Craft community unites at Harvest Festival

Sarah Van Buskirk
Editor-in-Chief

International crafters and local hobbyists showcased their creative pieces and shared inspiring ideas in Expo Hall 4 for the Harvest Festival at the Fairplex in Pomona on Saturday and Sunday.

The Original Arts and Crafts Show celebrated its 51st anniversary of bringing a community full of different niches together that all share the act of creating work that makes them or others feel good.

Patsy Zavala, owner of Purple Butterfly Design, a handmade jewelry company that uses artist made components and hardware from small businesses to create a collection of eccentric jewelry, said she struggles with bipolar disorder and even though she takes medicine it is not a cure all.

“I do need something to keep me busy rather than watching TV all day because i’m not working out in the corporate world so i’m home all the time,” Zavala said. “I’ve done about 20 craft shows this year. It is a lot of work but it is fun. I love to socialize and these shows are validating that people want to buy your work.”

Zavala uses many components like copper enamel, polymer, glass, cold porcelain and upcycled tin from tea tins, to create her accessories.

She remembers crafting her whole life and watching her mother sew and make ceramics. Zavala said coming to the craft fair is nostalgic and feels like when she was a child with her mother.

Crafters of all ages set up shop displaying quilted handbags, wood works, paintings, ceramics and almost every activity you could find strolling through a Hobby Lobby store. 

The Harvest Festival set up a Kid Zone where children could participate in the different art forms like coloring, ornament making as well as a reindeer food making station. 

A few vendors had Christmas themed crafts to help people shop for friends and family this holiday season. Ornaments, decorations or even an art piece to give away, the Harvest Festival was full of different aesthetics and styles to meet everyone’s needs and to introduce new skills to try out.

Danny Kong, who has owned Danny K, a fine tapestry tote and handbag company, for 30 years said it’s important for people to have hobbies and share them with others because the handmade and personal aspect of crafting is what keeps people coming back.

Kong’s crafting journey started when he worked with his family in Thailand for a shoe design company. An interior design firm he worked alongside gave Kong two-yards of fabric from a tapestry and he made a bag which he then sold at a farmers market in 1994. The bag was sold right away and many people asked him to make more. Since then he knew this business was for him and has been inspired to keep creating a variety of different styled bags with a bohemian and Persian rug undertones. Danny K sells large bags, laptop sleeves, wallets and small clutches all made in the United States. 

The bags’ tapestry fabric comes from Italy and Kong said that he and his family design and make the bags themselves.

“This started as my part time job, the thing I do on the weekends,” Kong said, “Now look at it, it is booming and my business took over the place.”

Magdalena Krutsky, owner of Magdalenkala, an upcycled clothing boutique, said that sustainability is a big part of her business.

Using other clothes and fabrics to create hippie and beachy designs on denim, jackets and more, Krutsky said the only thing she buys new is needle and thread.  

Krutsky moved to Seattle, Washington, after growing up in Prague, Czech Republic, and found thrift stores where all clothes were ¢ 99. She would send clothes back to Prague for her sister and then the idea hit her. If the clothes are so cheap why not make my own she said.

“I started selling at the swap meets and my customers keep asking me if I have a store,” Krutsky said. “They told me I should study fashion and then I was in fashion for 20 something years and my last job was with Forever21 which is such a fast fashion business so this is my revenge.”

Kristen Allison, owner of Natures Window, a natural home fragrance, has been creating dehydrated fruit and herb wreaths and bushels for 20 years.

She started as a potpourri business, bottling the oils from the components but has expanded her business selling environmentally friendly fragrances that one could smell from yards away. 

Allison said she built custom dehydrators that let her produce large batches at once and said that anyone can dehydrate at home.

“Ours is a technique the way we dehydrate the fruit so it stays pretty for years,” Allison said. “But we would have to kill you if we gave our secret out.”

Sarah Van Buskirk can be reached at sarah.vanbuskirk@laverne.edu.

Sarah Van Buskirk is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. She is the Spring 2024 editorial director for the Campus Times and has recently served as editor-in-chief, sports editor and staff writer. She is also currently a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine, and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine.

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