Beehive Bazaar

Posted December 2, 2009 in

Gentry Blackburn

Christmas Blows Everywhere Except The Beehive Bazaar

I've been trying to ignore 2009's ever-impending holiday season since a few months ago. But yesterday I walked into a Smith's to get my nightly Bachelor Meal – one Totino's Party Pizza, one High Life tall boy and a pack of Pall Mall lights – and, to my dismay, heard Taylor Swift singing “Santa Baby” over the store PA. It's undeniable: Christmas is coming, there's nothing I can do about it, and I am officially in a pissy mood.

“Christ. Make that two packs,” I muttered to the shopkeep.
The plain and simple fact is that Christmas is only fun for the following people: small children, spoiled collegians, and orphans who are too socially awkward to have any friends or significant others. For everyone else, Christmas in America is a veritable Kilimanjaro  of obligation, guilt, financial acrobatics, and endless lines. There are the family visits which require a Marlon Brando level of method acting in order to uphold the flimsy pretense that you actually get along with the mutants who spawned you. There are the holiday parties, which, if not overpopulated with elderly lizard people, are overrun with Hipster Douchebags trying to one up everyone else on who has the most God awful Christmas sweater. Tacky decorations everywhere. Hoards of soccer moms who are morally prepared to shiv each other like prison denizens over the last Rocky The Robot Truck in stock. Every ounce of chimpanzee shit that TSA can fling at you, should you be masochistic enough to travel.

And then there are the presents. This is the sovereign bellyache. Because you have too many people who will all require a gift, if only to stave off the inevitable guilt you will feel when they show up at your door with a gift and walk away empty handed. All those friends, kind of friends, relatives and ex-girlfriends that you want to win back mean that you'll have to pinch pennies so hard that you can hear Lincoln screaming and wander around Borders looking for the right individual trinket to toss at all the ravenous mangy dogs you know. If you're like me, then Yuletide is one more reason to wish you were born a Yid, right up there with having a better shot at a Jewish Princess with overworked gums who squeaks when she cums.

But take heart, consumer! Because there is a way to skirt a significant portion of the nuisance in a few short hours. What miracle be this, you ask? Simple. Get in your car, get over the played-out arch-snobbery that keeps you north of Point of the Mountain, and drive your ass down to Provo for the Beehive Bazaar.

Spearheaded by Molly Call and Noelle Olpin, the Beehive Bazaar is a semi-annual craft fair for people who aren't dried-out old ladies. Not that dried-out old ladies aren't welcome, in case there are any grandmas out there who would actually venture onto SLUG Magazine's web site. But the Beehive Bazaar is definitely not the place to find aprons with tired jokes about diets and cat lady chotskies. Think of it as the place where all the coolest girls you know (and a couple of very talented dudes) get together and peddle their affordable homemade wares. In one fell swoop, a person can come to the Women's Cultural Center in Provo (310 W. 500 N.), get an armload of gift items and be done with Christmas, at least until next year. Don't be too optimistic. There will be some lines to stand in. But in these lines, people sell you delicious treats and there is a significantly lower number of screaming children. Take a look at what some of Utah's best and brightest are offering in the way of unique, interesting and just plain funky-ass crafts!

Gentry Blackburn
The proprietor of Salt Lake's delightfully silly and ubercool boutique Frosty Darling is offering handmade stuffed animals that make me wish I were secure enough in my masculinity to sleep with a tiny pink elephant. “I walk the line between bold and fun and comforting and nostalgic,” says Blackburn of her crafts. In addition to stuffed toys, she also has made a wide variety of accessories, including jewelry, magnets and wallets that will make you want to spend money, just to have an excuse to look at the colorful pictures inside. P.S. Blackburn officially became a woman after my own heart when she took a portable mini-bar and decorated with a portrait of Harry T. Stone, Bull, and Roz from TV's “Nightcourt”. I don't know if it will be at the Bazaar, which is good, because I will slit the throat of anyone who purchases it before I can. You think I'm joking around here? Try me.

Sherisa Bly
“Lately I’ve been drawing pictures, mostly of forests and mushrooms and little girls and robots…things that make me happy,” says local artist Sherisa Bly. Flora and fauna have never looked more interesting, whether in a framed photo or screened onto an apparel item. Mushrooms have never seemed so innocuous. But beware! Bly's creations, while very fun and seemingly innocent are somewhat deceptive in their cuteness. There's something vaguely off-putting about a robot in love. However, only the coldest of hearts will care that her automatons are clearly violating the Three Laws. The rest of the world is just going to stare jealously at your screen printed leggings and dress.

