crazy for crafting
AFW review: The WonderCraft reinvents your wardrobe while you wait
Last night, The WonderCraft opened its doors for a night of re-fashioning. And considering that the business just opened its physical store, The WonderCraft enjoyed an impressively packed space of people drinking, ogling at jewelry, snacking on chocolate and, above all else, crafting.
Austin Fashion Week’s Re-Fashion event invited guests to bring in anything old—a t-shirt, a canvas bag, even a spiral notebook—and remake it into something new.
Anxious participants waited in line at the studio store’s “craft bar,” a vintage counter top akin to a 1950s soda bar. Guest after guest was then served—not with a rootbeer float, however, but with a mighty helping of screenprinting. Behind this bar sat a plethora of crafting tools, paints, decorations and stencils for fabric ready for use.
Participants had a myriad of hand-made screenprints to choose from: a rocket ship, a sewing machine, the state of Texas, an adorably cute fox. And when they stepped up in line, they simply handed in their old item, watched the masters paint the stencil, and within minutes, received the piece back with a fresh, new look.
Two guests in front of me were excited to get their new wearable treats. The first, Alana, brought a black tee that said “celebrate” and placed Texas on the back; the second, Ali, chose a running fox for her striped white tee. I, an admitted craftaholic, could not choose just one re-creation. So I had an image of tools screenprinted on my teal tee and a sewing machine on a canvas bag.
While the items were drying, guests either turned to the left where they were given a free mint julep tea or lemonade from Rollerfeet Sodas or headed up the stairs for a scrumptious personalized chocolate from CHOCbite.
And if waiting for their new craft while noshing on freebies weren't enough, guests were also given an up-close and personal look at Teresa Basa’s stunning jewelry.
A native Chilean who escaped the horrific aftermath of the Pinochet regime in the 90s, Teresa Basa now makes jewelry in Austin using the techniques of the Chilean Mapuche Indians. She shapes rustic metals and weaves bright-colored horse hair to create unique and intricate pieces—reminiscent of another past culture, but captured with a modern sense of style.
She hopes that Austin Fashion Week will increase customer engagement with her work. Her says her goal is “to reach many communities,” including Austin's, by keeping alive the techniques of an endangered style of weaving.
The owners of The WonderCraft, Beth Albrecht, Jenifer Bryan and Kim Sae-Eua, were excited to come together in support of these other local partners. In fact, Austin artists make roughly 95% of the craft products The WonderCraft sell. Kim says that, in her mind, Austin Fashion Week is meant to "bring people out to new places, and experience new things."
Indeed, this event did just that. Guests could engage—using all senses—with a developing community of Austin businesses.
The WonderCraft is open for business. They will host a second event on Thursday and have a grand opening sometime this month. Get ready to have some fun; as it states on their craft bar menu, “Make Things. Meet People. Buy Stuff.”