December Recap: Not your Grandma’s Gift Bazaar

Sunday December 14, 2008

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I had heard about this event on two of my favorite design and home blogs, NOTCOT and Elizabeth Anne Designs Living.

Here is a description of the event from their website.

UNIQUE LOS ANGELES is an exciting two-day shopping event that showcases independent design talent at great prices. Just in time for the holiday shopping season, the event brings together 200 of the best designers, artists and merchants. We believe in supporting the community, we thrive on individualism, and we hope to introduce independent design to the masses.

I frequently attend shows and fairs like this. I am big believer in supporting independent artists and local shops. Luckily, local for me means a large metropolitan area. A bonus to this event was that it was also raising money for an organization called Create Now, which provides creative arts mentoring for high-risk and at-risk youth.

Despite all the publicity in many design and home blogs, I wasn’t sure what to expect {read: had low expectations and did not plan to spend a lot of money}. It was widely publicized as a craft fair, which conjured up images of crocheted doilies and poorly sewn baby clothes. I only brought my Casio Point-and-Shoot camera because I really didn’t expect to see anything worth photographing.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was a indie art lover’s dream. There were so many great vendors there that I was overwhelmed and giddy like a kid in a candy store. There were eco friendly goods, clothing designers, jewelry artists, t-shirt designers, and photographers. It was like walking through an Etsy and NOTCOT Warehouse. A highlight for me was that many of the artists and designers were so personable. I loved that I got a chance to meet the creators of items that I have been oogling on the internet.

Here are some of my favorites:

The Poster List – theposterlist.com
They offered a great variety of witty, pop culture related posters. I purchased a poster for my brother and some postcards for myself. If only we had more wall space…

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Eva Franco – www.evafranco.com
They had a lot of retro-inspired clothes in great fabrics and patterns. I was sadly too lazy to try anything on to figure out what fits. So, I regrettably didn’t buy anything from here. I’m still kicking myself over that.

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Pamela Barsky Boutique and Studio –pamelabarsky.com
Pamela Barsky has been featured in Real Simple and other home magazines for her luggage tags. She has a wickedly sarcastic sense of humor and her products reflects this. I picked up a print and some buttons from her booth.

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Poketo – www.poketo.com
I love their design aesthetic. I’ve purchased a wallet from them in the past and have been coveting their plates for a while.


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Not Neutral –www.notneutral.com/
They had the often-blogged city plates. I plan to buy the Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and New York plates.


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The Frantic Meerkat – www.franticmeerkat.etsy.com
Description from Unique L.A. site:

The Frantic Meerkat designs greeting cards, prints and magnets that combine 19th century clip art with found text, and delights in any image or phrase that is quirky or strange.

I purchased a print for our kitchen.

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Silent Revolution –www.silent-revolution.com
Description from Unique L.A. site:

Drawing inspiration from architecture, modern design and electronic music, Silent Revolution aims to create bags that are as sleek as they are sculptural. Their goal has been to merge urban streetwear with a cool, clean sense of modern design for everyday wear.

It took all of my restraint not to buy their Ammo bag. I was supposed to be shopping for gifts for OTHER people.

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I heart guts – www.iheartguts.com
Description from Unique L.A. site:

I Heart Guts strives to offer the best in happy gloppy guts in the form of T-shirts, plush toys, stickers and more. Whether it’s time to get ill, or you’re just sick in the head, guts make good gifts for the weirdo — or doctor — in your family.

As strange as these plush toys may seem, I would love to collect a few for my studio. I think it’s the former pre-med student in me that finds them appealing.

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Rock Scissor Paper – www.rockscissorpaper.com
My favorite stationery designers, Heidi and Susie Bauer, were present. After attending their stationery workshop a couple of months ago, it was good to see them again. I picked up a notebook for a friend.

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Mahar Dry Goods – www.mahardrygoods.com
Description from Unique L.A. site:

Transmitting worldwide, from the rim of the Pacific, MaharDrygoods.com is your online outpost for vintage and artisan crafted curiosities for children, big and little. Since 2005 proprietor Robert Mahar has curated this online collaboration with more than three-dozen artists, designers and craftspeople to create the imaginative and unexpected. Never mass-produced, all Mahar Drygoods items are handmade in the homes and studios of their creators with an emphasis on recycled and sustainable materials whenever possible.

I was pining away for one of their Yule Log Pillows. (pun intended)

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DesireeBwww.DesireeB.etsy.com
Description from Unique L.A. site:

Furry Travel Buddies are pocket sized plush companions that are individually designed and handcrafted 100% unique each and every one. There is a vintage range and the felt range. Buyers are encouraged to participate in the adventures of the Furry Travel Buddies and submit images of places that they have travelled to – quite a blog has ensued. A calendar is one of the spin-off items as well as printed goods,cards, tshirts etc. Each travel buddy comes with a name tag stating likes and dislikes.

In my excitement, I forgot to return to this booth and buy some plush friends for my nephews and niece. I come from a family of frequent travelers. So the purchase seemed appropo. I guess I’ll be hitting up her Etsy store.

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Hi Tree!www.hitree.etsy.com
Description from Unique L.A. site:

Functional tree art out of felted wool. appropriate for tree hugging. 😉


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MUCHAS ‘N’ POQUITOSwww.muchas-poquitos.com
Description from Unique L.A. site:

I will be selling paintings , t-shirts, a book, crayon books, possibly some small paper mache sculptures, buttons. Majority of my products will be paintings.

Leebs’ characters have a great story.


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Here are some of the gifts that I purchased while I was there.

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The bad news is I didn’t purchase nearly all the things I would have liked. The good news is that they’ll be having another one of these shows in Spring 2009. As soon as I hear about it, I will be sharing the info.
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