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Thursday, August 2, 2012

MakeShift: Design Tips to Thwart Drunken Urinators

Posted By on Thu, Aug 2, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Shh, a little tree bench is being built outside. - GILBERTO SCHAEFER AND JARED HIGBEE
  • Gilberto Schaefer and Jared Higbee
  • Shh, a little tree bench is being built outside.

MakeShift is a new design series for city dwellers with roommates, space constrictions, and other such awkwardness. It's a conversation for people who are being artful with their space and kicking ass while doing it.

Want to be in the next MakeShift? Submit to:

Jared Higbee and Michael Morse, bartenders with backgrounds in bioengineering and self-taught furniture building, respectively, are roommates who are all about making stuff, parties, and preventing drunks from nearby bars from pissing on their tree outside.

To accomplish the latter, they built a "tree bench."

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Friday, July 20, 2012

IRL Etsy -- The Renegade Craft Fair Is Back!

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 9:30 AM

  • Renegade Craft Fair

It's a little too easy to take a Portlandia approach to craft fairs, what with the hipsterrific tendency of local DIYers to put birds on everything and call it a day -- and yes, we guarantee that you will see more than one bird-centric tote today -- but The Fifth Annual Renegade Craft Fair is anything but mock-worthy.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

How I Make My Furry Costumes: Q+A with Lee Strom (a.k.a. Chairo)

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM


San Jose hosts Further Confusion 2012, California's largest annual furry convention, starting today (Thursday). Further Confusion 2011's attendance hit 2,801, and more than 3,000 attendees are expected this year. (Glossary Tip: The overall furry scene, fans, fursuiters, and those elsewhere on the spectrum, are collectively referred to as "the fandom.")

Lee Strom co-founded the first Further Confusion in 1999, and he has been actively involved with the fandom since before then as a fursuit maker -- including as the head of Frolic's NeonBunny -- as well as a party organizer and general raccoon-about-town. We spoke with Strom -- whose fandom name is Chairo (\chi'-ro\) -- about the history, art, and business of fursuits.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Crafting with Cat Hair: Not Just for Crazy Cat Ladies

Posted By on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 8:00 AM


When I was a kid, for Christmas I got one of those dolls whose hair sprouted from the crown of her head when you cranked her arm clockwise like a pencil sharpener. The first thing I wanted to do was give her a haircut, so once I got away from the prying eyes of Mom and Dad, I hacked off her blond ponytail with a pair of scissors. Then I rotated her arm a couple of turns, and, like magic, her hair re-grew.

Naturally I applied this same logic to my new kitten's fur and whiskers -- if I cut them off, they'd grow back immediately, right? Unfortunately that was not the case, and the poor fella spent several weeks barefaced and sporting several unsightly bald spots. (Don't worry, though: His hair and whiskers did eventually grow back, and he lived happily for 17 years. Also, my parents yelled at me.)

If only I'd read Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts to Make with Your Cat, Japanese author Katsori Tsutaya's step-by-step guide to turning your pets' fur balls into felt and thereby cementing your status as the crazy cat lady, I would have known that scissors are not an appropriate implement for harvesting cat hair: "When crafting with your cat, it is important to remove hair only by gentle brushing. Do not shave your cat."

This is good to know, because when the title says "handicrafts to make with your cat," it isn't just being cute. These crafts contain their DNA.

Coming up: I harvest my own cats' fur and construct some handicrafts... while drunk. On silliness!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Amy Sedaris on Cheeseballs, Cupcakes, and Couture Cat Cosies

Posted By on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 12:00 PM

  • Amy Sedaris

Amy Sedaris will celebrate the paperback release of her book

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People at the Roxie on December 4 with a special evening of crafting and taking questions from the audience, followed by a libation-and-snack-assisted reception and sale of books and her personally crafted items. The $100 ticket price benefits the non-profit theater.

We spoke with the Strangers with Candy star and playwright via phone from New York about crafting, cheeseballs, and why you'll never accidentally bump into her at one of her movies.

Tell us about this event you're having here in San Francisco; we're excited!

Me, too. I never do things like this! I mean, an hour to fill by myself; it'll be fun.

Will there be a crafting component?

I thought I'd talk about my craft book -- it just came out in paperback, and the funny thing is that I keep forgetting it came out in paperback. I've been doing a lot of press for Puss In Boots, and I keep forgetting to mention the book. Usually I do a Q&A when I talk about the book, but no one ever really asks me specific questions about specific pictures. So I think I'm going to go through the book and talk about different photo shoots that we did, behind the scenes. I'll do a craft, and then I'm going to show my craft videos that I put on YouTube myself, and then I'm just going to do some questions and answers.

I wonder if it might end up functioning as a bit of a support group for some of us?

Uh-oh! Go on, what?

Sometimes it's hard to be super-public with one's crafting. There is a lot of discrimination out there toward crafters. Do you ever feel that?

