Expect a post about the Love Cafe and their seasonal pumpkin cupcakes, soon.
If the vast array of crafting was not entertainment enough, there was a DJ on one end of the fair, and a live performance venue on the other, which featured spoken word poets and emcees and even a break dance battle at one point.

Crafty Bastards is eclectic and creative and sometimes downright weird but it is hard not to be inspired by these people who know how to create something new and different from old things most of us don't give a second glance to. Where I see a magazine, they see a new shelf that can hold your keys, your loose change and tell you the time. I see scrap of fabric, they add a clasp and suddenly it is a tampon case. You may not have known you needed one, but now that it exists in the world...well, you kinda want one, don't you?