Sunday, December 7, 2008

No Coast Craft-o-Rama

No Coast promo illustrationI've been a fan of the Midtown Global Market since before it opened. It's an indoor shopping and restaurant mecca located in the former Sears Roebuck tower in South Minneapolis along Lake Street, a busy former streetcar line that has become a key part of the city's Latino community. Usually I stop in to eat at the Holyland Deli (great buffet!), look around, listen to whatever music is playing, and then pop over to Uncle Hugo's science fiction bookstore (the oldest science fiction bookstore in the U.S.), which is across the street on Chicago Avenue.

Yesterday, however, I had an additional reason for making the trip. I had seen a few ads for something called the No Coast Craft-o-Rama, and could tell it was part of the alternative, buy-local economy movement from the way the ads looked. (Maybe it was the 9-year-old with the mohawk in the illustration that clued me in. Who knows.)

Anyway, it was great. I love seeing a big collection of human creativity, pouring forth from basically regular people, all in one place. And, of course, it's a way to spend my money to support both artists and the local economy. Favorites:

Miss Amy Jo's silk screen posters. This young woman is very talented. I had seen one of her works earlier at the Poster Offensive show at the Black Dog coffeeshop during the RNC, and thought it was the best one there (and there were a lot of good ones). I couldn't resist buying a couple of her one-of-a-kind test prints, where she has overprinted parts of several different posters on the same sheet. The colors and textures are incredible. She told me that she is always sad to sell one, and that she does keep some of them (I'd love to see those. They must be amazing if she considers the ones she had at the show not as hard to part with!). She's asked people who buy them to send her photos of where they ended up. I will have to remember to do that for her.

Woman with sock monkeys
Hazel & Melvin's sock monkeys. Available in both one and two-headed varieties. Rebecca Yaker (pictured) also had wool mittens with a variety of two word phrases knitted into the palm side; one set said Minnesota on one mitten and Nice on the other; another said B---- Slap (not very Minnesota nice, but funny on a pair of mittens).

Banner Creations was selling large carrying bags that looked like colorful canvas, but were actually made from recycled pop bottles. Another vendor had shoulder bags made from big pieces of former billboards.

Magenta knitted mohawk hatOne of the funniest things I saw were hats by Infantile. Hand-knitted (or maybe crocheted? my ignorance is showing, and I didn't look that closely) and very warm, these hats each featured a mohawk made of yarn. It would take a brave adult to wear one, but on a baby who doesn't have any choice, it would be the cutest thing since... sock monkey hats.

No Coast is run by a nonprofit organization called Crafters Local 612, but it sounds like No Coast came first, and the formal organization followed. I talked to one of the founders, Tracy Parker, and she told me she got the idea for a craft fair when her mother retired. Her mom didn't know what she was going to do with her time, so Tracy told her to start crafting, and she (Tracy) would set up a craft show where she could sell her stuff. The show, first held in 2005, has grown from 2,000 shoppers to somewhere close to 10,000 (it sure seemed like it when I was there). There were about 110 vendors this year.

I'll be on the lookout for next year's show in advance and plan my trip a little better. At least I still managed to stop by Uncle Hugo's afterwards for some new and used books.

1 comment:

elena said...

Wish I could have been there: very cool. It's so much more fun to shop that way.