"I remember walking past his pillows," recalls Shannon Okey, who's organizing this weekend's Bazaar Bizarre outing at 1300 Gallery. "And he had cocksucker embroidered across one of them. Too bad I didn't have the money for one."
The show features plenty of other holiday gifts for your tattooed, pierced, and profane loved ones, including books, masks, bags, and various "stuffed creatures."
"I was hanging out with friends and said, 'Wouldn't it be cool if there was a craft fair for people like us?'" says Der Ananian, who founded the craft fair from his Los Angeles home in 2001 before expanding to Boston a few years ago and Cleveland (with Okey's help) after that.
Despite being held in only three cities, the craft show -- which, Der Ananian says, he started to attract people who wouldn't normally be lured to homemade projects -- recently spawned a book, Bazaar Bizarre (subtitled: "Not Your Granny's Crafts"). "I wanted to include projects that people could take in their own direction," says Der Ananian. "I didn't want the crafts so tied to their own aesthetic that they couldn't be manipulated to [people's] own tastes."
The book includes such DIY items as Anarchy Soap, Trashy Quilts, and Sock Monkeys. Directions to make each and every one are included. "I really just picked [objects made by] my friends and people whose crafts really typified what this was all about," says Der Ananian, who also makes Fagnets -- magnets adorned with gay-porn pics. "The basic techniques for the projects are there, but you can also try your own designs on them."
Der Ananian became interested in crafts at an early age. "My mother took me under her wing and taught me knitting and cross-stitching," he says. "I learned early that being able to make something from nothing was extremely rewarding."
And even though Bazaar Bizarre obviously aims for customers under 40 (the tip-off is the book's logo: a menacing skull with a pair of crossbones-inspired scissors), that doesn't mean Mom won't find something to buy and put under the Christmas tree. "It definitely appeals outside of its target demographic," says Cleveland's Okey. "But there's nothing out there like this."
And amid all the silk-painted T-shirt patches and jewelry made from old vinyl records that populate both the book and the craft tables, Der Ananian still finds fresh items that floor him. "There are so many awesome things at the bazaars," he says. "I always walk away saying, Why didn't I think of that?" -- Michael Gallucci
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