Feeling Crafty?

Alicia Balkrishna here exploring her crafty side . . .

It’s a Craigslist world . . . and I have a new roommate. After a weekend of unpacking, the newest member of our household unveiled her room. ‘What an amazing bedspread,’ I mused as I admired the texture and richly-colored panels of her bedding.

‘Oh, thanks, I made it myself,’ she said casually – as if whipping up handmade home décor was no big thing. Suddenly, the vintage sewing machine on her bedside table made perfect sense.

I pondered: When was the last time I actually made something by hand? I thought I’d certainly score when a friend’s birthday popped to mind, but I remembered that I’d opted for flawless Citizen Cake cupcakes over the fuss and mess of baking. Convenience: 1. Craftiness: 0.

There’s truly something to be said about the care, creativity and craftsmanship that goes into making a handmade object. Working on behalf of the American Craft Council at LCI, I’ve had the pleasure of being introduced to hundreds of artists who create one-of-a-kind work that’s unlike anything you’d find on the mass-production line. And, I’m not alone in my thinking. From Berkeley-born ReadyMade magazine to the Craft Haven Collective, the Bay Area has become a hotbed of do-it-yourself (DIY) makers who might craft a handbag from old jeans or transform recycled food cans into shadow lanterns.

So, what’s a gal who’s lost touch with her crafty side to do? I say, if you can’t make it, buy it. I’ll get inspired by supporting local and visiting artists. Before I know it, I just might ask my roommate how to use that sewing machine. . .

Check out these Buzzworthy craft events in San Francisco:

· Renegade Craft Fair (July 17 – 18 at Fort Mason Center): Back for its second year in San Francisco. Two-hundred artists will sell handmade wares, from clothing and accessories to stationary and concert posters and more.

· American Craft Council Show in San Francisco (August 14 – 16 at Fort Mason Center): Handmade designs in home décor, furniture, fashion and jewelry from 250 local and visiting artists at the largest juried craft show in the West. The ‘AltCraft’ category showcases eclectic work from indie artists. Shop, sample wine and meet ‘HandMade Nation’ author and filmmaker Faythe Levine for only $5 after 5 p.m. at a new ‘5 after 5’ Friday night event.

· HandMade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design (August 14 at Fort Mason Center): Filmmaker Faythe Levine will screen her 2009 film on Friday, August 14, at the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco. The film documents the growing community of indie crafters that blend historic technique, punk culture and DIY ethos. Following the movie, Levine will host her first-ever director’s Q&A in San Francisco.

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  1. david Reply

    I always believe that buying is better than making. . .especially when you have artistic talent like I do. Can’t wait for the American Craft Council show. Cheers, David