This weekend's Modern Makers Spring Craft Bazaar isn't of the church basement variety.
Wares for sale will include handmade iPad stands, journals made from repurposed books, Kindle cases and vintage china painted with skulls. A DJ will provide the music for the event, and if shoppers get hungry, they can venture outside to one of the food trucks for a meal or a snack.
Event organizer Jil Bunnimit, founder of the local artist group Handmade Omaha, hopes the bazaar inspires people searching for Mother's Day, graduation or baby shower gifts to check out local artists and crafters, all while enjoying music and maybe an order of Localmotive's rounders. The event is Saturday and Sunday at the Bancroft Street Market.
Bunnimit wanted to highlight Omaha artists and crafters. The illustrator and artist has shown her art in Omaha for years, and she sells it on Etsy, too. But Etsy lacked one of the things she liked best about showing and attending openings.
“There wasn't really a way to connect with customers,” she said.
So she decided to make her own way to connect.
During the first Benson First Friday art walk last summer, she set up shop in what now is the Sweatshop Gallery. Other crafters noticed and asked if they could join her. Bunnimit moved her makeshift real-life Etsy store to the old Benson Theater building along with four other artists. Within a few months, 11 crafters were selling their creations there.
The monthly craft shows at Benson First Friday ended as the weather cooled off. (The theater building is unheated.) But Bunnimit wanted to keep the periodic craft fairs alive, and she also wanted to keep the participating artists connected. So she organized a holiday bazaar where shoppers could find unique handmade gifts. She posted a call for artists and crafters on Facebook and received more than 15 responses.
The holiday event was successful — about 300 people attended — so the Modern Makers decided to have a spring bazaar, too. This one will feature 21 vendors selling jewelry, skin-care products, household items made from reclaimed wood, baby bowties, baby blankets, illustrations and other gift items.
“We wanted to appeal to people who would go to Etsy to do their gift shopping,” she said.
The bazaar also will have a DIY table — something that was featured during last winter's show, when Bunnimit noticed that parents used it as a babysitter while they explored. That alone was enough reason to keep it going, she said.
The Modern Makers Spring Craft Bazaar is in part to introduce Omaha to local artists, she said.
But it's also a chance for artists and crafters to create a fun, unique and thoughtful shopping experience for Omaha.
“We are very community-based,” she said.
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