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.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Yay!! I’m about to go pick up a copy right now.

Comment by Hollyrocks

Question: do you know of any basket weaving supply sources in Tulsa or the surrounding area? I found one in Wellston, an hour away, but I’d like to shop closer to home. Anyone?

Comment by Flea

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