Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fairly Crafty go to Kraftbomb

Kraftbomb crowd

For most of this year I have been meeting once or twice a month with a loose group of radical crafters. Its lovely to sit and stitch in good company, and there is a warm camaraderie of skill sharing and growing friendships. After months of indecision we defaulted to calling ourselves Fairly Crafty. We thought it would be fun to go on a field trip one month, driving up to Auckland to check out Kraftbomb, the indie craft fair at the Grey Lynne Community Centre.

Pretty ribbon rose hairclips

It just so happened that we visited on Kraftbomb's first birthday. There was full house, with lots of colourful sellers selling colourful wares to lots of colourful punters. With plenty to look at we did several circuits around the two rooms carefully checking everything out before we make out purchases.

Geek Freek's Cheerio (sausage) plushies

Kraftbomb had plenty of variety in terms of media. As well as a range of textile crafts (sewn, screenprinted, embroidered, knitted, felted and creative upcycling) there were paper crafts (lots of maps), plenty of jewellery (especially badges, brooches and hair clips), and clay, polymer clay, zippers galore and someone laser cutting silhouettes from old vinyl LPs. Mostly things seemed pretty reasonably priced, with all sorts little inexpensive items to suit tight budgets.

Align CenterCute cupcake pincushions

Thematically I felt like there was less variety though. As well as the usual florals and polka dots there were lots of cartoon characters and monsters, and ironic/kitch/childhood nostalgia for the under 50s. Lots of native birds (the best of these by far were by Birdspoke).

Birdspoke's beautiful embroidery, plushies, jewellery etc

It seemed to me that one of the most popular themes is representations of food, especially cupcakes. There were a couple of people selling real cupcakes (though I only tried the meltingly tender vegan marshmallows), but more people seemed to be selling cloth cupcakes. The most divine faux foods were by a couple of sweet Japanese (I think) girls who had exquisitely handstitched bonbons, cookies and cupcakes with such verisimilitude that everyone thought they were edible until we read the signage. They were so perfect and yet so underpriced for the quality of workmanship.

No, you can't eat them

As Anna said, the best thing about Kraftbomb was the funky, alternative craft inspiration, and she loved seeing what people were doing with different materials. I bought a couple of tiny gifts but to be honest Kraftbomb didn't give me as much of a retail thrill as wandering down the road to Harvest Healthfoods- but then I probably spend waaay too much time on Etsy where one is spoiled for choice. I had hoped to find some zine sellers, but the nearest was a self-published book that didn't appeal to me at all. My single most coveted item there was Geek Freek's beautiful embroidered anatomical image of lungs in grey on white, and I loved it because it looked like something I would make. I also liked the felt needle cases which I would certainly make good use of (my birthday is only a few months away so I will live in hope).

Kraftbomb was fun, my roadtrip with Anna and Meg was lovely, but I think my favourite experience in Auckland on Sunday was coming across a wall of poster poems which included a wonderful piece by Michele Leggatt. Michele has just finished up her term as New Zealand's first poet laureate and done an awesome job. I am thinking about approach to the role a lot, since I begin today as the Writer in Residence at Hamilton Girls High School.


Casey said...

Make your next trip international & bring Fairly Crafty to Melbs x

Carol said...

I hadn't heard of Kraftbomb before - will have to tell my Auckland friends to watch out for it next year. Your Fairly Crafty group sounds ideal - I'm slowly finding like minded people here in my new home territory, which I must say is reassuring because for a while I felt as though I was in no-man's-land, but not so and there's lots out there if I just make the effort. All the best for your Writer in Residence stint. You'll be great.

Anonymous said...

Writer in residence! Wow, colour me impressed :)

Sorry to have missed you at K'bomb -- will have to try harder next time!

BirdSpoke said...

yikes, Meliors, please photoshop some eyes onto my Photograph!