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Pitchfork Music Festival: Really, it’s Crafty!

Reported by Sarah Moore

Those in the know about indi-crafts and the DIY movement are aware that Chicago has one of the greatest crafty communities around. We also host a ‘whoo-ha’ load of great music in our fair city. It’s really more than a girl tuned into the craft scene can keep up with. When I first became familiar with the Pitchfork Music Festival I dismissed it… I had heard of several of the bands, but despite my bright red hair and tattoos I am quite the suburbanite really. My ipod is filled with 80’s music and a guilty pleasure’s worth of Justin and Britney (don’t hate).

Then I saw an ad for Pitchfork in ReadyMade magazine… which you should be reading btw. They were going to be there, and sponsored by Benjamin Moore paints nonetheless! I called my musically aware younger brother and asked him about the festival, and he was all: “totally crafty, lots of crafts, craft SHOW in fact.” What the hay?

The Pitchfork Blog said nothing about craftiness, art, DIY, upcycle… none of my favorite buzz words. Under the vendor section there was nothing, na-da. Despite the lack of crafty marketing I took my brother’s advice and signed myself up for a day of music ‘festing’.

I only was able to make one day of the festival… the last, but according to the crafters it seemed to be the busiest of all three days. It was a small but meaty craft show. Coordinated by Coterie Chicago, the artists were all top notch. I really wish I had space here to cover them all. I encourage you to visit this page on Coterie’s website to check out more of the artists for further inspiration. I also apologize to those artists we were not able to include in this report. It wasn’t because we didn’t love your work.

Another topic of note: crafters are getting friendlier and are more willing to share ideas than ever before. In years past when you would ask a crafter HOW they made something or what inspired them even they’d clam up and give you that “oh, she’s going to try to make this herself” look. Nowadays they will tell you where they bought their supplies.

I think DIY artists have perhaps come to realize that there are two types of shoppers at a craft show; crafters, and buyers, and that even a crafter will occasionally buy from another nice crafter. 😉

So on with the inspiration… a lot to see here, so pour yourself a cuppa whatever and settle in.

Coterie Co-organizer Sarah Bortt with her very cool bags made from recycled tires and seat-belts. I dig that she has a bunch of tires sitting around just for crafting. That’s devotion!

As if you needed a reason to wear an eye-patch. My favorite; secret naps!
This is one of the cutest, most original ideas I have seen in a while.

One of the artists, Abby Ferguson, and her Obama patch.
This one is a journal… cool! I bought the paint-palate-patch, and not just because I love alliteration.

Booth neighbor and knitter Heather Baris sports an eye-patch too!


Heather’s work can be found at Girl With a Hook. I loved this free-form hat… I think it’s a hat I could actually wear. And I am not a hat person.

Adorable sock doll alert! Created with cuteness by Megan Lee.

Amazing art by Ashley Alexander at i’m smitten… and whoa that’s a cool website Ashley!



If you don’t love Duct Tape then you are no friend of mine. Eliza Bangert’s work is whimsical AND well crafted. I love these totes!

Hey, that’s a page from my mom’s yearbook! Great idea Eliza! She was also making custom cell phone holders right at the show!

Kathy Panek’s Swallow Kisses jewelry is an amazing example of shrink plastic work. She uses Prismacolor pencils and plastic direct from the Shrinky Dink people.

This is her newest line… very vintage, soft and sweet.

I was already a fan of her last line, that cool 40’s tattoo style is very me.

Not craft related really… except for the sign! But Girls Rock is a great charity. Go read about it and give them money… or sign your little girl up for Rock Camp! They have a show coming up on August 8th at the Metro… how cool is that! I am absolutely going.


Oh wow! A random act of crafting! Jocelyn Lally was knitting in a non-designated craft zone! She works with another great charity, the Arts of Life. They provide arts programs for people with developmental disabilities.

Here’s a story: Luisa Castellanos created Pock-it-Palz. Her mom was helping her at her booth because she is, get this, 16 years old. I mean wow. When I was 16 my mom was lucky if I did my own laundry. Luisa and I never had a chance to meet, but hopefully I will see her again at Renegade and get the rest of this amazing crafter’s story. You go Luisa!

Love these cute little key chains…


Light and pretty… and just sophisticated enough. These are porcelain coasters and other goods by Amy Carolyn Allison of SODA.

This design was one of my favorites. Treehouse… please.

Laurie Freivogel is not just a Coterie Co-organizer… she is way talented! She uses ground glass to silkscreen these unique fused glass pieces; coasters, rings, pendants…. The skirts and dresses below are created painstakenly from upcycled t-shirts! I told you quilting was back… THIS is modern quilting friends!




So much thanks to the very extra nice Coterie crafters. Despite Pitchfork’s lack of marketing on your behalf I think the event was wonderfully coordinated. All the crafters had quality goods to offer and the show was strategically placed to help traffic flow in and out safely, despite the madness going on outside the show.

Not covered in this story: Poster Row… and I am so sorry. I just don’t have room (in my brain) before CHA to give this topic the coverage it truly deserves. So stay tuned for part two of Pitchfork and the inspiration that the wonderful artists of Flatstock displayed at the show.

Oh, and there was music too… but if you want to read about that you will have to visit my blog in a few days. Better yet, just pop over to Venus Zine to read about what they thought, because they are cool chicks and Craft Critique loves them.

I will have my photos uploaded to my Flickr after I sleep awhile… gimme a day or two. Suffice to say it was an awesome show… in short: I ended up backstage at the Flaming Lips and was able to shoot photos in the pit with some amazing local photographers. Awesome!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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6 Responses to Pitchfork Music Festival: Really, it’s Crafty!

  1. Avatar
    Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor July 23, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    That does look like an awesome show! Would love to attend something like that. Some of the products are really cool!

  2. Avatar
    Dale Anne July 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    WOW!!!
    I had never heard of Pitchfork until my daughter (who lives in the Toronto area) was planning to go to the festival.
    Looks like a FUN time!!!

  3. Avatar
    kiku July 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    Thanks Sarah – it was so great to meet you on Sunday, and thank you for the wonderful post! We’re working on planning an event closer to the holidays that does not revolve around a music fest, so stay tuned to our website, where you can sign up to be on our mailing list.
    -Laurie (Kiku + Coterie Chicago)

  4. Avatar
    em July 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    I really wanted to go to the festival, but we were out of town over the weekend. Now I’m just counting down the days until the Renegade Craft Fair…

  5. Avatar
    amy + david July 24, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    Thanks Sarah for coming to the show and noticing SODA. The pic’s you took of us crafty folks + our goods was great! Hope to see you at Renegade or Bucktown Arts Fest.

  6. Avatar
    Heather July 25, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    Why does everything so fun happen so far away from me? LOL