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By Arwen O’Reilly

Arwen O’Reilly here, reporting from the No Coast Craft-o-Rama in Minneapolis. The one-day event was held in the Midtown Global Market, so the craft vendors were tucked in next to fantastic food and traditional crafts from around the world. This is The Craft-o-Rama’s second year, and it was packed: almost 1,000 people had showed up by 10 am, and roughly 8,000 had come by the time the fair wound down in the evening. I spent part of my time at the information desk, handing out maps and chatting about Craft Magazine, and part of the time wandering through the halls of the M.G.M. with my eyes popping out of my head. There are some truly amazing crafters here in the Twin Cities, and it was really inspiring to see how excited they all were to be there and to be meeting each other. I definitely accomplished a good chunk of my holiday shopping, and got a few new good ideas, to boot.


Here are a few photos of the crafters I talked to (and there were over 80 crafters, so I’m sorry I couldn’t get to everyone!) whose work I loved.

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Two shoppers filling out feedback forms, using the Craft poster as support.

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Um, hello, it’s a robot, and you know we love robots!!! Particularly this stained glass robot by Unblinking Eye Designs. They have a bunch of cool pressed glass pieces (check out the fun flattened bottles hanging next to my friend Robbie there), but the robot really stole my heart. I love when mediums as traditional as stained glass are used in such irreverent and charming ways.

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This is Sara Lintner. I could hear her peals of laughter even over the din, and was drawn over to check out her great screen-printed clothes and adorable stitched Christmas ornaments (she’s a pretty accomplished graphic designer, too).

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I love Betz White’s cupcake pincushions, but I really love her hilarious swirly mocha-whatever confections with the removable whipped cream. This is genius.

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Miss Amy Jo was a crowd pleaser, with her wonderful prints and show posters (couldn’t make it to see Le Tigre or The Decembrists? No problem–buy the poster and just listen to the cd). Her lighthearted peacocks danced all over her table as she agreed to smile for the camera.

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And this is my friend Jess (well, not really, but that’s the name of her shop). She makes charming onesies and toddler Ts, but the real gems are her party dresses for little girls. Beautifully crafted and with delicious details (like vintage cotton tops paired with dupioni silk tiered skirts and grosgrain ribbon ties), the colors are fantastic and the prints amazing. If only she’d make them in my size…I couldn’t find a website for her, but if you live in St. Paul and you have a little girl, keep your eyes open!

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I also love these mittens from Grove Craft. Made from vintage sweaters with felted or crocheted details, each pair is a delight. (The little kids’ mittens are also super cute–one pair was connected by a long piece of red yarn that was felted on to the tops of the mittens so that they could be strung through the sleeves of a coat.) It’s a great idea done really well.

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Another great idea done well! These are embroidered textile necklaces from Small Motor Designs. I kept spotting Becky’s necklaces around the necks of crafters throughout the day, but by the time I made it over to her table, she was down to just these three. I love the fun mix of abstract and quite, quite concrete (who would have thought of using the clasp of a necklace as the focal point by turning a button into a flower?).

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It always hurts a little to see a book that’s not a book anymore, but Jessica McIntyre’s book purses are so lovely I didn’t even skip a beat. Paper and Thread also has a great line of Gocco-printed cards and some lovely handmade journals, but the book bags are the real standouts.

But that’s not all, folks! I’ll be uploading to my flickr photoset more of the great crafters I met at the No Coast Craft-o-Rama and my further adventures in Snow Country!