Fêting the unique, handmade
- Published: September 16, 2011
Do-it-yourself is the latest thing among the young and hip and two local trendsetters are throwing a new festival in its honor.
At the first Cyclops Fest on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the Bryan Center lawn, handmade goods, local art, homegrown music and the culture of DIY will be on display — and for sale. It’s a Miami Valley-wide event happening in its logical home, Yellow Springs, where local is loved, according to organizers.
“Yellow Springs already gives a lot of support to local, a lot more than to a shopping mall,” said Brian Johnson of Basho Apparel in a recent interview. Buying the $80 pair of jeans is out, he said, and making your own, or purchasing locally, is in.
Basho, along with local shop Urban Handmade and members of Handmade Dayton, are putting on the festival to support area arts and crafts people competing with the mega-retailers and their imported wares.
“People like to buy handmade, not mass produced, because it is more original and creative and there’s more attention to detail,” said DJ Galvin of Urban Handmade. The trend is especially prevalent among people in the early 20s to 40-something demographic, seen as the customer base of Urban Handmade and Basho. The culture of individuality, ingenuity and creativity is on the rise, Galvin said, and the festival is one way of investing in the region’s local artisans.
“We have a DIY community in Dayton and they deserve to be supported,” Galvin said, pointing out that Columbus has Comfest, Chicago has Pitchfork and now the Dayton area has Cyclops.
At the festival, upwards of 50 vendors will be on hand to sell their homemade products (no imports allowed). Jewelry, apparel, home accessories, handbags and paper goods are just the beginning. Do-it-yourself is more than just hard goods, it’s a way of life, organizers said, and the festival will celebrate DIY culture in all its forms, including homegrown music and entertainment.
The music line-up is truly eclectic. The Yellow Springs band Wheels, a four-piece group of local teens, can be expected to deliver their jaunty folk music with bluegrass roots and pop harmonies. Dayton DJ Ruckus Roboticus, armed with a turntable and drum machine, will mix up funk and hip-hop. Columbus quartet Tin Armor, just named a “Band to Watch” by Columbus alt-weekly Alive, will play some pop punk and indie rock. And WYSO “Jazz Forward” host Nicky Illiopolis will spin together a signature blend of jazz, funk, drum and bass and old-school hip hop. Dancing seems likely.
If taking in the tunes and wandering among the unique booths isn’t entertainment enough, more thrills can be had in frequent arts and crafts demonstrations, bike and skate demos and even a raucous roller derby on the Bryan Center tennis courts. Family-friendly and children’s activities will go on all day, courtesy of the Grassroots Enrichment and Wellness Center of Dayton. And Basho will screenprint on site — so bring your own shirt, Johnson said.
Even more exciting is the possibility of being one of the event’s first 150 customers, who will get “swag bags” filled with free handmade goodies from each of the festival’s vendors and some local shops as well.
While “it’s about the whole DIY experience,” and the Cyclops Fest will be a “monster of a party,” the handmade goods will take center stage, Galvin said.
“So many people hang out at festivals, but what this is about is supporting these artists so they can continue,” Galvin said. “It’s to show the love to artists.”
Galvin, who owns Urban Handmade with her husband, Justin, and mother-in-law, Connie, is behind most of that shop’s handmade and “upcycled” products, including the scrabble pendants, steampunk jewelry made from watch parts and typewriter keys and snarky Yellow Springs tourist T-shirts, including the popular “Come for the Paraphernalia, Stay for the Pizza.”
Johnson, a mixed-media artist on glass who recently joined with Paul Baker of Basho Apparel as a co-owner of the screenprinting shop, helps to arrange monthly guest artists whose designs are featured on Basho clothing. Basho is doing well from its space above the Winds, where the business recently relocated, Johnson said.
Visit http://www.cyclopsfest.com for more information on the festival.