Shopping Handmade with Etsy Dallas
I discovered Etsy Dallas around Christmas time a few years ago and was amazed at the variety of handmade and vintage wares presented by folks right here in DFW. Each member sells on Etsy, but many of them sell in other locations as well. Twice a year the member-run craft collective holds an open-to-the-public event where all the members can gather under one roof to sell their products and mingle with shoppers. There’s an annual event in November called Jingle Bash and a Spring Bash leading into summer.
Bonus Fun Stuff:Antiquing in and Around HEB.
Many member artists focus on holiday items at Jingle Bash and present gift offerings for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduation and Weddings in the spring. Of course, lots of these goodies make fun gifts (or gifts to self) year-round. The great thing is that you can shop at any member’s Etsy store any time. Many of them have active websites and social media in addition to their Etsy stores, so you can effectively shop 24/7, 365. Visit EtsyDallas.com to learn more about this group and its artists.
This year, I finally made it in person to the Etsy Dallas Spring Bash. It was their 10th annual celebration and my first one ever, and wow, was it a great time. Other than wishing for a larger bank account, I can’t name a single desire that couldn’t be satisfied at this fun event. The bash itself was held in the South Side Ballroom at Gilley’s Dallas. You know what that means? Indoor events mean climate control and nice restrooms. I enjoy festival season as much as anybody else, but it’s oh so nice to be able to shop amid all the modern comforts.
Follow along to see some of my favorite sightings of the day and click the links below to shop at any of their stores.
Elevating the Expected
Everybody expects to find handmade jewelry, soap, and candles at art festivals and handcrafted shows. Of course, this one didn’t disappoint, and a few vendors took their offerings up a notch.
Her signature jewelry of miniature flowers and succulents crafted from polymer clay was on display, but it was the display itself that drew me in. I half expected to see woodland creatures romping among the blossoms. It was definitely the most beautiful booth of the day!
I was delighted to find a DIY mini spa set up in the bathroom at Gilley’s with lotion, scrubs and more for anyone and everyone to try. My hands definitely appreciated the Lavender Mint sugar scrub I sampled, and everyone in the ladies’ room agreed that the Exotic Satsuma lotion smelled wonderful.
Speaking of smelling wonderful, the best thing I smelled all day came from this vendor’s bath line. The Palm Island Body Butter takes me away so far and so well that Calgon is jealous and threatening to retire. The owner tells me she’ll give my suggestion to rename this fragrance “heaven” serious consideration.
A Little Unexpected
You can certainly expect any art festival or craft show to have its share of jewelry, stationery, soap, candles,and wall art. I saw lots of all of the above, but I felt a few really approached their category in a new way. I also saw a couple of products I hadn’t encountered before.
When you see the perfect gift for a friend who has everything, you have to buy it, right? Well, I did but before I settled on that gift, I thought I might just have to gift myself. I had no idea reclaimed book art was a thing, but now it’s kinda my favorite thing. If you have book lovers on any of your gift lists, it might be your new favorite thing too.
You’ll definitely find plenty of wall art at any craft show or festival and this one was no different. A few out-of-the-ordinary styles jumped out at me, like this Zentangle art. Zentangle is a method of relaxing and creating beautiful art at the same time by drawing structured patterns. I spoke to Sharon, the artist, and she said she definitely “colors” to relax. I love how she’s integrated the tangles into all kinds of familiar shapes, including one of my favorites, the Dallas skyline.
Much of my favorite craft art involves mixed media, and Dilania has done that artfully in these blingy (and definitely inspiring) shadowboxes. Typography is part of the art, and the letters are further embellished with natural and semi-precious stones. She offers custom products as well as a wide selection of pieces based on family relationships and favorite scriptures.
Not Just for Girls
You may think this kind of event is geared 100% toward women, and for sure, the girls will have a great time strolling through all the fabulous finds at any Etsy event. But you’ll see plenty of families here and you’ll be able to shop offerings for more than just the gals.
Tyler Wayne has been selling tables, lamps, and other small pieces on Etsy for several years. He doesn’t bring samples of his larger design work, but he offered a gallery photo book to look through. You could call his art“home goods” but it’s clearly on a grand scale and it’s decidedly un-girly.
Pet art is always awesome, and this booth had a ton of it. From license plate art to several stylistically different painting formats, this art has all bases covered. The artist also makes sock monkeys, so a gift that your pet can actually play with is not out of the question.
For the Girls
No craft show is complete without plenty of girly things and what’s more girly than flowers? I’m not sure, and I also didn’t know that pressed flowers could be shaped into everything from the state of Texas to ballerinas to portraits of Frida Kahlo. And that’s just the beginning. Andrea makes cards and art prints with the pressed flowers or reprinted from the pressed flower products.
Their tongue-in-cheek t-shirt sayings gave me a heads-up about how fun these two gals are. Their names are Sara and Deirdre; their dogs’ names are Lucky and Franklin. I had fun perusing the t-shirts and hand-sewn bags at their booth, but I was even more delighted to find out they have a small line of handmade clothing in both regular and plus sizes. This turned out to be my find of the day.
This is just a tiny taste of what was on offer and what you might find when you shop local and handmade. If you haven’t yet explored this kind of shopping, EtsyDallas.com is a great place to start.