Dutton has a diorama of sorts as a display for her crayon fawns—the display is covered with AstroTurf and features a psychedelic sky, trees and even a river. Two slightly terrifying mannequin heads with mouths ajar, acquired at the Old Towne Orange Antique Mall with her grandmother, proudly display her cupcake hats.

Cooper is set up next to her, with a hand-painted display rack to hang her bags—one with a picnic-watermelon-and-ants theme—and her newsprint wallets and zippered bags propped up for display and ready to go.

Lee and Dutton were the first to arrive at the space earlier that afternoon—only to find some sort of mysterious towel dripping with some sort of mysterious liquid. Even after the offending towel was disposed of, the rest of the afternoon alternated between smelling whiffs of dog shit and whiffs of vomit—depending on which way the wind blew.

The Long Beach Craft Mafia
Jennie Warren
The Long Beach Craft Mafia
DIY or die
Jennie Warren
DIY or die

The event was to run from 4 to 10 p.m., and it only spanned one city block, but foot traffic was steady with young couples, older moms, children, and even the occasional skater and hipster. The other tents sold organic hand soaps, beaded jewelry, original art.

Laura Harjo, a Rancho Palos Verdes resident visiting the Art Walk that day with her daughter, had heard about the event through MySpace. She had come back for a second glance and finally purchased a Kelso Doesn’t Dance newsprint wallet for $12. Harjo says she enjoys supporting independent artists and designers whenever she can.

“Well, I’m starting at the beginning of the supply chain. So instead of going to Target and spending money there, I’m going straight to the ladies who are making it.” She pauses. “And it’s cool,” she continues, lifting her shopping bag with her new vinyl wallet inside.

Frequent Art Walk visitor Katie Stayner, 29, who lives in Long Beach and works at local bar and venue Que Sera, purchases a cupcake hat. “I’m really into handmade stuff because I guess I like to hand-pick everything that has to do with me,” Stayner says. “You know, what people create here—it’s art, and it’s functional. I really like enjoying those kinds of things all the time and surrounding myself with that. It’s not contrived. It’s handmade; it’s from the heart.”

That Saturday’s Art Walk ends up being an unusually slow event. Seasoned crafter Calvert says craft shows can be like that. “There are definitely days where it’s really super busy and it’s going like gangbusters, and other days are just one big ol’ goose egg.” For most artisans, online sales through sites such as Etsy are still the best way of getting your name and your product out there.

But slow sales from an uneventful Art Walk won’t deter any of the crafters.

“Part of it,” begins Calvert slowly, “is that human beings as a whole like to create stuff. That’s just how we are. People—humans, they make stuff. And when you do, it feels good.

“Buying from an artist like me, you actually have some kind of relationship with your item. You’re buying it from the person who made it, and it makes it more special.

“And that’s what I like about buying on Etsy,” she continues. “What people on there are trying to do is what I’m trying to do. That’s my whole thing: I just want to make stuff. And you know, when I’m buying on Etsy and at craft fairs and other people are buying on Etsy and at craft fairs, you’re supporting people who just want to make stuff.” She smiles. “That’s all.”


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