Metro Weekly

Getting Crafty

The Washington City Paper's massive crafts festival returns this weekend


For June Blanks, a trip to Dallas where she experienced her first-ever cup of cold brew coffee was a life changing experience.

“I literally came back home, told my partner about the idea, ran some quick numbers and started developing the brand,” recalls Blanks, who now operates Junius Cold Brew Coffee Company.

This weekend, Blanks will be serving up her handcrafted brew as one of the vendors at the annual Crafty Bastard Arts & Crafts Fair.

“Crafty Bastards last year was amazing,” says  Blanks. “The crowd is always into anything that is handmade, locally made, something different.”

Now 12-years-old the Washington City Paper-produced Crafty Bastards has become a must-do event for the indie craft community across the Mid-Atlantic area. It attracts all manner of DYI-afficionados, including jewelry makers, clothing designers and artists.

First-timers Mariko Iwata of Miks Letterpess + and Drew Storm Graham of SwitchWood are among this year’s 170 vendors. Iwata has designed a series of custom letterpress greeting cards and invitations, many LGBT-themed.  “In the beginning, I just wrote cards that I wanted to make,” he says. “So a lot of them were just ‘I love you’ cards. But there is only so much of a market for ‘I love you’ cards. I was like: I need birthday, I need wedding, I need all assortments of cards. It was just a given that I would need to also make LGBT-themed cards.” 

Graham, meanwhile, creates wooden bow ties, each handcrafted using wood from sustainably harvested sources. The wings are magnetic and can be taken out of the center knot and replaced with a different type of wood or wing shape.

Molly Moran, a full-time federal employee and a crafter on the side, is returning for her second year. Moran’s Snarky Scouts, launched a few months before last year’s event, takes vintage boy and girl scouting badges and re-defines them with a more personal narrative. For example, a badge with the image of scouting’s three finger salute is awarded for “Getting to Third Base.” 

“I made as many I could, and I still could have brought another 200,” says Moran of last year’s event. “This year I’m coming with twice as much inventory.”

The Washington City Paper’s Crafty Bastards is Saturday, Sept. 26, and Sunday, Sept. 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. At Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE. Tickets are $5 for a single day or $8 for both. Visit

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Troy Petenbrink is Metro Weekly's contributing writer for food and travel. He can be reached at

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