Tulsa Craft Mafia

Tulsa Craft Mafia in October Issue of TulsaPeople by tulsacraftmafia
September 28, 2009, 4:22 pm
Filed under: Press | Tags: , , , ,

The Art of Craft

by Stacy Pettit

These aren’t your grandmother’s crafters.

For many people, the art of crafting died when their macaroni necklace was no longer considered a masterpiece, or when that Popsicle picture frame was just not that cool anymore.

Tara Mason-Harris hopes to change that.

As one of the founding members of the Tulsa Craft Mafia, a group of independent crafters, Mason-Harris wants crafting to be a youthful and fun activity for all ages — not just preschoolers.

“We’re putting a new face on crafting,” Mason-Harris says. “We bring that edge to the local community.”

Comprising six members, each with her own business and products, the Tulsa Craft Mafia boasts an eclectic portfolio of crafting creations — anything from vintage-style aprons to earrings made from guitar picks to onesies graced with pictures of smiling gnomes.

The last of these is one of Mason-Harris’ creations from her My Little Gnomies line, which includes clothing, magnets and printed cards sporting phrases such as “Gnome is Where the Heart is” and “Rollin’ With My Gnomies.”

“I just sat down and doodled a gnome one day,” she says. “I discovered how fun it was to change his hat, shirt and pant color.”

Mason-Harris’ knack for gnomes soon became a success. After testing out a few of her gnome creations at a craft show, she discovered that others wanted to roll with her gnomies in their shops and boutiques.

Mason-Harris says the other Tulsa Craft Mafia members are just as diverse in their ideas.

“We’re all really true to the ethic of indie crafting and the handmade movement,” Mason-Harris says. “This handmade movement is about turning against the commercial, cheaply made products and actually taking time to make a product.

“You try to put a piece of yourself into these handmade pieces and, in doing that, you tend to put forth more of an effort and create something beautiful.”

Others are noticing a difference in these products, too.

“We hear a lot of times that people are inspired by our work to start knitting or quilting or bringing back some of those skills that were lost with their mothers and grandmothers,” Mason-Harris says.

But it is a technology that mothers and grandmothers did not have years ago that is helping the handmade movement grow, Mason-Harris says. Web sites such as Etsy.com, through which people can buy and sell handmade items, have given crafters a place to showcase their work.

“With these Web sites, creative people have begun to come out of the woodwork,” Mason-Harris says.

The Internet is not the only place the Tulsa Craft Mafia’s pieces can be found.

The group’s products — from red and yellow knitted bracelets to homemade clay cupcake magnets — are displayed and sold at art and craft shows held statewide and in boutiques nationwide. Throughout each month, members meet at locally owned businesses to share ideas and try their hands at new crafting experiments.

These crafters have also weaved some generosity for others into the purpose of their group.

At several craft shows, the Tulsa Craft Mafia has donated a portion of its proceeds to nonprofit organizations such as the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and the Alzheimer’s Association. For the organization Breast Impressions Inc., which raises money for breast cancer research by selling casts of women’s breasts, some members molded, painted and decorated casts to be auctioned off.  

Members are alwa ys trying to come up with new ways to use their artistic talents. Brigid Vance has created anything f rom rosaries to cell phone charms. Although the public has responded well to jewelry from her Grey Eye Designs line, she says sometimes people are not always ready to accept a group member’s newest item.

“We like to try new things and bring them to shows to see how well they do,” Vance says. “But just because I love it and my mom loves it doesn’t mean everyone else will.”

Vance says this ability to constantly try new ideas is part of the fun of crafting.

“It’s OK to take chances,” she says. “If there’s something you really want to do and it fulfills you to make it, then just do it.”

Indie Emporium

This month, the Tulsa Craft Mafia will present the third annual Indie Emporium. The show, which will be held at the VFW Post 577, 1109 E. Sixth St., Oct. 9-10, gives local designers and artists an opportunity to sell their work.

About 40 vendors, 12 gallery artists and five fashion designers are expected to participate in the event. Craft demos and how-to’s, a fashion show and even a local band can be expected at this year’s emporium. A silent auction will also be held, with proceeds benefiting the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. For more information, visit www.indieemporium.com.

This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of TulsaPeople Magazine.


Breast Impressions by Brigid

Once again, the Tulsa Craft Mafia and Indie Emporium have teamed up with Breast Impressions to help support women in our community with breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On October 3, visitors to Woodland Hills Mall can receive pink ribbons between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Tulsa Craft Mafia members as well as area Girl Scouts. Indie Emporium is also a sponsor of this year’s gala.

The thing that has made Breast Impressions known is the annual auctioning of beautifully decorated bust casts. The casts are made from real models, including media personalities, local business owners, entertainers and other community members who want to lend a hand (or a pair of boobs, as the case may be). Then a local artist takes the cast and creates a work of art using a variety of media. In the past, several of the TCM ladies have served as models. I’m very excited to have been cast for the first time this year. I’m even more excited about what Christine, the brains and beauty behind Indie Emporium and Weather and Noise, has created from the plaster. Behold!


Now tell me that isn’t one talented lady. To view all the other casts, click here and scroll to the bottom. The page also has information on buying tickets and all the other events going on throughout October. Make sure to head out to Woodland Hills to view the casts on display. The gala will take place at 7 p.m. on October 25. You won’t want to miss it for your chance to view all the casts and put in a bid on your favorite one. All proceeds go to benefit Tulsa Project Woman. Tickets are $25. I hope to see you there!

Getting Ready. by paperlotusdesign
September 19, 2009, 4:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Well, it’s that time of year when those of us who like to sell our crafty goods have everything going in overdrive – the sewing machines are fired up, the screen printing ink is flying, beads are being strung, polymer clay is baking…in other words, we are getting busy!

For most of us, our crafting is a side business or a hobby, so we fit it in around our day jobs and other obligations. And as we get ready for the holiday season, making enough product to take to a craft show can be a challenge. We just try to fit it in wherever we can – on our lunch break, after the homework is done, or while we’re supposed to be spending “quality time” with the husband. I often knit while watching movies – so I probably haven’t seen a whole movie through from start to finish at home in quite a while.

In a few weeks we have our first big show of the season – Indie Emporium! I attended last year for the first time, and it was so much fun! We’ll all be there, and we hope you and yours will stop by to see all the great vendors that will be there. This is a great event to have here in Tulsa – to have a place to support local artists, and offer people a chance to buy local – and to also stock up on some holiday gifts that were made by hand!

So as you are walking through all the booths at Indie Emporium on October 9 and 10, remember all the hours we’ve spent – on the couch, in our studios, at the day job – putting into all the wonderful things you see!

See you soon!


Tulsa Craft Mafia at the South Tulsa Music Festival! by weatherandnoise
September 2, 2009, 4:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Come see the lovely ladies of the Tulsa Craft Mafia at the South Tulsa Music Festival this weekend!  We’ll be selling all sorts of goodies and enjoying the music.  Free admission!