30 November 2008

Craftsexy, Pt. 1

This year I worked the door, giving people little blue x's if they wanted to leave and reenter the premises. Hundreds of people came, economic downturn notwithstanding. Perhaps it was this very economic downturn that caused the surely overtaxed-though-dizzy-with-relief-just-not-to-be-laid-off writer at the no doubt terrified-by-economic-downturn-and-therefore-cutting-costs
Journal Sentinel to mistakenly report the event was free. Who has time for the costly measures of, you know, checking last year's stories or, like, peeping the Art v. Craft website in the tense post-economic downturn newsroom?

At any rate, I enjoyed this year's event much more. I met Max Estes, the soon-to-be-no-longer-local cartoonist and creator of My Life As a Bunny. (He's moving to Norway.) It's obviously not his fault--but I expected him to be more cuddly. But a man who frequently features his cats in his work obviously has a great deal going for him. Max also has two books out Hello, Again and Coffee and Donuts. I also saw Milwaukee art scene It Boy Colin Matthes, Josie Osbourne, Melissa and JW Buchanan of The Little Friends, and several of the usual scenester suspects. I got a look at Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design, which features Michigander Melissa Dettloff. Yay!

I was impressed by three vendors in particular. Rustbelt Fiberwerks hails from right here in the Riverwest 'hood in Milwaukee. Artist Leah Parkhurst, who has a BFA from UWM, crafts items like t-shirts, aprons, and placemats. Her work is charming and affordable. She has an etsy site, of course.

Skirts by Orangyporangy of Madison are dead cute! It's not just polyester anymore, girls! The designer Natalie makes dresses and tops now, too.

I love ceramics and wish I did them myself. So, it stands to reason I would love Chicago's Circa Ceramics. Made by Nancy Pizarro and Andy Witt, their wares come in candy store colors and feature retro-y graphics. I bought the magnet in the photo above for a typewriter-loving friend. Their ceramics are also available at the store at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

All in all, I enjoyed myself immensely. I saw all different kinds of people there, including two men--one of them Packers-jacketed--and a little boy and several middle-aged women. So, it's like people are starting to think, Yeah, this is a Milwaukee thing.

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