July 17, 2007

Interview: The ladies behind D.C.'s Crafty Bastards

The DIY Craft scene is no longer pastel-colored-hair grandmas crocheting over-sized sweaters. In the last several years, there has been an explosion of independent businesses that handmake their own creations. Whether it's out of rebellion against corporate America or a distatse for giving up and in by accepting that cubicle job that sucks all of the creativity out of you, there is a boom of people who want their time and energy to create for a living. This movement, change, surge of creativity has been helped and aided by the amazingly rad people who take it upon themselves to create venues for such a movement.

Events like the 4th Annual Craft Fair Crafty Bastards is a fantastically well-rounded event headed up by Liz, Kim and Sara of the Crafty Crew in my hometown of Washington, D.C. on September 30th. Enderby's Designs will be rocking a hometown booth, and so many more talented, creative and unique vendors will fill the space and blow your mind.

The lovely ladies behind the genius event are super-sweet and cool, and Nest was lucky enough to interview them on their incredible part of the craft movement.

NEST Interview's Crafty Bastards:

When and how did you start Crafty Bastards?
Crafty Bastards is put on by the Washington City Paper, specifically by Kim Dorn, Sara Dick, and Liz Eckstein, otherwise known as the Crafty Crew, who plan and organize every aspect of the event. The idea originated in the heart of the Classifieds section. Through our free ads, we create a community marketplace where people can sell goods and services directly to each other (we've been doing this for
decades). We had been tossing around the idea of hosting a big citywide yard sale. In the spring of 2004, the indie craft movement was just getting its legs and we decided it made more sense to do an arts focused event since that's the focus of our paper. Our publisher is a huge supporter of the arts and theatre and pretty much gave us free reign.

Why DIY?
Alternative paper, alternative craft. DC has a long history of punk music and the DIY scene. We wanted to seek out artists and crafters who you did not get to see in stores or galleries. The indie craft movement dovetailed nicely with both our classifieds marketplace and our art-driven editorial side; it provided accessible art for people to buy.

What are some of your style icons and inspirations?
Icons: Hello Kitty, Robin Hood, Hunter S Thompson, Bjork, Frank Zappa, Emma Peel, Willie Nelson, Veronica Mars, Ali G, Bear Grylls
Inspirations: trees, birds, fish, youthfulness, nonsense, circles, kindness, sass, Italian ice

What are some of the things you consider when going through all of
the applications?

We ask that each applicant submits 3 images of their work. First of all, we look at whether the craft is handmade. That is the primary requirement. After that, it's a matter of measuring the craftsmanship, the singularity of the work as in can you find this anywhere else other than at other alternative craft fairs. And there's the excitability factor. You hear a lot of "Oh, I'm so going to buy that!" in our jury room. We have a range of jurors from different departments at our paper as well as one of our freelance art critics.

Who are some of your favorite indie designers?
There are so many! Shannon Mulkey of the Ice Collective, All Dressed Up and Shy, Friend or Foe, Tsai-Fi, Heather Wells of Bright Lights Little City, gregmetal, Jenny Harada, Daisy Lacy, Damned Dollies, Bossanova Baby, Supermaggie, Rachel Bone of Red Prairie Press. We could go on for a while.

What, if any, earth-friendly habits do you incorporate into your
business routine?

Well, we're a newspaper but we do print on post-consumer recycle paper! We hand out thousands of free tote bags (made of recyclable materials!) at the event. It encourages people away from plastic bags. A main goal of the fair is to buy directly from the artists and craftspeople. Don't consume factory-made goods!

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