Meghann Griggs, Mary McClaugherty, Kali Mellus and Sonya Evans of Craft Sabbath. Photo: Michelle Emerson
While I was hanging out with Bea Dazzler (this super fierce RGDQ/designer), I coaxed her into helping me patch a pair of my favorite skinny jeans. While I sat crafting my pants back together, I realized how much I missed sitting around a good old-fashioned stitch and bitch with my girlfriends. My craft (besides my word and wit) is hair, specifically wig making–a talent I’m proud to say that landed me a job with the San Francisco Opera plus a Tony and Emmy credit. There has been a lot of buzz about the first annual Craft Lake City coming to the Gallivan Center on Aug. 8. It’s about time we get our own “Bazaar Bizarre.” It makes perfect sense that Salt Lake has master crafters lending forte and finesse, simply because it’s a huge part of culture and history. I realized, regardless of my personal opinion, Mormon handcraft is an important part of Americana folk art. Some of the coolest things I came across in my research were elaborate shadow box flower arrangements, made completely of hair. These can be seen in a couple of the historic houses at Heritage Park.
I needed to get to the bottom of this craft, so I hunted down the organizers of Craft Sabbath. This Salt Lake Magazine award-winning pageant of four women meet on the first Sunday of every month to smear their craft on the walls of Nobrow coffee shop and gallery on Broadway. (The next Craft Sabbath lands on August 2, from 12–4.) I recently met with the ladies for a private viewing of their goods and to check out the level of craft SLC has running down its streets.
Mary McClaugherty (firstname.lastname@example.org) had quite possibly the cutest craft. Her monster dolls are button-eyed imaginaries with mischievous characteristics. Two of them were lovingly named Toot and Rebler by her 4-year-old Ryder, who was also sporting one of his mom’s mod-prim feathered hair clips. McClaugherty also makes baby slings of chinoisorie, night-lights with creepy baby faces and, my favorite, belt bags made of upholstery fabrics that could be very functional for the kind of jobs that hip, young people have. Her selection was the largest, rounding out with jewelry, bamboo coasters and becrafteled, clip-in hair extensions.
Sonya Evans (email@example.com) pulls provocation from being a mom to a 4-year-old and 8-month-old. Her pickings are extremely well thought-out, screen-printed tees, dresses, hoodies, baby rompers and bungee bags, sporting subjects including poppies, bikes, jellyfish and owls just to name a few. She’s extremely dedicated to her business and can also be found selling her wares weekly at the Downtown Farmers Market in SLC and at the Park Silly market in Park City.
Kali Mellus (firstname.lastname@example.org) has been traveling to bazaars and earning a living with her art for an impressive seven years. It’s no surprise––after all, it’s in her and brother artist Derek Mellus’ blood. At first sight, her accessories have a fantastic 60s-like modern design. On closer inspection, you find hardware encapsulated in resin creating the geometric shapes. Her work with belt buckles opened her world to leather crafting a unique, hand-dyed belt collection. Her first love, sculpting, is apparent in the attention to detail.
Meghann Griggs (email@example.com) crafts feather clips and embroidery. Griggs is completely self-taught when it comes to her stitching. Upon hearing this confession, I immediately looked for flaws in her vital organ pillow set and sugar skull tea towels. I also inspected her tote with pin-up space girl and couldn’t find a single one. The way she displayed her feather hair clips and hand-made earrings on blue tulle totally brought out the old French whore in me.
Craft Sabbath debuted with its “Holiday Bazaar” last December at Kayo Gallery, and from there decided to keep the crafts coming monthly and feature a different artist each month. Past participants have included Xkot Toxsik, Tim Thompson and Sarah de Azevedo. Carmen Nydeger will be guest of honor Sunday, September 5.
Feeling completely full of it, I needed to find where a girl could make a craft around here. My connections lead me to Craft Macaroni and Girls, a group of ladies from all walks of life—housewives, mothers and career gals who meet once a month at local artist Tracy Strauss’ spacious south city work studio. Organizer Felicia Bacca of the band Azon (who owns a Michael Jackson doll … jealous?) says Craft Macaroni and Girls has grown into friends of friends hanging out with red wine and doughnuts crafting. Don’t get too excited about attending their next meeting though, as new attendees must be invited to join the ranks of the Craft Macaroni and Girls. The group chooses a new theme each month, and each attendee brings and shares relevant materials.
On the night I attended, the project was silk screening. I had no silk screening experience, so I was really excited and showed up with t-shirt in hand. All the crafters brought their own fabric remnants, art books, stencils and tracing paper. Bacca provided me with a stack of print outs to put on my shirt. I had trouble deciding between the scissors or the canary, but in the end, I chose the fowl craft. We all sat at a huge table in the round, clucking over computer graphics and carbon paper. Everyone helped instruct me on cutting out the negatives and gladly shared x-acto blades with one another.
To my left, fellow crafter Lindsey Heath worked on a bleach-faded denim swatch of fabric that she was stenciling to use as a bass drum cover for her band Kid Medusa. On my right, Dallas Russell embroidered a “D” on a patch of yellow gingham. Russell has been busy gearing up for CLC, and also sells crafts at Frosty Darling, which is a mecca for local goods. After carefully cutting out my artwork, I had Strauss take me through the actual printing process. I decided to use both the cut-out and the outline to give a reverse negative/positive feel running down the left side in red, and it turned out awesome! My friends will be just thrilled to hear me talk over and over about me being a clothing designer, too. I left the group with bird craft on my shirt feeling very satisfied.
My love for craft is back and I think I’m going to try and get some of my friends to craft with me regularly. Simply hanging out with a creative vibe is some positive energy the Princess could use in her life. The best part will be coming up with a name, like OH CRAFT! I think our first project will be to shellac Ritz and Wheat Thins then cover them in Swarovski crystal olives and such, calling them craft on a cracker. Then maybe next year I’ll have a booth at CLC.
Dallas Russell, Kali Mellus and Sonya Evans are all going to be flinging craft At Craft Lake City August 8 at the Gallivan Center.
Please stop by the SLUG booth that day and say hi. I’ll be hanging out with the SLUG crew, hand-making a wig (it’s a pretty crazy process). It should be a beautiful day to hang and check out fiercely steaming piles of craft.
Keep your eyes posted this month for my new blog on SLUGmag.com, where I’ll be covering and posting cool goings-on in the city.