Sunday, December 6, 2009


It's getting cold outside. It's a California cold, which may be looked down upon by those residing in other parts of the country who enjoy braying on about how much they suffer during the winter, but I am of the 'all is relative' sort, so to those who can not handle a native Californian writing about the seasonal chill, feel free to go back to shoveling snow. For the rest of us, crying over our frozen succulents and the fact we can't ride our bikes in shorts every day of the year, have I got the thing for you! I call them leg warmers for your arms, Joshua shortened that to 'Larms', but, no matter what you call them, they are magical! You can type in them (as I am doing now, refer back to the 'relative cold' statement), you can arm wrestle in them, you can chase your 3 year old on a big wheel while riding a tricycle in them (yeah, i did that today, so I know!)....BUT better yet: you can wear them with a t-shirt and they look rad! They are for that gal or guy (yup, mine are multi-gender-al) who has everything who is not afraid to dress outside the box. Great for biking, driving, skating and beer drinking (man those pints are cold when sitting on the patio at the pub in the dead of California winter!) And, the best part is that they are hand crocheted with love by CRAFTINISTA's own Relished Ravin. It is like wearing love all over your arms, and who wouldn't want that?

*To buy yours, click on photo to link to Relished Ravin's online store

Friday, November 20, 2009

Purely Pacha, Welcome to Cosa Nostra

The first time I came into contact with Pacha, I was shopping in Paper Sky, my favorite card and gift shop in San Luis Obispo, and I came across a card for my mother for her birthday. It was waves of green obscuring a woman's face and within it's sublime collaged beauty was imbedded the words, 'stop making sense'. Aside from the Talking Heads reference that was perfect (our family loves David Byrne), Pacha had taken this simple statement and blended it in a lovely and feminine work of art that spoke volumes about the dualities of life, love and self. Her involvement in the Holonic Arts movement, that flaunts the mantra: This is an experiment. And you are part of it. was the second time I randomly ran into Pacha. I submitted a poem and a photo to one of the collaborative art events, and the outcome was incredible. To see so many local artists in one space (Cork Stop Studios) and more importantly, the splendor of the collaborative works, was stunning. The third time Pacha and I came together, I won her Starlight Necklace Kit raffle (apparently twice!), and due to the fact that I have not made jewelry since knotting friendship bracelets in junior high math class under the desk, it took me a while to put together, but once it was done, it was fascinating and lovely to see a celestial representation of the minute I was born in the form of a lovely beaded necklace. So, needless to say, CRAFTINISTA is thrilled to welcome Pacha into our ranks. (And lil' Matitie and Fred, too!)

*fake credit cards by Pacha. Click on images to link to her website.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Godfather on Bags

i have a friend, a man, who will not, for any reason reach into my bag. "gum?" he asks. "sure," i say, "get it, it's in my bag." he hesitates and then looks at me with short shakes of the head, and i remember that he does not venture into the personal land of 'the bag.' i have asked him why, years ago, why he would not, and he simply said that it just seemed weird. i imagine his large hand rifling around amongst tampons long sprung from their wrappers bearing their dusty white afros. or, the small granules of crackers, chips and who knows what else that finds its way under your fingernails when trolling the bottom of the bag for change. the chap stick that has escaped its tube like a true opportunist on the last hot day. a toy truck. a wallet crammed with more receipts than cash. a dozen notes floating freely creating an odd stream of consciousness haiku:
remember the mail
Lee Clark imprisoned, write him
cheese, tiolet paper
in my bag, is a land where my most schizoid self is free to collide with a small collection of personal items creating a place that some men may fear to tread. a place that is all mine.
to claim a fabulous bag for yourself, check out CRAFTINISTA designers:
Relished Ravin, hiphugger, The Peach & Fluffy Muffin

*Bicycle bag by Relished Ravin. Click on pic to shop her online store.

