Crafters decorate shoes, gift boxes at CAFAM workshop

| November 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

ETSY crafts night takes place at CAFAM on Museum Row.

Shortly after the launch of Etsy, the eBay-like marketplace for handmade items, local crafters descended on its Brooklyn headquarters for hands-on meet-ups. These regular events were so popular Etsy followed up with craft museums in San Francisco and Los Angeles to schedule similar community nights on the west coast.

Since its inception last year, the monthly Etsy Craft Nights at L.A.’s Craft and Folk Art Museum have snowballed with a growing number of participants making hip projects while rubbing shoulders with serious designers.

For a nominal fee of $7, the event, held the first Thursday of every month from 7 to 9 p.m., includes instruction, a swag of high quality materials, beer, snacks and admission to CAFAM’s current exhibition for inspiration. Think: fabulous projects crossed with hip art opening.

In October crafters assembled zip-tie bracelets—blingy brooches at the recent November meeting. Scheduled for  Dec. 6 are custom holiday cards and gift wrap with a body art project slated for Jan. 3.

This session will be led by bi-monthly host Mark Montano.  The star of three series on the Style Network and Learning Channel, Montano has a devoted fan base who travel  hours for his every-other-month Etsy Nights at CAFAM.

Regular attendee Sheila Goldsberry from Oxnard first got to know the charismatic Mark when she bid on him in a silent auction in Orlando. She won one hour of crafting with him, but the session quickly turned into a fun friendship with the effervescent designer.   “He’s quite a character, you never know when he might break into singing Celine Dion,” explains Auxy Espinosa, the photographer of Mark’s 11 books, which include the recent “Big-Ass Book of Bling.”

Etsy Craft Night participants range from children to seniors, even couples on dates like Robert Schied and Nora Hertsted from Hancock Park, who attend monthly.

Two employees from Southwestern Law School started attending Etsy Nights last year with the law school’s contingency now swollen to 14.

“We began a SWLS Etsy Facebook page,” says Rosalva Lara, who has her own Etsy online store. “He’s adorable,” Rosalva describes Montano. “He helps you, showing you how to get through a difficult part of the project, then he just sits down and says ‘let’s gossip.’” Her favorite project was a redesign using old shoes. Other popular Etsy Night projects have been paper-cut prints led by designer Sonia Romero and gift box toppers with Jeannine Stein.

Julie Schneider, Etsy national creative community programming lead, describes the Craft Nights as empowering local makers to learn something new and connect with one another.

Montano describes the vibrant packed events as the best place for straight guys to meet girls: “There are 100 creative, interesting, beautiful women and three guys.”  He explains “It’s one of the few events in L. A.where guests are not intimidated by sitting next to a stranger and talking. There’s lots of sharing going on over the projects.”

Drop-ins are welcome but reservations are recommended to the monthly Etsy Craft Nights at  CAFAM is located at 5814 Wilshire Blvd.

By Renee Montgomery

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Category: Entertainment

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