Craft Sabbath is one of Salt Lake’s alternatives to the traditional LDS Relief Society fair. Self-professed rebels, a DIY (do it yourself) co-op of 22 crafters gather the first Sunday of every month to hock their handmade wares.
Unless the first Sunday is a holiday then the Sabbath is moved to the following weekend. Current events are held at Nobrow Coffee and Teahouse located at 315 East 300 South.
You probably have a general idea of what crafting is; a group come together to socialize and glue macaroni on photo frames, two-liter soda bottles turned into mobile, and six-pack rings turned into snowflakes.
Craft Sabbath takes it up a notch.
“There’s a huge alternative craft movement. All these other cities have these craft markets and monthly groups that meet and these alternative crafting societies,” said Meg Griggs, the founder of Craft Sabbath.
“Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design,” written by Faythe Levine and Courtney Heimerl, was released in October of 2008 and got Griggs’ wheels turning.
The book talks about groups of crafters and markets.
“Why don’t we have these here? With the basis of the Mormon Church and crafting and quilting and all that…why do we not have that? So we just started doing it,” said Griggs.
In December of 2008, the first Craft Sabbath was held in the Kayo Gallery and featured five artists.
In just a year and a half it has since grown into a 22-artisan co-op. One of the prime factors that have made this co-op so successful in such a short amount of time is that the items must be affordable.
“You can have your high-end pieces if you want but you also need to have something that’s affordable for everybody, ” said Griggs.
This includes $5 and $20 items up to$100 necklaces.
The co-op ranges in items from gas scented soap, glass jewelry, crocheted squids and re-worked vintage clothing.
The Craft Sabbath co-op is also currently closed. The way that it’s been set -up is that each of the current members has met the vending criteria and paid their dues in sweat and time.
In addition to being able to vend during the Sabbath, each member of the co-op takes on additional responsibilities, such as marketing, public relations, and vetting new applicants.
This also ensures that each member is committed to the continued success of the organization and themselves by becoming invested in the Sabbath and the crafting community.
The core of the Craft Sabbath ethos is that all products must be locally and handmade. No imported items.
Kali Mellus has been with Craft Sabbath from the beginning and is a member of the co-op.
Mellus makes her craft from found materials ranging from leaves and flowers to industrial discards like screws and staples and embeds them in Lucite.
Mellus is also one of the artists that are able to make a living at her craft.
“I’m stoked. I even have a person doing knock-offs now,” said Mellus.
In fact there are several artists that make their living from craft markets.
“The rest of them, its part-time passion,” said Griggs.
Griggs is a full-timer, running and participating in Craft Sabbath is her “Only gig right now”. Her craft is embroidery and she does take commissions.
Not all of the 22-artist co-op is able to vend every month. You can apply to Craft Sabbath and become an alternate when one of the steadies is unavailable. Be prepared to stand in front of a jury. There is a co-op jury that makes sure you stand up and meet the Sabbath’s criteria.
For a list of dates, artists and application to be an alternate and perhaps work your way into the co-op visit craftsabbath.com.