Delilah Snell Is a Patchwork Kind of Gal

Delilah Snell has a lot to celebrate these days. The just-turned-35-year-old ("That's real adult!") Santa Ana lifer owns the Road Less Traveled, a storefront that sells environmentally friendly items and hosts an assortment of DIY workshops and classes. (Want to learn how to brew your own beer? Bake buns, rolls and sandwich bread? How to produce your own Podcast?)

Snell (the girlfriend of our Gustavo Arellano) also runs Backyard In a Jar. An Orange County Master Food Preserver (it exists!), Snell partners with local farmers and gardeners to create jams and pickles—which she sells out of her totally adorable turquoise 1968 VW Westfalia "Jam Van." On top of all this, Snell is the event manager for Eat Real, a ginormous food festival coming to Culver City in July.

But if you ask the hundreds of local crafters and artisans who are part of the modern DIY movement? Snell has helped mainstream the handmade revolution.

Info

Patchwork Indie Arts patchworkshow.com. Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Patchwork Santa Ana, 2202 N. Main St., Santa Ana. May 29, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. For more info, visit roadlesstraveledstore.com and backyardinajar.com, or call (714) 836-8727.

In 2007, Snell's niece Nicole Stevenson had just returned from a poorly attended craft fair in San Clemente, and she was depressed. "There were five people there. I know there are more talented people in Orange County," she explains.

This got the pair thinking: Why doesn't Orange County host great indie craft fairs like Los Angeles, San Francisco and other cities? Then Snell realized she had the space to host one.

"Hello?" Snell says now, laughing. "We're in OC! Let's just do it!"

Stevenson then called up her crafting friends, and the parking lot located in the back of the Road Less Traveled turned into the inaugural Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival, a bi-annual event showcasing locals. Though successful and growing more and more with each year, Patchwork never exceeds 150 booths: "We don't want to overwhelm shoppers," she says, "and we like to keep it well-curated."

A little more than a year ago, Snell and Stevenson added Long Beach Patchwork, which will feature 150 booths this year (Santa Ana will have 140). Snell looks forward to a more services-oriented Patchwork this year, with {open} books hosting an indie book fair, Fingerprints hosting live bands, and craft stations hosted by former Weekly cover gals the Long Beach Craft Mafia. Snell says Patchwork plans on expanding even farther in the fall—to Culver City and San Diego.

Orange County seems to have really opened up to the DIY movement, she says. "There are so many people who are sick and tired of going to LA to see anything exciting—they're just excited to have a day."

 

This column appeared in print as "A Patchwork Kind of Gal."

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