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Feasting on unique handcrafts

Posted 12/24/2013 12:55:00 PM

As the organizers of Crafty Feast like to say, “This isn’t your mama’s craft fair.”

The juried craft show happens once, sometimes twice, a year in Columbia. More than 300 artisans apply to be part of each event, but only 100 are chosen to meet and greet customers and give their best in-person sales pitch for their unique crafts that include using gourds to make chickens that look like they are the stars of a new “Angry Birds” game, repurposing vintage clothing to make bowties and hand-weaving delicate cotton scarves.

Many of the vendors also sell their wares on Etsy, but craft fairs like this one let them meet a crowd of potential customers who prefer a little more art in their arts and crafts.

The event is sometimes held in conjunction with another arts festival in Columbia or independently. It is usually at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. It is an unbeatable deal at $2 per person.

One of our favorite vendors this year – even though we don’t wear ties – was Titanic Alley. Russell Sox makes his bowtie creations from vintage clothes he finds at thrift shops. The material, he says, is usually in great shape and offers unique patterns that you just can’t find anywhere else. He also likes the idea of repurposing something that is likely just going to be thrown own and, let’s be honest, it keeps his costs down.

“I can get a bunch of ties from a old pair of golfer’s pants or a skirt,” Sox says.

He has created designs for several different styles and makes each one by hand. The ties sell for $30-$40 and Sox – who isn’t giving up his day job – makes them when he has the time and finds the right material.

The company name comes from an old Columbia neighborhood that stood a few blocks north of Elmwood between Main and Sumter streets. It has long since disappeared from maps, and Sox is looking for folks who might remember it or have information about what happened to it.

Another artisan we fell in love with was Teri Goddard Handweaving from Greer. She says her hand-woven clothing, scarves and other accessories are inspired by the art of Claude Monet. She sells her items online and in stores around the Southeast, including Daly Designs on Main Street in Greenville and City Art on Lincoln Street in Columbia’s Vista area.

Crafty Feast was founded and is run by Debi Schadel and Tracie Broom who also own a public relations and marketing firm in Columbia call Flock and Rally.