BUST Magazine’s Craftacular is an annual (mini) extravaganza that in its breadth showcases the hard work and raw talent of independent artists across illustration, makeup, home decor, baked goods, drinks, clothing, jewelry, and accessories. The fair’s popularity has admirably grown in the last few years. Developed into a respectable haven for discovering former unknowns by critical attendees, it’s, more importantly, a fun space for BUST readers and curious shoppers on the search for more organically cool fashion compared to what they can find mass-produced at Urban Outfitters, LF, and Forever 21.
This year, Craftacular was also expressed in London, England. This was major, and goes swimmingly on cue with the evolved pattern of other conventions that cater to particular subcultures such as Afropunk and Beautycon, who held events in NY, LA, but also Paris, France, and London.
BUST held their American spring editions back in April and in October, operated a Makers Faire event with a specific focus on wearable and edible technology. That was in Queens, and BUST returned the Craftacular to Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Expo Center on Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11 for the holiday season.
Late Sunday morning around 11am, the weather was chilly, but wouldn’t be frightful until later around 3 o’clock. Enthusiastic Craftacular guests lined up to to pay the humble admission fee of $3. Promptly afterwards, all were giving black canvas bags that read “TOTES FEMINIST” with the latest issue with Rose McGowan on the cover, some goodies, and a generous “Baby” charm necklace by Williamsburg shop Brooklyn Charm inside. A mix of BUST staff and volunteers insisted through loving hoots to take a coconut water from the big canister of Harmless Harvest before taking on the 25+ vendors that awaited them.
The atmosphere of Craftacular was cordial, almost affectionate. Having attended past similarly minded fests or fairs where vendors sold their homemade goods or collectibles, past vibes felt desperate or more evident, pushy. Not here, where even the Expo Center was inviting with its floor to ceiling windows allowing the light sun from outside to permeate, and off-white paint job complimentary of the array of colors by the brands to co-exist without clashing.
Particular indie brands were on the checklist that I was eager to whip out my wallet out for. The DJ was playing Bjork’s “Big Time Sensuality” mid-way through my first stop at heavy metal heaven aka Snash Jewelry. Based in Brooklyn and with ties to Boston, MA, Snash is favored for its flirty, flippant, and campy sayings and words on rings, and an assortment of bracelets and necklaces. They offer tons of rings to choose from that day “Guacamole”, “Titties”, cities, artists, and slogans like “Bad Bitch.”
I had an ebullient conversation with Mary Jo, who was wonderfully whimsical in her color blocked baseball hat and a Rosie O’Donnell Show t-shirt. For a deal of $90, I bought “Girl Gang” and a “Prince” tribute ring(s) and learned that Mary Jo and I both went to one of the elementary schools in the Brookline, MA district. (She: Baker. I: Lawrence).
I proceeded to I browse up and down and around and around Craftacular. I gave my money away to Wildflower for three patches, including one of their most popular designs, a bubbly Rose Champagne. This patch is unfortunately experiencing art theft by the much larger mainstream brand Marc Jacobs for his current ’80s inspired denim collection that rides on the current flair trend of pins and patches.
I took home two items, a patch and 2017 calendar, by illustrator Scott Lenhardt. His huggable character of the 24 Hour Woman captured me undoubtedly. She appears to be a human, but there is something anthropomorphic about her. I should’ve confirmed this while chatting with Lenhardt. He was smart to include in his display, short animated films of his Woman doing mundane activities such as putting in an air conditioner and dressing/undressing. I commented that his drawings reminded me of the satirical cartoons in The New Yorker. Lenhardt smiled approvingly because my commentary was mutual amongst other viewers of his work.
That’s another thing that was great about Craftacular. While it is pro-women artists and brands just like the magazine, artwork and projects by men or that included men were welcome. I don’t now how else I would’ve discovered the 24 Hour Woman without BUST. The one complaint that can make about Cratfacular is that I wish more women of color had volunteered to participate. Many indie companies by Black women and the Latino community can be found on Instagram, and it’s always enjoyable to see their inspiring work in person.
Naturally, a Planned Parenthood booth was present. Donations for as little as $2 were accepted in return for guests making a button of their choice backing the famed reproductive rights cause. I chose the bright navy of “We Won’t Go Back.” I willingly donated $10 to Lady Parts Justice League, another non-profit that uses the arts as means to combat the discrediting and overall war on women’s rights and sex education by mainly the Alt-Right. It was very clear from the associate I spoke with that they were disgusted by the current President-elect and his impending Administration. I happily had that same person apply a gold tattoo of a golden uterus as a sign of support.
LPJL are kind but occasionally flippant. They were selling a few items such as lipstick to Christmas ornaments that recreated bloody-ended tampons. #girlpower
I bought a pin from Pintrick and a three nail polishes by cheeky independent beauty brand Floss Gloss. Founded in San Francisco and now located in Brooklyn, the polishes are continuous odes to the ghetto-fabulous fashion of ’90s hip-hop, early 2000s gaudy swank, and the ladies who lunch that sip their wine with their unabashedly sassy mouths. Though I am acrylic-less at the moment, I will garnish my eventual new tips with either Party Bruise, Candy Paint Job or Palazzo Pleasures.
I left the Craftacular with an Orange Pop seltzer drink by upstate New York label More Good. It tasted pretty damn good and is a nice alternative to a traditional soda.
Their last stop of the year will be in Boston, MA on December 17 and 18 at the Cyclorama. If you’re around, come by. You’ll find really great products for the vanity shelve to the bathroom and support small businesses during this competitive holiday season!
Stay tuned for a vlog from Craftacular in Boston!