December 13, 2011
I was one of the people who (in my own parts imitative and parts mildly inventive way) Put A Bird On It before It was a slogan. I, along with my friend Larissa, was a vendor at an original early version of Crafty Wonderland, on Mother's Day years ago at the Doug Fir. Yes: I had birds on things (and, actually, birds). Now Crafty Wonderland is a full-on extravaganza, complete with thousands of customers (16,000, this year) and a convention center locale.
Walking into the convention center late on the second day of the extravaganza was eerie -- it was a souped-up, echo-ey, blinding version of the one at which I'd vended so many years earlier. Oh, yes, marginally better light. I watched the crafty, local-loving people wandering around, never looking at faces because there was so much stuff to look at instead. I watched the vendors, alternately yawning; staring hopefully at the eyes of passers-by for buy signals, ready to jump up and offer their hard-labored wares; and frantically making more.
At one booth I saw two or three people with quiet portable sewing machines, making more of whatever they were selling. At 4:30 on Sunday -- with less than two hours to go for the weekend -- it almost seemed sad. Not that I couldn't relate to the impulse.
I had forgotten my wallet (not that I had the money to spend, anyway), so I collected photographs and business cards of my favorite vendors. As I still can't afford to buy their beautiful things, I thought I'd share with you -- maybe you can buy some of this great stuff and assuage my guilt as (in some cases) I sew it myself.
Polly Danger Notions. Folding scissors and fabric-covered buttons were sweet and lovely. But it was the handmade bias tape that had me falling over myself to grab a card. Such a great idea -- I've made my own bias tape before and it's a time-consuming process, hard to accept when you're already spending a bunch of time on some lovely project and just want to get on with it already.
lisa johnston-smith functional ceramics. Line-drawings of animals and insects and vegetables seems to be very much the fad this year (Portlandia, are you listening? Put a beetle on it? Put a beet on it?), and these lovely bowls and vases and mugs are supposed to be "made for everyday use." Awesome. I wish I could afford to drink out of one of those mosquito mugs every day!