Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A review of what you will find at the "Unique LA" Gift Show

The "Unique LA" gift show is known for it's unique handmade and/or hand decorated items that appeal
to folks who enjoy items that are different. This particular craft and gift show takes place several times a year, each with its own theme.
View of downtown Los Angeles from the show windows.
Now, this is not a traditional craft show it has a more adult setting (since it is in the downtown LA area). It is not geared for small children and does not offer an area for children to run around and play.  If that is a concern for you, then I do not recommend bringing small children to this show.

The vendors will vary at each show as will the merchandise available for purchase.  However, there is

always something exciting planned by the sponsors, including goody bags, hourly drawings, and more.
Upcycled old purses
At this show, you will not find teddy bears or traditional hand made dolls.  I did find jewelry made from

lego's, plastic toys,

mortorcycle parts, aluminum, and other non-traditional materials.

You will also find unusual and recycled material gift items like the fun doll furniture set below, made by local artisians and crafters.

The doll furniture set is made from recycled metals cans.
The chair above was made from a large food can and the ottoman below is made from a small food can

(similar to a tuna can).  I love all the small details and scrolling that the crafter did with the tin can pieces.
You can just about find anything at this show, including a booth that made

and sold wood ties.

Another booth sold seed bombs and sling shots.  Apparently, you throw these wild flower seed bombs into ugly empty fields and within a few weeks they sprout and the field is filled with flowers.

The selection of merchandise available for purchase was beyond belief.  I had a great time checking out

the different booths, demonstrations, food vendors, and photo opportunities that were available for show
The chocolate booth.  
guests to enjoy.  I had the opportunity to try all types of bacon desserts,

Bacon Sticky Bun

some unusual sodas (made from vegetables) and other unique snack items.   I also found a booth with personalized socks, a foldable bowl that comes flat
and then snap it together to create a bowl.

 handmade chocolates (unique flavors), leather jewelry and so much more.

There were also "Make and Take" mini craft workshops for folks to experience.

Christi Friesen was there doing polymer clay works shops featuring projects from her various books.
For those who love polymer clay or just want to try it out, she also has a monthly"Blather and Stuff" newsletter and free project downloads on her projects page.
Christi demonstrating sculpting techniques.

One of the many cool pieces made by Christi that were available.

There was also a glass focal bead workshop by  Cathi Milligan (Author of "Mod Knots"), who teaches glass bead making workshops locally.

Tamara Berg had a very cool project made from champaign corks.

Her workshops were wildly popular
with this crowd.

As you can see they are really cute and easy to make.

The Craft and Folk Art Museum sponsered a very cool craft workshop on hair accessories made with scrap materials.

They started with some simple supplies:

followed by some simple steps.  Like choosing your materials and then folding the bits of fabric.
Then tie them together to hold the pieces in place.

Then to make moving the bow parts around, you make a sew snips in the fabric.
And end up with this fun bow.

The Craftside Publishing Booth featured a fun "Ugly Sweater" that folks could pose with (Photo Op Stops are always popular with this crowd).  Notice all the fun 80s icons you find on the sweater.  It was a big hit with the show visitors.
Christi Friesen posing with the "Ugly Sweater"
The "Craftside" publishers arranged for a two day whirl wind of mini workshops and "Make &

Take" demonstrations for this particular event.  They also donated journals which are made from the
Journals made from the book printing over runs.

over runs from their book printins.  Since they do this to recycle the left over materials from the printings,

you never know what the outside cover or inside covers will look like (nor the information contained within them).
The photo above shows a page from an embroidery book which could be used to learn stitches to make something like this quilt box cover.
Quilted box top my daughter made.
They do not do this at every "Unique LA" show, so you need to check the website to see if they are participating in the "Make & Take" workshops at the upcoming shows.

For those who are not familiar with the term, a "Make & Take" is a craft project that you make in a very short time (usually 10 minutes or less). Pictured in the photo below are Stefanie Girard,   Cathi Milligan, and  Linda Swingle who taught some of the workshops offered at this show.

Stefanie (author of "Sweater Surgery") taught her recycling sweater projects.  Cathi demonstrated glass focal beads and showed off her handblown beads.

Linda Swingle taught a water color technique featuring images

from her new set of stamps sold by Stampington & Co.
Happy Student with his "Linda Swingle Images" card.

Nancy Langdon was hand to share some of her sewing secrets and techniques.
Nancy Langdon, is the author of "Sewing Clothes Kids Love".  Nancy was on hand to give a workshop on ribbon rose techniques.

Each of these artists contributed their time and materials to provide this fabulous opportunity to learn a new craft and/or technique to the various visitors to the "Unique LA" show.  

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