What the Craft?: Craft Bar w/ Etsy Labs at MOCFA

Folks, let's be clear about one thing. I love-in-italics the world of craft and DIY. This is a relatively recent obsession of mine, having blossomed within the last year, and though my skill and follow-through are minimal, my appetite is great. I can (and do) spend hours on DIY design blogs, coloring in an image of my handcrafted home in the sky that will one day have solid floors and walls, a clean white bed with a headboard I will make out of books. I've dabbled in crochet, embroidery, and handmade greeting cards, and I have a budding relationship with the sewing machine.

Lucky for me, San Francisco--a haven for recycled living and individualism--offers plenty to inspire the amateur do-it-yourselfer. I thought I'd share my glimpse into this world with you here, in a weekly series I'll call "What the Craft?" that will probably appear, let's be honest, once or twice a month.

First up: Craft Bar with Etsy Labs! This is an event the first Thursday of every month at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art. They bring in a different local artist and/or crafter each time to lead a project. You pay $5, they provide the design, materials, and instruction. Oh, and they have $1 beers. Sometimes there's one project, sometimes you can choose from several, but from what I've seen, they're always delightful.

Last week, I made the clip-on bow tie you see above. Hand-sewn with love by moi. Impressed? Feel free to leave a comment telling me so. The pattern came from WhipperSnapped and the fabric was donated by Britex Fabrics, a San Francisco landmark with four stories of floor-to-ceiling designer goods sure to make any crafter weak in the knees. The best part is the actual artists and other knowledgeable folk are on hand to show you exactly what to do and walk you through each step of the process.

I made it to another Craft Bar a couple months back where I made this felt bib necklace, still missing the necklace part, so really just a cool piece of felt. But I mean, awesome right? 

Craft Bar is cool because you get to be there with a bunch of other like-minded people, giddy with the thought of using their hands to make something lovely. They crowd the door and fight their way in for seats and scissors. The first time I went alone and got to know an older lady next to me. Last week I went with friends and we hardly spoke because we were concentrating so hard on stitching our bow ties just so.

You get in this trance while crafting, you know? Your brain ticks off, your hands work, and your eyes focus. While you may not be able to socialize and do an overstitch at the same time, you feel good in this collective creativity, this warm lighted room full of people who just want to leave their jobs and spend a couple hours making something simple and pure.


  1. Absolutely LOVE the necklace! And the bow-tie is perfect - looks professionally made.

    I, too, have recently become enamored with DIY projects and design. Though, I admit, I have stayed away from anything that involves jewelry or clothing - sewing is a bit beyond my capabilities at the moment. I've focused more on DIY lighting ideas, and furniture you can make yourself.

    I'm excited to see your future projects, Shannon! Keep 'em coming (hopefully more than once a month) :D

  2. I would so be there. $5 dollar crafts with $1 beers? Sign me up!

  3. This is amazing!! I'm so there!