The truth is that the crafting community has accepted me because I think I've brought some awareness to crafting, but I'm not really that good at it. I think I have really good ideas of what I want, and I'm really good at bringing people who can make it happen. But I'm not the kind of person that will spend eight hours doing seed art, you know?

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Amy Sedaris Coming to the Roxie Theatre This December

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 5:00 PM


Here's some big news for the kabillions of fans of pygmy craft doyenne Amy Sedaris. The plucky comic/party planner is appearing at San Francisco's Roxie Theatre this December 4 to read from her book Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People.

Like her DIY party book, this one is typical (Amy) Sedaris, by which we mean all hysterical and barbed and darling and practical all at once.

Belying the title, tickets cost $100. But it's a benefit for the Roxie, that creaky old box of cinematic treasures, so ponying up a c-note to learn how to make windchimes from soda cans is in no way ironic. It just means you're a good person or a patron of the arts or something!

Also, the $100 gets you into a meet-and-greet with Sedaris, and the Roxie's promising treats and libations.

An Evening With Amy Sedaris

8 p.m. on Sunday, December 4 at The Roxie Theatre, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia). 415-863-1087. Tickets available here.


Follow Alan Scherstuhl on Twitter at @studiesincrap, SF Weekly's Exhibitionist blog at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Act of Creating at SF Zine Fest Blows Away Any Mass-Produced Sales Pitch

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Shayna Yates of
  • Shayna Yates of
Small-press publishers don't slack off. Over the weekend at SF Zine Fest, the County Fair Building's two halls and a reading room were filled with independently produced artwork and literature. And if that weren't testament enough to their productivity, many of the artists passed the time with notebook and pen or paintbrush in hand. Although we don't know what the final numbers were on sales, this offered a much more engaging selling technique than any "pitch" could be. Nothing's more awkward than being sold to by someone who not only cares about what they're selling but who's also the one who created it.

The perfume spritzers at Macy's can be a nuisance, but you know that when you decline to buy a bottle of the latest Eau d'une Nuit Régrèttable from Tommy Hilfiger you're not rejecting their babies. There is perhaps no more poignant consumer experience than to have to pass over work presented to you by the artist who made it, and this colors the interaction that begins the moment you hesitate right as they catch your eye.

One needs a Puccini to capture all the doomed optimism of that initial, "And how are you doin' today?"

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Printed Words and Pictures on Real Paper -- It's Back; See It Displayed at S.F. Zine Fest

Posted By on Fri, Sep 2, 2011 at 10:30 AM

  • Lark Pien

It seems like every week we hear that another institution in the proud world of publishing is in danger or has imploded. Yet their D.I.Y. "up from the people" counterparts -- a community of small publishers -- continue to flourish. Technological advances have made possible producing attractive publications on budgets that once might have covered no more than photocopies on colored paper.

Though websites and blogs have become the standard platforms for businesses to exhibit their offerings, art-marketing experts encourage artists to create small, inexpensive zines of their work to hand out as a more eye-catching and ultimately memorable alternative. The publish-on-demand industry enables artists and writers to create conventionally printed and bound books, portfolios, and zines of near-professional quality. Meanwhile, a host of small-press publishers use a variety of hands-on methods to create readable works of art. Meet them and learn more at S.F. Zine Fest.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Observations from the Renegade Craft Fair

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Wendy Gold has her way with the world in customizing globes for ImagineNations. - GIL RIEGO JR.
  • Gil Riego Jr.
  • Wendy Gold has her way with the world in customizing globes for ImagineNations.
Over the weekend, local artisans joined forces at Fort Mason for the San Francisco Renegade Craft Fair. The fair started in Chicago's Wicker Park in 2003 and has become a popular institution among the creators and lovers of "fine art and craft." It was the fourth time it's happened in San Francisco, and it continues to represent DIY/indie craft culture and our obsession with it.

A clear trend surfaced during my visit Saturday: reused, environmentally friendly materials for useless objects. (See some of my most memorable finds below -- and view a slideshow of the event here.) The most common crafts included things made from (reclaimed) wood, ironic (vintage) jewelry, salvaged photographs, and crocheted objects. (It's odd that I didn't see any made from reclaimed or organic thread.)

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Meet The Type Truck, the Mobile Printing Press on a Cross-Country Tour

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Cards from Power and Light Press: Burt is our favorite, of course.
Although she's not in a band, and her musical talent is an open question, Kyle Durrie of Power and Light Press has embarked on a cross-country tour. Durrie -- who is based in Portland and is the proprietor of a smashing Etsy store -- has turned a 1982 Chevy Step Van into a mobile print shop, set up for letterpress demonstrations and workshops, and she's headed our way.

She'll be stopping in at the Curiosity Shoppe at 825 Valencia from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, as part of its "Sunshine" Letterpress Show. Then she's off to San Francisco Center for the Book from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday for some demonstrations.

SFWeekly caught up with Durrie somewhere between Portland and San Francisco, to talk tire-changing, road-trip music, and old-school printing.

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