A group of hip local artists and crafters will show their works off at a local event
Indie Reno, dubbed “The Biggest Little Craft Fair in the World” by its creators, is an event on Saturday, Nov. 20, showcasing the wares of independent artists and crafters in the Reno area. It’s the first event put on by Handmade Hustlers, a group of local artists and crafters who have shops on Etsy.com.
Etsy is an artist-oriented online marketplace for buying and selling handmade goods. The site hosts over 80,000 artists and crafters worldwide. Handmade Hustlers is an Etsy team started by Bean Paulson and two other women who are no longer part of the group. Etsy.com describes Etsy teams as “groups of organized members who network, share skills, and promote their shops and Etsy together. A team forms around a shared location, crafting medium, or another interest.” Handmade Hustlers officially became a team in January 2009.
There are numerous advantages for the artists in being part of an Etsy team. Besides the networking opportunities, Etsy provides support for teams and allows for shops that are part of the team to be searched as a group.
“Etsy sponsors a lot of stuff for us,” says Paulson, who applied for a grant through Etsy to help Handmade Hustlers with this event. “They gave us $300 to put on this craft fair. It’s good to be a part of a team because of socializing, sharing marketing experience and ideas, how to get more sales.”
Handmade Hustlers was the first Nevada Etsy team and consists of more than 40 members from all over Northern Nevada—there are members from Reno to Winnemucca.
From this online community, a local event has coalesced. Thirteen vendors will participate in Indie Reno, which will take place at the VSA Nevada headquarters in the Lake Mansion, 250 Court St. The fees the vendors paid to participate in the craft fair are going to VSA Nevada programs.
Each of the crafters has also donated some of their handmade goods to a raffle that will be held the day of the event. Tickets will be sold for $1 each or five for $3. The money from the raffle will go directly to support children’s arts programs and scholarships at VSA Nevada. There will be multiple raffle winners, and some of the prizes include a cigar box purse, various hand-sewn items, jewelry, accessories and artwork. You don’t have to be present to win the raffle; Handmade Hustlers is happy to arrange local pickup or to ship the prizes to anywhere in Nevada or California.
The vendors have also gotten together and donated multiples of some of their smaller items so the first 25 people through the door for the event will get a free bag of swag. Everything in the bag is handmade locally by the various artists and crafters. It’s incentive to get to the event early, also ensuring you’ll get first pick of the goods.
Among the 13 vendors, all of whom are women, is a huge variety of cool, useful, and pretty things to be found.
Argenta Collaborative is the creative endeavor of Charlene Gey, a student at the University of Nevada, Reno. The goods she makes for Argenta Collaborative and for her other Etsy shop, The Yearning Robot, cater to a sort of art nerdiness and those who are geeks for retro videogame culture—think Pac-Man, The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. As a student, Gey has been able to incorporate her creations into her university art studies minor.
“It’s cool to incorporate that into my major,” says Gey, referring to her artwork. “This is something that I’ve wanted to work on. Mostly I do it because I enjoy it. I’ve been involved in crafty kinds of things since I was really young.”
At Indie Reno, she’ll be selling her original artwork, framed cross-stitches containing text and recognizable references to video games. For example, one has an image of a heart made out of Tetris pieces with the last one falling into place and text that reads ‘You Complete Me.” She’ll also have items made out of Perler beads formed into mini Game Boy-shaped magnets and Rubik’s Cube coasters.
Cicely Mendoza of Cicely Margo makes shiny, sparkly jewelry out of plastic rhinestones that look like candy. Heather Long of Chickadee Child sells handmade goods for children. Heart to Hand Waldorf features handmade items donated from friends and family of Heart to Hand Waldorf School in Reno, with all proceeds going to the school. Michelle Wirth of An Enchanted Notion makes whimsical headbands featuring bunny ears, cat ears, and miniature hats in the steampunk tradition. Another vendor, Zizzies & Izzies, run by Shelly Jackson, makes clothing and accessories for kids and adults out of eco-friendly materials. Her hats are made from fabric out of upholstery sample books, and she also makes cloth-diapering accessories.
Erin Donnelly Ellis is a silversmith jeweler and creates one-of-a-kind silver pieces with stones she has mined herself. Her husband is a lapidary artist and cuts the stones she uses in her jewelry. Ellis is also a photographer and sometimes combines her photographs into her silver work. She will also have some of her photographic prints for sale.
The downtown angel tree will make its debut at the show. It is the third annual tree sponsored by Dharma Zephyr Insight Meditation Community and benefits kids living downtown in weeklies, motels and shelters. Last year, 127 kids received donations from the angel tree.
Rachel Kaiser, a printer and bookmaker, will sell her hand-bound books and prints at the show under the name Velesia’s. She’s been a bookmaker for four years, and all of her books are unique creations.
“[Bookmaking] is really different from the other art that I do—which is sort of very fun and whimsical and strange,” says Kaiser. “But the books are very structured and very linear and very meticulous and that’s not like anything else I do. It’s nice to have that alternative.”
Her printed work ranges from relief prints to screen prints and monotypes and will be available as matted prints or framed prints. Kaiser also makes cards, printed T-shirts, hardbound sketchbooks and planners, and miniature blank books.
“I’m going to have stuff from $2 to $80,” says Kaiser. “So you can come grab some bookmarks or you could buy one of my prints or one of my cased-in books.” That price range is comparable to most of the Indie Reno vendors.
Bean Paulson of Coyote Craft makes hip, patterned needlecraft items, like patchwork stockings with embroidery, heirloom tomato pincushions, and fruit-shaped hot pads. You will also be able to find handmade olive oil bath products by Stephanie Manus from The Dancing Grasshopper, unique beaded jewelry by Tammy Gabel from Tamara Beaded, guitar pick earrings and cigar box purses by Paige Warner of Pursenally by Paige, and crocheted and hand-sewn hats and headbands by Miss Fitts 13 Originals.
If you’re looking for something fun, unique, handmade and local, you might find it at Indie Reno, just in time for the holidays.