Chicago's DIY Trunk Show (PHOTOS)

The Chicago Craft Mafia held its 7th annual DIY Trunk Show in Pulaski Park’s field house on Saturday. With 95 vendors participating, it was a hippy-hipster wet dream.

Rose Lannin of Wonder Wheel makes necklaces with antique train tokens as pendants.  Lannin buys the tokens for her pendants from collectors on ebay who view the tokens as worthless. The coins have no value  since “they’ve been handled by a million people”  but to Lannin, that makes them even more appealing. A number of tokens even have inscriptions explaining the metal used is from parts of the train, doubling the recycled value of her necklaces.

Christina Ward was hesitant at first to let me photograph her Creatures, and my subsequent conversation with her confirmed my suspicions about some trunk show goers coming to scope out the merchandise so they can make their own at home. Ward explained why she is protective of her creations since her craft is like a “full-time job in hours, but not in pay”. Besides stuffed animals, Ward also makes quilts and rugs, anything to “get her creative ya-ya’s out”.  This is Ward’s first year at the DIY Trunk Show.

Leah Parkhurst of Rustbelt Fiberwerks observed the shopping patterns of the day, saying “everyone’s been taking their time, making conscientious choices, which is a good thing”. Amanda Shell of Whirleygirl Designs seconded the notion, explaining that while people aren’t buying as much as she’d like, she has received “a lot of custom orders”.  This is Shell’s first experience at the DIY Trunk Show: “It’s been fun. I will definitely come back next year.” Amanda Shell is also a mural artist and has worked with Chicago Cares.

Amy Carlton, a DIY Trunk Show co-founder, believes that this year was their biggest turn-out.  Carlton explained via e-mail that the CCM receives a couple hundred applications for the 95 booth slots at the DIY Trunk Show, so each application faces a jury in order to ensure there isn’t too much of the same thing.

…we always reserve a percentage of all the spaces for crafters who are new to selling — DIY is some vendors’ first or second show. It’s really important to us to encourage new craft businesses and get more people involved in the handmade revolution. We keep our vendor fees low for the same reason.

-Amy Carlton

Laurie Freivogel of Kiku says the DIY trunk show is “one of my favorite shows” and this is her 6th time. “There’s a nice craft community in Chicago, people really know each other and support each other” Freivogel adds. Lydia Krupinski of Pierogi Picnic elaborated: “The DIY movement is intense and I’m excited to be a part of it. The Green movement and the crafters are codependent and intertwined and in the last 2 years it’s exploded here in Chicago.” Krupinski was also a DIY Trunk show virgin, but has been making her own clothes for “a long time”.

Toys by Steff Bomb, Dog Sweaters by Lucky Penny Hand Made, Edgewater Soaps by David Melis, Rings by Blue Lala, hats & knits by Enjolive + LBO Studio, Feltmates by Yoko Nomura, Reuseful Objects, prints, paper by laurageorge, artwork by Emily K Berman, Bobby-Jean of Kitty Grrlz, Christina Ward Creatures, artwork by octophant.us, cloth products by Qylaar, knits by Girl With a Hook, Circa Ceramics

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