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Cute crafts and Queer vendors: Urban Craft Uprising's Winter Show

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Photo courtesy of Urban Craft Uprising
Photo courtesy of Urban Craft Uprising

As winter approaches, holiday music is gushing out of the speakers of every retail establishment in Seattle. Gifts are another story. Global supply chain shortages are messing with business-as-usual holiday shopping, and the nearer to December we get, the more dire the situation is expected to become.

Many people are rushing to buy all their gifts early on Amazon, ensuring delivery before the inevitable chaos of the holiday season. But rushing to support the e-commerce monopoly may not be your only choice this year.

One of the Northwest's largest indie maker-event organizers, Urban Craft Uprising, has two major craft fairs coming in December.

Independent crafter events focus on showcasing the best of local vendors' products to build community and offer a more personable approach to buying gifts for others (or yourself!). Urban Craft
Uprising's Winter Show is its main event; it takes place December 4 and 5 in Seattle Center Exhibition Hall (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday). The event is free to attend, with an encouraged $1 donation upon entrance.

The Winter Show will feature over 140 vendor booths selling all sorts of goods, including art, accessories, bags, bath & body items, candles, ceramics, clothing, food, and much more. It has grown since its 50-vendor beginnings in 2005 to become the largest indie craft event in the Pacific Northwest.

While the pandemic threw a wrench into the possibility of independent craft events in 2020, this year, vendors are back and ready to sell unique crafts to crowds hoping for a more personable holiday season.

Kristen Rask, president of Urban Craft Uprising, has much to say on the excitement brought by this year's Winter Show.

"Honestly, I am just so excited to connect fans and vendors together again. Small businesses have been hit hard in the pandemic, and I hope that this helps. Not only financially, but mentally, as it's been hard for many vendors to be more active online. While some have thrived, many have struggled," said Rask.

She continued, "For me, clicking buttons and trying to think of special gifts for people online only was challenging to say the least. Our holiday last year felt very 'meh,' and it's because we couldn't shop with independent makers and artists... With supply chain issues this year, I feel like it's the best way to shop — with makers and small businesses!"

A crafter herself, Rask has been a part of Urban Craft Uprising since 2008. When asked about the organization's growth since then, Rask responded, "When I started, we did one holiday show. Since then, we have grown a lot. We now do over 30 events a year" (in non-COVID times, she specified).

These events include a summer show, one around Thanksgiving ("Gobble Up" in Portland and Seattle), a handmade gift show in January, and plenty of others.

Rask explained that Urban Craft Uprising has "learned a lot since COVID," and "will once again evolve in this new way of life."

Gift guide
If you are looking to get advance access to the crafts at the Winter Show, Urban Craft Uprising is offering a "preview night," from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the Friday before the show, December 3, to the first 1,000 fans who register online. These tickets are can be found at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ucu-preview-night-2021-tickets-169392827507; make sure to buy early.

Rask also offered up a list of some of the many Queer vendors selling their goods at the event.

Photo courtesy of Citizen Ruth  

Citizen Ruth is "an ethics-forward company providing high-quality, intersectional feminist art, books, clothing, jewelry, and personal and home accessories." Its focus is on creating empowering crafts and practicing what it preaches by compensating its employees with livable wages.

Photo courtesy of Junebug & Darlin  

Junebug & Darlin sells a range of beautiful floral cross-stitch crafts alongside witty, progressive phrases. It also gives customers the chance to craft themselves. From the website: "We sell cross-stitch kits that are 100% handmade and provide all of the supplies needed for people to create a finished cross-stitch from first stitch to frame."

Image courtesy of Dark Days Tarot  

Dark Days Tarot features unique decks of tarot cards, inspired by the lunar cycle and the artist's own interest in "the moon, Earth, botanical world, animal kingdom, nudity and bodies, queerness, and psychology."

Photo courtesy of Ida Loves Dresses  

Ida Loves Dresses sells adorable children's dresses, tees, and tote bags, "inspired (and sometimes co-designed)" by the artist's own child.

All vendor quotes were pulled from their respective websites. Read more about their crafts at: https://citizenruth.com/ https://junebuganddarlin.com/ https://www.darkdaystarot.com/ and https://idalovesdresses.com/.