For the past three and a half years, Crafty Wonderland (craftywonderland.com) has arguably been Portland's most consistent means to plug in to this town's vibrant craft scene. This week sees the annual Super Colossal Holiday Sale, an event so immediately popular in these climes that it had to be moved to the Oregon Convention Center after its home at the Norse Hall proved insufficient to meet the demand from the public. It coincides with another evolutionary move to condense Crafty Wonderland operations to just two large-scale events per year (the next is scheduled for the first weekend in May), drawing to a close the monthly installments at the Doug Fir. I spoke to founders Cathy Pitters and Torie Nguyen about the shift, and about what's in store for Sunday's sale.
MERCURY: Tell me more about your decision to discontinue the monthly events.
CATHY PITTERS: I really want to stress that Crafty Wonderland is not a victim of the bad economy! We saw that the big shows were more of a destination event that brought in much more money for vendors, plus the work on our end was more concentrated so we could have more downtime.
Many of the people in the craft scene have been optimistic that the economic crisis could have a beneficial impact on the craft world. Do you still feel that way?
CP: I think Portlanders are diehard supporters of buying locally made goods and that they are thinking even more about keeping their dollars local now that the economy is suffering.
TORIE NGUYEN: It's my observation that people are spending less, but thinking more consciously about where they're purchasing things. That certainly helps the DIY movement gain more attention and encourages people to either make something themselves or support someone else who made it.
What can we expect from this year's holiday sale?
CP: This year's holiday sale is seriously our biggest and best sale to date! We have an all-star lineup of over 200 super-talented artists and crafters, 200 goodie bags, local authors doing demos and book signings, a full bar, and this year we are proud to team up with the Community Warehouse, a local nonprofit agency that collects and redistributes donated household goods to individuals and families in need.
With the monthly events ending, how will you use the extra time and energy?
TN: The Super Colossal shows take months of preparation... but at least with this year's schedule we'll have our summers off! We're excited about having more time to organize some new craft-related events. (Crafty Wonderland's Super Colossal Holiday Sale, Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE MLK, Hall D, Sun Dec 13, 11 am-7 pm, free, all ages)