Crafting holiday spirit …

David McAtee

The Whistlestop Bar in South Park hosted a craft fair Dec. 1 featuring more than 15 local crafters and designers.
The event was organized in conjunction with the South Park Walkabout, a neighborhood event that has been getting South Park residents out of their houses past dark since 2005.
Jennifer Hughes, one of the two main organizers of the Craftabout along with Tina Fellow, is a founding member of the People’s Republic of Craft, an offshoot of the People’s Society for Knitting and Libations. The PSKL meet every Sunday afternoon at the Whistlestop to knit interesting and modern minded crafts and, well, drink.
With the first Holiday Fair Walkabout in 2005, Hughes saw an opportunity for “lots of local crafters and artists who needed to meet and share and sell their wares in South Park and Golden Hill.”
With the throngs of neighbors and residents that cruise out to stroll the blocks of local independent businesses that line Fern Street, 30th Street, and the surrounding area during the frequent Walkabouts, it’s no wonder the connection was made to allow for a wider spectrum of exposure for local crafty folk.
The range of crafts being displayed on the first was refreshing. Instead of the age-old notion of homespun Americana, with whittled wooden hearts emblazoned with rustic stars and stripes patterns, you’ll find throw pillows covered on one side with Ed Hardy-type tattoo designs and on the other with a sensuous velour fabric, replete with tassels about the corners.
Replacing the image of macramé plant hangers were Jolly Roger and Loteria themed photo albums from master crafter Stefanie Histed, representing Made With Luv alongside his and hers skull and crossbones baby bibs. Meanwhile the booth in the corner sold silkscreened t-shirts and kitchen towels along with “Cuddle With The Virgin” miniature pillows shaped like Our Lady of Guadalupe and marked with the recognizable iconography, from Pokeydog.
For local advice zinesters Amber and Danielle, the main idea behind their participation in the craft scene has been to “support local crafters, artists, and writers. Buy local.”
With Christmas zipping up to meet us at the end of the month, most people will be racking their brains to try to figure out what to buy as gifts for people. But according to Hughes, the spirit should be spent somewhere else. “Making your own art, books, music, food, etc., provides people a sense of creativity and expression that buying stuff doesn’t.”