Did you know that Southern California hosts the largest permanent craft marketplace? Well, I didn't. That is until last weekend when I was invited to participate in an "Etsy Craft Party" at Crafted located at the Port of Los Angeles.
I totally dig handmade anything and I so respect crafters who can take their creativity and and share it with others. So, when I became aware of this event, I jumped at the chance to attend.
The whole Crafted wonderland opened for business and enjoyment on June 29, 2012. It is open every weekend of the year (that's 52 weeks of weekends). Parking is $5.00 and entrance to the event is f-r-e-e. Crafted has secured a 35 year lease with the Port of Los Angeles so they plan on growing and evolving for a long, long time. Since opening, Crafted has averaged 3,000 visitors each weekend. They hope to expand the number of guests to 10,000 per weekend, especially as they open up new phases.
Any crafter is invited to apply on line to work and sell in the spaces provided. Before being accepted, artisans are "juried"---meaning, their products are looked at to make sure they are "substantially" handmade locally.
While it currently is primarily a DIY paradise, Crafted plans to offer space to host other events such as bridal showers and birthday parties in the near future.
My evening adventure began with a blogger meet-up at 6:00 p.m.. Bloggers (like me) got a chance to find out about the history of Crafted and got a personalized tour of the complex before it opened at 7:00 p.m.. We also got to meet a few of the crafters and hear their stories of how they got in to their line of crafting. And if that wasn't enough, we all also received fabulous swag bags filled with many of the items on display during the evening.
During Crafted's open hours, guests could leisurely visit the crafting stalls, talk to the crafters, and learn all about the different crafts available. The crafters offering food items were more than happy to give out samples of their yummy goods. There was also a food truck on site as well as beverages to purchase if you wanted something more hearty to eat. And to complete the festive atmosphere, there was a live band playing out in the parking lot.
What was really fun for this DIY-er were the opportunities to try out some of the crafts myself. There were several stations around the complex where you could learn and experience the latest crafts. Most were free, but some charged a reasonable fee for supplies. My first crafting experience was with Mark Montano, author of the soon to be released craft book, "The Big-A__ Book of Bling -- Over 150 Fashilon DIY Projects To Make You Stand Out." Mark demonstrated these cute bead bracelets made out of zip ties, beads, and ribbon. Super easy and super cute. Couldn't you imagine this as a birthday party make and take favor for the 8 - 12 year old set? Or for a fun grandmother/granddaughter activity?
Later during the night, I stopped by a booth that was letting people make their own scissor caddies. The cost was only $5.00 to participate. Not only did I walk away with a cute and practical way to keep my scissors handy, part of my fee went to local charities. A win-win for everyone.
There were all ages, sizes and shapes of people browsing the hall of Crafted. Families especially were enjoying a night out of crafting. You could tell by their smiles that the kids were really having a great time. I brought my friend, Chris C., a fellow craft junkie. It was fun to share my enthusiasm for the event with someone who also loves a good DIY experience..
Which homemade items rock your world? Jewelry? Baked goods? Stationary? Leather-work? Lotions? Candles? Artwork? Fashion Accessories? It's all there and much, much more. If you love and adore homemade goods as much as me, Crafted is the place for you.