I attended the first Indie Emporium in 2007. My friend and I went from booth to booth where there was everything from jewelry to clothing to baby items to art. I recall a vendor with stationery that had some really cool greeting cards for every occasion. Possessing little to no sentimentality what-so-ever and with the holidays a stone's throw away (that year's event, like the subsequent years, has occurred every October) I settled on the solid red and green cards with big black letters on the front saying "Merry Christmas Bitch."
While not the most traditional holiday greeting, it suited the friends whom I gave the cards. Wait! What I mean is, they're not really bitches but they enjoyed the humor. That clever, sometimes left-of-center vibe and originality has run through this Tulsa event that brings together local and sort-of-local handmade goods. The Indie Emporium is back, and it's bigger than ever before.
The concept of Indie Emporium, which will be held on Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10 at the VFW Post 577, 1109 E. 6th St., hasn't drastically changed from its first year. The event has continued to grow and make great additions, but the weekend's main events still ring true to the first one held in the Mathews Warehouse in 2007.
The whole idea of Indie Emporium came from local craft business owner and Tulsa Craft Mafia member Christine Sharp-Crowe. Sharp-Crowe said the idea was to give Tulsans an opportunity to support the local economy and artists/crafters and to showcase independent crafters, artists and designers. The first year's event brought 36 vendors, 10 gallery artists and five runway designers. And that was, obviously, just the beginning. 2008's Indie Emporium saw double the amount of attendees, more vendors, more gallery artists and nearly double the amount of fashion designers, many of who returned from the first year's event. And in keeping with that trend, 2009 will bring out 45 vendors, 11 artists and six runway designers.
More than just providing handmade goods, Indie Emporium has a whole schedule of events planned. The festivities kick off at 7pm Friday night. Until 10pm, visitors can shop the vendors, peruse through the art gallery and bid on the silent auction that is taking place this year.
Last year, the Indie Emporium added a philanthropic addition to the weekend's event to continue its goal of providing not only original handmade items but also to cultivate the local economy. The fundraiser assisted the Community Food Bank of Oklahoma with donations and canned food items that assisted in providing more than 1,000 meals to those in need last year.
Crowe said that most of the vendors at this year's Indie Emporium have donated one of their creations to the silent auction. That silent auction, as well as the raffle (pay one buck and have the chance to win a Yudu screen printing machine and supply package valued at $1,000) will be going on throughout the weekend. The bonus to Friday night's event, besides the fact it will be one of the few places in Tulsa where you can still go shopping past 9pm, is that the first 50 guests will get a free Indie Emporium tote filled with secret treasures.
Saturday is filled with free perks, too. Throughout the day, in which various events extend from 11am to 8pm, are Make & Take Crafting Projects. These craft demos will occur every hour from 1pm to 4pm and many of them are kid-friendly. While the event typically skews toward a young adult crowd, Crowe said the event is very family-oriented. But no matter what your age, everyone loves free things; from 12pm to 5pm, visitors will be able to screen print their own Indie Emporium tote bag at no charge.
At 5pm, the vendors pack up and the live music continues in the bar until 8pm. Continues? When did it ever begin? Well, throughout the day Indie Emporium features musicians. Throughout Saturday, the VFW Post 577 will hear the likes of Wheat Penny, Whitney Ludwig, Lindsey Neal, Annie Perkin's Band, Monday Riot! and Benjamin Lyman. And at 8pm, Saturday's events will come to an end with the fashion show that features designs by local designers. This year's fashion show will feature looks from Tony Li, Esparza Designs, Raspberry Grunt, UPC Fashion and weather&noise. Get a sneak peak of these designers' aesthetics by visiting www.indieemporium.com. There, you can click on any of the designers' names and be taken to their Web site (of one which is the event's own Christine Sharp-Crowe) or Facebook page.
After the fashion show, the raffle winner will be drawn and the silent auction bidders will be revealed.
Indie Emporium is adding an additional element to this year's event. On Sunday, October 11, Circle Cinema will be showing Handmade Nation. This "indie craft documentary" is the first Oklahoma showing and can be seen at 1pm or 3:30pm. In-between each showing will be a reception with mini-craft workshops from local crafters. And, if you bring your Indie Emporium ticket stub, tickets are only $4. Otherwise, it's $5.
On the Table
So that's the story on the weekend itself, but chances are you're interested in knowing what is for sale Indie Emporium.
Crowe said she received a huge response from vendors this year. In choosing which would be featured at the Indie Emporium, she went for variety. This year features both new and repeat vendors, most from Tulsa with a few Oklahoma City, Little Rock and Texas vendors thrown in the mix.
At this year's Indie Emporium you can stumble upon creations from neon colored jewelry to zombie hair clips to necklaces with circus cookies (those are the brightly pink frosted animals covered in sprinkles as the medallion).
Marigold Journals features journals constructed from vintage hard covered books filled with tea stained pages, lined with vintage wall paper and sealed with a vintage button.
Rainbow Swirlz sells screen-printed clothing and accessories.
Feather by Feather is cruelty free handcrafted feather headbands in bright plumage and each named after a character in a Shakespeare play.
Pete & Paul offer looks for the home, including pillow covers in vintage looking prints.
Rich Gypsy Designs has bags with hand painted vinyl designs and jewelry. There will also be jewelry from designers Love Beads by Linda,
Crowe is also excited about this year's addition of Earth Angel Minerals, a mineral makeup company whose items were just included in the gift bags at this year's Emmy awards.
To attend 2009's Indie Emporium, you'll need a ticket. In advance you can find them at Ida Red, 3346 S. Peoria, or Dwelling Spaces, 119 S. Detroit. Tickets are also available on the Indie Emporium Web site. If you purchase tickets before you get to the door, it's $5. At the door tickets are $8 unless you bring two or more canned food items which will again benefit the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, then tickets are $5. The other case scenario is if you're age 12 and under, then you're free. The Indie Emporium Web site features more designers, more info and links to their MySpace, Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Whether you want to hear some local music, learn a new craft or buy something that tells that bitch in your life how much you care, find it all at the Indie Emporium.
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