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Originally published Friday, December 7, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Editorial notebook: Behold Seattle’s DIY culture

Urban Craft Uprising is Seattle’s largest “indie” craft show. Editorial writer Thanh Tan checked off boxes on her Christmas shopping list while feeling satisfied she was supporting artisans.

Seattle Times Editorial

Urban Craft Rising

For more information: http://urbancraftuprising.com/

The summer event is scheduled for July 13-14.

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How I wish I could knit a sweater. Maybe build something cool. Or paint a pretty picture.

I’m just not that talented.

If I were, I would be embracing the “do-it-yourself” trend and making all my Christmas gifts this year.

Time is running out, you say?

Urban Craft Uprising to the rescue!

Last weekend’s winter show at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall made up for my severe lack of creativity (and time, really). It was like Etsy.com came to life for two days.

Urban Craft Uprising, which takes place twice a year, isn’t your grandmother’s holiday bazaar. Not a single reindeer sweater or Santa Claus in sight.

Instead, the entire hall was abuzz with hundreds of youthful faces from around the Northwest. More than 100 vendors sold handmade crafts that were more timeless than Christmas.

Some might dismiss these artists as idealistic hippies. I view them as Seattle’s new creative force; small-business people working one or two day jobs while they pursue their passion projects on the side.

Imagine a concrete hall transformed into a DIY Candy Land: hand-sewn pillows, robot figurines made from scraps, remodeled vintage radios, and quirky one-eyed felt monsters.

I bought a stack of brilliantly colored holiday cards from a guy who looked more like a modern-day Paul Bunyan than mixed-media artist.

A few tables over, I met a wood crafter from Maine whose sister binds books in Seattle. Together, the siblings create hand-bound wood journals and photo albums.

I had to support them, too.

When you talk to these artists, you get the sense that self-sufficiency and sustainability are important to them. So is their sense of community and tradition.

What they’re hawking isn’t always cheap, but it feels good to know my money is in some small way recognizing their time and efforts.

Thanh Tan


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