Monday, August 10, 2009

When it is Politically Correct to Laugh

A friend of mine posted some ads from the 40s-80s on facebook a while back, and i can't help but keep going back to them. Look at this one, for instance, advertising a new postage meter. The lovely redhead looks as though she is refusing to use it and the man is fraught with frustration because of her obvious stubborn stupidity. There is another woman at the copier who appears to be laughing at the scene, but it is the text that seems so alarming. 'Is it always illegal to KILL a woman?' the ad asks. My first reaction, truth be told, was a hushed, 'holy sh**'! I mean, how the heck did this thing not end up on the cutting room floor? But then I wondered, was this ad conceived during a time when making fun of the stupidity of women was commonplace and it was a cathartic joke to mention murdering a particularly stubborn female? I see men in shiny suits nudging each other saying, "Right?!" "If only!" and "Golly, isn't that the truth!". But, before I got my panties in wad, I reflected upon the same type of humor now days, only directed at men. I can't tell you how many mass emails I get from girlfriends that wittily unwind the stupidities and shortcomings of males, a few even refer to killing them, or imagining a world without them all together. What I see as one of the most prevelant stereotypes these days, is the ditzy dad. He is always ruining dinner, forgetting to pick up the kids or having inappropriate friends over that usually involves belching while the wife stands in the background rolling her eyes and making quips about husband's stupidity that he is too lame to get as the laugh track fades out. Is this ad gross, or does it just reflect another time saturated with other biases? Are men the new women? After all, "Is it always illegal to KILL a man?"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Card Carrying Member of Humanity

what i want to know is this, people: what does conservation awareness, healthcare, education and gun control really have to do with party politics? do we not all want great schools for our kids where teachers actually teach, not teach to a test? do any of us want to lose everything we worked so hard for to outrageous medical bills? do any of us really think that allowing semi-automatic weapons in urban areas where their sole purpose is to be used by humans to kill humans, is a good thing? (we're not talking hunting rifles, here folks.) when we dig down, do we honestly believe that some prisoners don't deserve a trial based on our own deeply embedded ideas of racism or fear? what if our country were occupied by a foreign army and they started rounding up our men and women in uniform without a fair trial? do we not all want justice of some sort? no, i am not a blind utopian, i know we all have differences and on these issues they are the most prominent, but, i do believe that in order to make progress as a nation, as a world, we must start looking at the knee jerk responses we have and begin moving beyond. our prez had a knee jerk reaction when he criticized an officer for doing his job and it birthed a beautiful moment of apology and redemption in the form of a beer summit. i like that. we are all fallible, we will always disagree, but let us not forget that we are not defined by our labels, we do not have to think within the box that we built around ourselves, or feel pride in the stereotypes that are perpetuated about us as though it is some badge of courage. after all, as i've seen on the back of muddied trucks, some cowboys do indeed love mozart. and i like that, too.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Milton Gravy on God, the Subconscious & True Love

Drew Davis, also known as Milton Gravy, enters the small bistro looking curious, almost as though he had left something here that he was returning to find. He spots me, and looks shocked, even though we had agreed to meet, and then his face warms into a dodgy smile, eyes darting back and forth a bit, and for a moment I wonder what has surprised him. We awkwardly shake hands and I notice his t-shirt. It reads: ‘Got Your Tickets to the Gun Show?’ with two arrows pointing at his lanky biceps, which I believe is a salute to Dwight Schrute, a character from The Office, one of Drew’s favorite television shows. He begins to tell me all of the things I imagine he thinks I want to hear: current exhibit (Higher Grounds coffee shop in San Luis Obispo), his newest paintings dedicated solely to swing dancing, a new hobby of his, and some of the commissioned commercial work he does. But that is not why I am here, and Drew picks up on this when he notices I have not turned on my tape recorder. I am interested in Milton Gravy, Drew’s alter-ego (not to be confused with a pseudonym) who is the genius behind Drew’s cartoons and personal body of work that layers a bizarre and beautiful mix of fine art, confusion, irony, chaos, bliss and deep feeling.
April: Who is Milton Gravy?
MG: He is a mystery. He’s kind of a separate part of me in a sense. My fine art is more Drew Davis. Milton Gravy is more of a cartoon, a different personality all rolled into one. I have different plans for Milton Gravy.
April: What are those plans?
MG: To start a comic called ‘Milton Gravy Cookbook’, but not a cookbook, something artsy and funky with art, comics and poetry.
April: Do you enjoy Milton Gravy more than Drew Davis-in terms of the art each produces?