Scott Rawlings
One of three dudes proving this year that crafts are not just for housewives and skinny girls with bangs, Scott Rawlings describes himself as “a non-traditional leather worker.” Meaning that his belts are made from recycled materials and do not predominantly feature rattlesnakes, eagles, the state of Texas, or anything else that you may find in the world of holding your pants up. “My drive is to deliver a fresh way to accessorize.” Protecting oneself from plumber's crack has never been so damn cool.

Olivia Wilkinson
Do you love the warmth and comfort a scarf can offer you, but despise figuring out what to do with that perplexing scarf tail? Do you stand in the front of the mirror for hours wondering whether you should tie it into a knot down the front, or let the damn thing flutter and flap in the wind, Norman Rockwell-style? Well, cut it out! Because Olivia Wilkinson has taken the tail out of the equations, by creating “deliciously fat and cozy scarf-wares.” Wilkinson's scarves are a full circle of thickly woven glory. Think of a headband designed for Andre the Giant, but you wear it around your neck, because you're not a gargantuan freak of nature. Just slide your melon in through the hole and let your previously frigid neck thank you. Wilkinson also has crafted a stuffed creature for anyone in the family – ghosts, squids, owls, and some animals that she has personally invented. And for those of you suffering the repercussions of not using a condom, space mobiles. You know, for babies who love space. Or for anyone who loves space, really.

Stephanie Higgenbotham
Okay, so you already have enough scarves to accessorize a giraffe. Your pants are in no danger of cascading round your ankles. You have enough flora and fauna and robots on your clothes and you're not really into “Night Court” (heresy!). Still everyone's gotta eat, even in 2009, the supposed future. I'm as disappointed as you that we have not yet reached the age of the Meal in Pill Form. I feel downright betrayed. But the upside is that we still get to enjoy delicious treats, even if they are obsoletely larger than a pill. Stephanie Higgenbotham's cupcakes are so baroquely frosted, it's almost a shame to eat them, and they appear so sweet, it may send you into a diabetic coma just looking them. Eating one will definitely do it. Grab a few to eat while you wait in line, but be sure you're wearing your medical alert bracelet.

Nikki Jackson
Nikki Jackson loves stained glass, but is smart enough to know that “it isn’t practical for us all to have a cathedral window in our house.” So, what's the solution? Smaller stained glass! It's still stained glass, but now it fits almost anywhere in your home! Why didn't we think of this before? Call off those serfs! Send them back to their hovels with their Christmas meat and tell them that work on my cathedral is on indefinite hiatus! Now that I can have smaller glass, quarrying all the stone seems like unnecessary work.

Seriously, though, if you're reading this – if you are the type of person willing to read an online crafting exposé  by a mongoloid who can barely velcro his shoes, let alone knit - then this might be the perfect Christmas gift item. Let me explain. You probably have parents or siblings who are super hard to shop for because anything cool enough to make you say, “ooh, I should get that for so-and-so” might also be way too out there for them to possibly enjoy. And I'm not saying that the members of your family are backwoods, gristle-sucking hillbilly mutants – specifically. I'm simply saying that a person of eclectic and unique taste might be in a quandary when it comes to choosing that perfect gift. After all, they say you should give people gifts you yourself would enjoy receiving. Well,  I know I personally would enjoy a portable mini-bar with the cast of “Night Court” painted on the front – but my mother neither finds humor in the unorthodox judicial stylings of the Honorable Harry T. Stone, nor could she possibly appreciate the power and pleasure of a good Kentucky Bourbon. Sad I know. But also aggravating, because now what do I get her? This is why Nikki Jackson's mini stained glassworks are so perfect – they're appealing in a very non-specific way to a lot of types, without being generic or bland. You don't feel like you're just buying a non-stick wok for your mother and writing her off as a dullard who stares blankly at you when you do a perfect imitation of Nostradamus “Bull” Shannon's signature catch phrase “ Ohh-kay...”

This is a very limited number of blurbs, highlighting a very limited number of artists, amid the plethora of talented designers, crafters, and confectioners who are setting up their booths at the Bazaar even as I type this. Seriously, there's something for everyone at the Beehive Bazaar, and this might be one of the few opportunities this holiday season to do all of your shopping in one fell swoop, assured that you've bought everyone you know something particular and interesting. After that you can spend the rest of December watching A Christmas Story, chugging an eggnog every time someone warns Ralphie that he'll shoot his eye out. Or caroling. Or whatever it is that well-adjusted people do to celebrate Christmas. In any case, get down to the Beehive Bazaar and get that ass-pain of a shopping excursion out of the way.

Gentry Blackburn Scott Rawlings Olivia Wilkinson Sherisa Bly Stephanie Higgenbotham Nikki Jackson