November 27, 2020

‘Green With Indie’ craft show held in Webster’s gym

Isak Taylor, 4, excitedly asked his parents to stop at the first table at the “Green With Indie” craft show. The first table was Upcycle Exchange’s do it yourself craft table. Bottle caps, small square pieces of fabric and scissors were scattered across the table.

MEGAN FAVIGNANO / THE JOURNAL Isak Taylor watches Chelsie Hellige make a pincushion ring at the 'Green With Indie' craft show in Webster's Grant Gym.

“It’s (making crafts) just so fun,” Isak Taylor said. “It’s easy to do.”

Isak Taylor — with help from mom and dad — made himself a pincushion ring using a bottle cap, white pillow stuffing and fabric.

The STL Craft Mafia created the craft show, which was held in Webster’s Grant Gymnasium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 10. The eco-friendly craft fair included upcycled and recycled items from artist and designers in the Midwest.

Isak Taylor’s mom, Cora, was glad the craft fair had a do it yourself craft space.

“Isak saw it (the Upcycle Exchange craft table) and wanted to make something,” Cora Taylor said. “He always wants to make what we’re making.”

Cora Taylor and her husband are both artists. Isak Taylor often does crafts at home with his parents.

Chelsie Hellige helped visitors make the pincushion rings. She is friends with Upcycle Exchange owner Autumn Wiggins and volunteered to help at the craft table for the day. Upcycle Exchange, located on south Grand avenue, has pay as you wish pricing. Its items have suggested prices, but ultimately, customers pay what price they feel the items are worth. Upcycle Exchange obtains its stock through donations. It accepts donations of beads, fabrics, paper and other craft-making items. Hellige said Upcycle Exchange has a large variety of items in stock.

“It’s (the stock) changing all the time,” Hellige said. “All the donations are one of a kind, it’s not a constant stock of the same stuff.”

“Green With Indie” craft show visitors who donated to Upcycle Exchange received a 10 percent off coupon to be used at select booths at the show. Beqi Clothing was one vendor who accepted coupons from Upcycle Exchange. Beqi Clothing owner, Beqi Brinkhorst, said she often gets supplies from Upcycle Exchange.

MEGAN FAVIGNANO / THE JOURNAL Beqi Brink Brinkhorst rearranges her jewelry display at the 'Green With Indie' craft show.

“I’m in Upcycle one to two times a week,” Brinkhorst said. “Upcycle is an idea that is so great. It’s like, why didn’t this always exist? Who doesn’t have unused craft supplies at home that they’re never going to do anything with?”

Brinkhorst said those unused craft items can be donated to Upcycle Exchange. Beqi Clothing has been around for almost 12 years. Brinkhorst makes clothing from scratch using a mixture of vintage and commercial fabrics. She also makes headbands, jewelry, scarves and purses. She said between 65 and 75 percent of her supplies are post-consumer goods.

The craft show showcased a variety of other products such as Jim Ligon’s lighting displays made of recycled liquor boxes and bottles. Ligon is a bartender in Kansas City, MO at a wine bar, which gives him access to empty liquor crates and bottles. Ligon’s friends save their empty liquor bottles for him.

“They give me a box of stuff, I walk out of the restaurant with a bunch of booze bottles,” Ligon said. “I do think about it, ‘Man if I get pulled over right now I’d have to do some quick talking.’”

Ligon hasn’t been pulled over yet.

Ligon stains the crates then uses the bottles to make lamps inside the crates. He said he grew up doing electrical work with his dad. About a year and a half ago, he made a light for his house using recycled bottles. After posting a picture of his creation on Facebook, Ligon’s friends and family suggested he make more and sell them. Ligon usually makes larger light installations for bars and restaurants.

“I like to see it all come together,” Ligon said. “And it’s like ‘Oh, now it looks like a light.’ And I think, ‘An hour and a half ago, it was just trash.’”

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