MG: Yeah. Milton Gravy is more popular, more trendy. I enjoy doing that a lot. Milton Gravy is more from the inside. The characters in the comic book portray their own life is what I’m thinking about. There is a lot of feeling behind it- while the other side [Drew Davis] is more plain. It is not like I look at a landscape and draw a landscape, it is like there are these characters and they are doing things. I guess it is kinda subconscious maybe.
April: Where did you grow up and what was that like?
MG: You know ups and downs. I was raised in a Christian household in Nipomo with three younger sisters- pretty normal if you are looking in from the outside. I dealt with it all pretty well. I was home schooled from the third grade on, my mom did not like the public school system, so I graduated when I was younger, 16 or 17. Started going to community college for a bit. I think that really allowed me to pursue my art a lot more then. I also did not have the peer pressures at the early age that the public school kids had.
April: I was really intrigued by a quote on your Facebook page by CS Lewis, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance and if true, of infinite importance.” What does this mean to you, if you don’t mind me asking?
MG: No, not at all. I consider myself a Christian, following Jesus’ way, the one true way, and I try to have that play a large role in my life as much as I can. A lot of people claim to be Christians but are hippocrates-bad examples of being Christian. Granted, I am a bad example of being Jesus’ way-I am not perfect! Growing up, I always went to church and was involved with youth groups and then when I was kicked out of the house at 18, I was not wanting to live by their [parents’] rules so it was not working at that point, I went to go live with friends. I knew if I really needed help, they [parents] would help me out, but I also knew that they would hold out until I really needed help. But, that was good, too. I learned a lot from that. I know a lot of people who haven’t had that experience and can’t function by themselves. So this house that I was living in [with friends at 18] was like a total crack house. I had pretty much hit a bottom. I wasn’t doing crack, but I did realize I needed to do something because I wasn’t going anywhere. I quit smoking, cut off that group of friends and started looking for another youth group to go to. So I found this group of guys, in fact I am moving in with them soon, so I took a positive turn and am hoping to learn a lot. Some of my drawings, I was pretty high when I did them, and I think since I quit, they have gotten better.
April: Where was Milton Gravy at this time?
MG: He was there. I started doing Milton Gravy a long time ago. I never planned it. I just opened myself up. I don’t have a lot of preconceived ideas about it. For instance, it is hard to answer the question ‘who is your favorite artist?’ If I see art I like, I subconsciously store it, and then it comes out at some point.
April: You make a lot of references to God and the subconscious. How do those two themes relate to each other?
MG: Honestly, I think my subconscious pushes me away from God. I think we all have our sin nature, our carnal desires, and that is all on the inside, so that is what separates us from God essentially. That is what I believe. We can do good things for or to people, or we can stab them in the back, there are definitely two natures. Both of those natures come out in that character, Milton Gravy.
April: What about in Drew Davis?
MG: If I were to make the separation, because they are both me, Drew Davis is a little more surface level, a little easier for everyone to swallow, you know like flowers and landscapes and whatever. I think I may be heading in the direction of the two [Davis & Gravy] coming together as one, in a sense. I am trying to be more honest with myself, and that is who I am-Milton Gravy. It’s a process.
April: Is Milton Gravy capable of things Drew Davis is not?
MG: At this point he definitely has a freer character. I don’t really feel like I have to perform for people. My drawing style is more Milton Gravy; my painting style is something else. Not that I want it to stay that way. When I first started drawing, I was really into drawing monsters and mazes with colored pencils. So, I can see this [Gravy] as my roots, too, and that is a strong connection. When you are a kid, you draw whatever you want, and it is very freeing. Every artist has to have the ‘am I selling out’ conversation. There has to be a crossover between what people want and what you want to do if you want to do it [art] for a living. I enjoy the commissioned work I have to do, get to do. But, Milton Gravy is not fully developed commercially, but I definitely want to, that is one of my goals.
April: Where do you see yourself in the future? Or even in your fantasy future?
MG: I definitely would like to open up my own gallery. I have had a few people encourage me to do so. I have not been around much, but New York or Paris based on photographs and stories I’ve heard of those places sounds good. You know, marriage, kids.
April: Do you believe in true love?
MG: I think love is a choice. I think the love God has for us is the example of love we should follow. Being selfless. Complete selflessness is true love. I don’t think that exists on earth. But I will give it my best shot.

interview by the Godfather, April Worley. Milton's Yellow Head by Milton Gravy (click to link to his online shop)

