Arts and crafts meet punk rock


Knit, snip, weave, and head-bang. On Saturday, the Blue Moose Tap House will combine the creative fantasies of Pinterest with the hard-core beat of punk-rock music in the first partnership of the What a Load of Craft fair and the Mission Creek Festival. The fair will run from noon to 6 p.m. 

“It’s always exciting at the beginning of our spring booking to see who we get for Mission Creek week,” Blue Moose booking manager Cole Nedved said. “All music venues in town act like little kids on the playground opening up a pack of baseball cards when the confirmed bands start rolling in: ‘Ooo, who did you get this year?’ ” 

Though Nedved regarded it an improbable match, the crafts fair will feature live music from punk-rock band Lipstick Homicide to accompany its various arts and crafts-related activities. Blue Moose will also host hip-hop artist Freddie Gibbs at 9 p.m. today and indie band Foxygen at 6:30 p.m Friday as a part of Mission Creek. 

Perhaps the most “punk rock” arts event at this year’s festival is the Craft Death Match, a crafting competition that was inspired by an Australian game show. The event was disbanded in the past for being loud and distracting when the festival was held at the Johnson County Fairgrounds. 

This year’s Craft Death Match will feature decorating a giant egg, painting a portrait of Lipstick Homicide, and knitting with gigantic needles and yarn. The competition will take place at 5 p.m.  

“We are really happy to have the opportunity to go back to [the craft fair’s] roots with this event, which will showcase 15 crafters, lots of live music, and the return of the Craft Death Match,” craft-fair cofounder Grace Locke-Ward said.

The first such festival was held in 2006 with just 10 vendors and a few local bands in an attempt to sell crafts. Each year, the fair expanded until the fair’s people decided to move their operation from the upstairs of the Picador (currently known as Gabe’s) to the Johnson County Fairgrounds. 

Locke-Ward said the move was a giant leap, made possible through overwhelming support from fellow crafters.

“We had more than 50 vendors and thousands of attendees each year we were at the fairgrounds,” she said. “It was really fantastic, but it got to a point where putting on such a large event also made it very difficult for us to enjoy and focus on making our own crafts.” 

One vendor at this year’s What a Load of Craft will be photographer and paper-goods artist Kate Funk. She got her start in 2008, when she was working at Broadway Paper, a local paper store in Milwaukee. 

“One day, we were making paper party hats, and I decided to make a tiny one to give to AC, my cat and model, when I got home,” she said. “To my shock, he didn’t mind wearing it. So I decided to make a birthday card for one of my friends using AC, the hat, and made a background out of construction paper. My boss at Broadway Paper ended up seeing the card and asked if I could make some more designs so she could sell them in the shop. After that, I started doing craft fairs and searching out other stores to carry my line. Everything eventually snowballed into this becoming my full-time job.” 

This will be Funk’s second appearance at the crafts fair, and she said she is looking forward to being a part of Mission Creek for the first time through what she deems as “the best job ever.” 

“I get to stay home with my cat every day and make costumes and dioramas,” she said. “I travel around the U.S. to do craft fairs and check out other cities, and I’m actually using my degree to do something I love.” 


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