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If we had to choose just one city in the
world to be *the* crafty mecca, we would pick Portland, Oregon. Perhaps
its the DIY ethos of its punk rock music scene bleading over into the
crafty arena -- or maybe its just all those long rainy winters, but you
can't throw a skein of organic wool in this town without hitting a knitter
in a handmade dress on her way to Craft night at the local lounge. Long-time
getcrafty contributer and all-around West Coast superstar Susan Beal shows
you the ins and outs of this crafty city.
Crafty Guide to Portland
gets Pacifa-rific by Susan Beal
of Craft has a very active and fun chapter in Portland led by Sister
Diane, which meets at Rimsky-Korsakoffee House (707 SE 12th, 503-232-2640)
one Sunday each month from 11:30-2:30. There's a hands-on class at each
meeting, or bring your own projects to work on over coffee and dessert.
The ever-fabulous vintage and handmade emporium Frock
(2940 NE Alberta, 503-595-0379) has a new project in the works with
DIY Lounge! The stylish space
in the back of the shop will offer all-encompassing craft and DIY classes˜everything
from knit and crochet to jewelrymaking and even voice lessons! Keep
an eye out for the Tacky Craft classes and Iron Chef-style Tack-Off
Right down the street, Retrospect
(1532 NE Alberta, 503-284-9799) has cool recycled art and craft for
sale. Stop by and use their sewing machine and other craft supplies.
The super wonderful Knittn Kitten
(7530 NE Glisan, 503-255-3022) has amazing vintage and craft supplies
and fabric at thrift-store prices.
Across the street, Touchstone
Coffeehouse (7631 NE Glisan, 503-262-7613) has a craft night every
Memoir PDX (3731 N Mississippi, 503-528-1000) is an adorable new
shop with a craft night every Tuesday at 7 pm.
ACME (1305 SE 8th, 503-230-9020)
has a craft night every Wednesday after 6 with DJs plus food and a full
Seaplane (827 NW 23rd, 503-234-2409) sells gorgeous and inventive
clothes and accessories by Portland and West Coast designers. The last
Wednesday of each month is also an in-house fashion show.
Learn everything from letterpress to bookbinding and transfer printing
at the IPRC (917 SW Oak #218, 503-827-0249).
They also have a kick-ass zine library and resource room.
Downstairs at 921 SW Oak, Reading
Frenzy (503-274-1449) carries an array of zines and independent
publications with an excellent selection of craft books.
And don‚t forget to stop by the Orange Room of Powell‚s
Books (1005 W Burnside, 503-228-0540) to check out their craft book
Art and Craft
Check out PORT for gallery
and outsider reviews and listings and a well-edited guide to the best
of the hundreds (thousands?) of art events going on every month in the
Rose City. One of the founding contributors, Jennifer Armbrust, also
runs a remarkable gallery and shop called motel
(19 NW 5th, 503-222-6699) with rotating monthly art shows and gorgeous
handmade pieces in the shop.
Contemporary Crafts Museum is one of my favorite places in the world.
The museum shows international craft artists‚ work in a stunning gallery
space˜everything from fiber and glass to wood and clay. Show openings,
lectures, workshops, and classes for kids go on year-round.
Portland Crafty Online
Two yahoo groups, PDX
Stitch & Bitch and Stitch
& Bitch Portland, list knitting and crochet-centric events and happenings
Craftygirl Sewing is a great place to swap ideas or ask for help
The LiveJournal communityPortland
Craft is another resource to find out what's going on in town or
post your own event.
Want to sell your handmade stuff? Check out the
Handmade Bazaar! The buy-sell-trade
event goes on twice a year, in summer and winter, with bands and amazing
stuff for sale or swap.
Market has been going strong downtown since 1973, every weekend
from March to December. Stop by to shop or apply to sell your own work.
Creative Business Network meets one Tuesday a month at Red Wing
Café (1700 SE 6th).
For general advice on creative business, check
out the website my craft collective put together, PDX
Super Crafty. We compiled all the information we wish we‚d had when
we got started and added some fun DIY projects and interviews with some
of our favorite crafters and artists.
My favorite bead store is Dava
Bead and Trade (1815 NE Broadway, 503-288-3991 and 6357 SW Capitol
Hwy, 503-246-1934). They carry a great range of glass, semi-precious,
wood, and metal beads plus plenty of tools, findings and books. Their
classes are wonderful too.
For yarn and all things knitting and crochet,
I love Yarn Garden (1413 SE
Hawthorne, 503-239-7950). Check out their open knitting night every
My other favorite is Mabel's
Café and Knittery (3041 SE Division, 231-4107) which combines a
gorgeous selection of yarn and supplies with a darling coffee-and-pastries
hangout. Both shops have in-house classes for everything from felting
(3901A N Williams, 503-294-0769) must be seen to be believed. Their
typical inventory of super cheap recycled craft supplies includes all
types of textile remnants such as fabric and yarn, corks, office supplies,
various types of paper (decorative & office), framing supplies, metal
remnants, wood scraps, magazines, industrial widgets and much, much
For a huge selection of fabrics and notions,
you can‚t go wrong with the giant emporiums in town: Fabric
Depot (700 SE 122nd, 503-252-9530) or Mill End (9701 SE McLoughlin,
503-786-1234). Watch for their sales.
There‚s also a JoAnn
Fabrics (1928 NE 42nd, 503-281-1033) in the Hollywood neighborhood
and a Michael's (1798
Jantzen Beach Center, 503-289-1481) for craft supplies.
Dry Goods (521 SW 11th, 503-224-4202) carries exquisite cashmeres,
silks, and other gorgeous fabrics
Susan Beal is a crafty writer, editor and jewelry
designer who divides her time between Portland and Los Angeles. Check
out more of her how-tos and cool handmade stuff at susanstars.com
and PDX Super Crafty.com.