Monday, June 29, 2009

CRAFTINISTA welcomes Stover Tile & Design

Warm welcome to our newest member of CRAFTINISTA, Chris Stover! He will be featured at our next trunk show July 16th. Not only are we happy to add another talented man to our ranks, but we also love his inventive re-use of organic materials. Click on pics to link to Chris' site. Without further ado:

"Hi, my name is Chris and I'm a tile contractor by trade on the wonderful central coast of California. I was born and raised here and learned the tile trade from my father. My favorite jobs were ones where I got to work with natural stone whether it was marble, granite, travertine, slate, etc.... I always played around with the left over scraps, polishing the edges and making different things.

After a stint in the USMC, I moved back here in 2001, started a family, and started doing tile again. I have a wonderful wife, April, and two kids, Jackson (4) and Adelaide (1). I have made different things for friends and family in the past and from their prodding, and my wife finding this wonderful shop, I have decided to open up shop."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

St. deVille's new Magnolia Line

in Silver/Pearl

or Chocolate/Gold

Magnolia dresses by St. deVille
Now at Ambiance downtown SLO
Hot, Soft & Lovely

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

CRAFTINISTA: It's Evolution

Something I came across yesterday piqued my interest and sent me into brainiac tailspin. It was an article in the Science section of the latest Economist (ahem, your Godfather is a dork, I do not deny this) entitled "Blood and Treasure: Warfare, culture and human evolution". Anyone who knows me well can attest to the fact that nothing gets me hot like the words 'culture' and 'evolution', and well, throw in 'warfare', and that is just the icing on the braincake. But, I digress. So, this article states that some geneticists, anthropologists and the like, are changing they way they look at cultural sophistication. Previously, it was thought that culture evolved as individual intelligence evolved-so say you are living in Africa making bone harpoons 90,000 years ago, well, if you pass this skill on, it will naturally become more effective as time goes on, and culture will become more complex, no? Well, no. Why? Because if harpoon man lives in a very small community of folks who are all consumed doing their 'own thing', like say, his only surviving child, necklace boy, only likes to make shelled jewelry, then perhaps this skill dies with the man only then needing to be re-invented by someone else in the tribe after they all start getting really hungry (we see these 're-inventing the wheel' type scenarios all throughout human history, for instance, the harpoon disappears and pops up again in Europe 35,000 years ago). But, say harpoon man and necklace boy live in a bit larger community where the group works as a whole, then the invention can be worked on by many members of the group to become a more efficient tool. This is called 'group selection':"...collaborative individuals will often do better than groups of selfish ones, and thus prosper..."* And where does warfare fit in? And forgive me, and indulge me, for our purposes I would like to use the term 'warfare' as a metaphor for any cultural struggle, i.e. economic, etc. Dr. Samuel Bowles of the Santa Fe Institute, NM says, in a crude and ugly nutshell, that war (and strife) create much higher levels of altruistic traits in people that in turn push human populations to work together and become incredibly inventive which leads to more cultural complexity as long as the community is large enough and altruistic enough. What the hell is your point? you may be asking, well, this is: CRAFTINISTA is reinventing the wheel. We are certainly not the first movement to try to steer local communities to supporting local artists/designers/businesses, the only difference is, this time we have the population, intelligence, and altruism (perhaps due to our economic downturn and multiple wars) to make it stick if we want it to, but it means, we must do it together to push forth a real cultural (r)evolution. I don't know about you, but 55,000 years seems like a long time to go without a harpoon.
*The Economist 6/6/2009 p 77-78
Prehistoric Man Hunting Bears by Emmanuel Benner

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Milton Gravy


The Godfather interviews local artist Milton Gravy.
Coming soon to launch the new artist interview series.
Stay awake, this is gonna be good.
by Milton Gravy.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


