ONE OF MY PREFERRED leisure activities is to troll Etsy with a glass of wine, loading up the Pinterest account I pretend I don't have with all manner of Horcrux accessories, Twin Peaks tarot cards, Dana Scully prayer candles, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer home décor. Fellow nerdy drunken Pinteresters and late-night Etsy adventurers will be glad to know that Portland is getting its own, much more public version of our surreptitious nocturnal activity, in the form of GeekCraft Expo PDX, a craft fair devoted solely to wares hawked by local geeks.
I use that word with the utmost affection, as did the fair's founder, comics writer (see: Deadpool, Wolverine: Origins) and self-avowed geek Daniel Way, when I interviewed him in advance of this weekend's crafty goldmine, which he started in response to a lack of craft-purchasing opportunities at bigger comic conventions.
"You see some crafters who specialize in geeky stuff; however, they're not a featured part," Way said. With GeekCraft PDX, everything for sale is three things: "handmade, geeky, by someone local," and Way hopes that it'll will be a chance for local makers to "get the patronage they need" and grow their businesses.
GeekCraft Expo, which has already laun-ched nationally in several cities, touts itself as an "Etsy-Meets-Comic-Con craft show," but it sounds a lot better than Comic-Con (sorry, but also not). For one thing, it's free, which makes it already much more window-shopper-friendly than your average gathering of adults who use words like "Whedonverse" in low-key conversation (I can say that BECAUSE I DO), and it's also limited to 40 crafters, which means you don't have to put up with the sheer volume of a bigger fest—or, you know, the unmanageable scale of Etsy.
But what's especially exciting about GeekCraft Expo PDX is that while some geeky spaces are overrun with casual misogynists (do I need to invoke Gamergate or are we good?), the focus of this event is on the unabashedly handmade and domestic, spheres that are tied up in traditional gender roles. Making and buying crafts is how many a lady geek I know expresses her nerdy proclivities. This isn't about throwing crazy amounts of money at film franchises; it's about supporting small creative ventures that show up in the same online spaces as sellers who make accessories promoting ironic misandry. In many cases, these sellers have repurposed traditionally feminine crafts like needlepoint and knitting for subversive ends. That's right: I'll tack a Male Tears coffee mug onto my order of David Lynch buttons, please. It's a welcome alternative to the kind of alleged "geekdom" that sent Anita Sarkeesian into hiding.
GeekCraft Expo PDX kicks off Friday night at Bridge City Comics, with free beer provided by Hop Valley Brewing, plus snacks and a DJ. You can check out adorable plush Jabba the Hutts and unlicensed Star Wars T-shirts and lovingly painted unicorn 'n' dragon portraits and Wednesday Addams cross-stitches all weekend, but if you snooze, don't worry—pre-approval upon acceptance into GeekCraft means that the show's sellers will all be back for Rose City Comic Con—you know, if you're into that sort of thing.