What I like most about hiphugger's bags is not only the sturdiness and fine craftswomanship that goes into each piece, but the originality that makes each bag a unique and interesting work of art. Marcia uses reclaimed fabrics and 'gently used' (in her words) leather belts that give each bag a quality unlike anything else you will throw over your shoulder, or, in my case, stuff full of snacks, a dripping tippy cup and one half of a train set. Each bag has a complete personality with an embedded history. They embody that thing that makes us all so attracted to vintage and antiques, that feeling that with ownership, we are engaging an old friend living in a different era. Our imaginations are free to elaborate upon the tapestry of our beloved treasure, we imagine quirks and dreamscapes. This one I posted reminds me of being 22, driving through the badlands in a floral dress I found at a church rummage sale, barefoot in a cowboy hat. But that is just me. Get your own, see where it takes you. Find a huge selection of hiphugger bags at Ambiance on Higuera in SLO, or click on the photos to link to hiphugger's site.
hiphugger at Ambiance

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Amy Bakes Cupcakes

What most impresses me about Amy O'Kane, aka The Peach, aka Amy Bakes Cupcakes, is her uncompromising ability to make anything lovely. She is endowed with the stuff shared by many remarkable women throughout time: the gift of gorgeous that seems to seep from her pores as effortlessly as her glossed smile. The incredible thing to me, is that for a young woman (no need to embellish here, ahem) with two teen-aged sons who are as good as the day is long, she has the chutzpah to start a new business that grew so naturally out of her current endeavor, her label The Peach that features reworked vintage clothing, party favors and adorable hand made bags (I am the proud owner of one, two...FOUR!) But do not be fooled by her demure exterior, Mrs. O'Kane is as much a hustlah' as the boy on the corner. She began in her teens, scouring the swap meet and yard sales with her eldest son, Robin, for great finds that she would take home, and work her magic on, only to be sold again restored and adored into a new and fabulous item. And now, the launch of Amy Bakes Cupcakes that have already have the whole county drooling (myself included! I was lucky enough to be a tester). Find her delicious and adorable cupcakes at the Granada Bistro in SLO, or, click on the photo of the 'Bachelorette Cupcakes' (also by Mz. O'Kane) to link to her website where you can order any flavor under the sun, including vegan & gluten-free! Your guests will worship you for it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Keep On Keepin' On

I just got an email from my rep today. She said the retail world is "the worst" she has seen it in her "entire career." Mama Mia! My first instinct was to be relieved that I simply had not received any orders for my fine artwear line St. deVille, versus, my fax machine not working. My second thought was recalling how excited I had been when my line was picked up by a professional rep and how I jumped around the house, swung my giggling toddler around in the air, and drove my husband insane with my incessant chatter about the whole damn thing! And here I am, twiddling my thumbs (metaphorically speaking since I usually have no time for that kind of nonsense, and when I do, I like to waste my time on Facebook instead), wondering about the next step. But there is almost an odd calm about the way I feel that has been puzzling me, and then it hit me. Wham! Yes, the money would be grand, don't get me wrong; I would love to sink the cash I used from our family coffers to launch St. deVille back into our pockets, lord knows we need it, but regardless of whether I sold another thing I ever made, I would continue to create, and THAT is what separates the Handmade Nations, the CRAFTINISTA, from the MallWarts. Even if we are broke, we artists scavenge through our junk drawers, hit up the free listings on craigslist (shout out to you Jenny), pick things up off the sidewalk, ransack the Mission Thrift and we turn them into wonderful loved possessions that feel good in your palm, or soft on your skin, or sparkle in the light. Our trunk show is the day after tomorrow, and I hope it is profitable for all of us, but mostly, I want this event to be a symbol of our solidarity as a community. I want everyone who attends to feel the love that we put into our work to share with you. I want folks to realize that they can buy lovely gifts from local people who use the money to fuel our passions, enrich our local culture and feed our families. I want to hear the buzz of roaming voices, nibbling Amy's cupcakes and sipping wine, all in abstract agreement that no matter how tough it gets out there, there are a band of us, loving, creating and sharing. Because thats how CRAFTINISTA do.
('Keep On Truckin' by R.Crumb)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Logo by Craftinista's own Joshua Jesse

Thanks to our resident graphic design guru, Joshua Jesse, freelance designer, former Art Dept. Head of guitar co. Ernie Ball, we have a gorgeous new logo. SLICK! Look for Craftinista tote bags for sale at the April 9th event, to keep it real, and keep it green. Represent.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sprockets: by Houry

I am a huge fan of CRAFTINISTA Houry's photos; there is always a subtle irony, a beauty, a sublime blend of grace and grit. This one is my new favorite.
Click on the photo to link to Houry's flickr page.