“I have to make more stock.” That was the repeated refrain from vendors at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles today, on the third day of business for San Pedro’s new crafts marketplace. How great is that: Artisans having to (getting to) make things. In a barrel-roofed warehouse that had sat empty for years, a homemade economy just bloomed.
During the three years I’ve lived in Pedro, I’ve driven by these two old shipping warehouses hundreds of times. I always said someone should turn them into a crafts/vintage/farmer’s market. Someone, namely Bergamot Station’s Wayne Blank, did (well, crafts anyways). The first phase of Crafted opened Friday to much fanfare and a great turnout. I couldn’t even wedge my way into a few booths.
So I came back today, and discovered that already, Crafted is anchoring a new arts community. A couple vendors told me they are looking to move to the neighborhood. Others told me how sellers have already bonded. The crafters come from Riverside to San Diego. I wish there were more Pedrans, but hopefully, if this continues to be so successful, the locals will come.
There are lots of jewelers, ceramic artists, T-shirt makers, leather toolers, sculptors of succulents, specialty foods, etc. I got a cool leather belt with a wood grain pattern from Lint and Buttons. Hepp’s Salt Barrel adds flavors like ghost pepper and alderwood to sea salts. Circles & Squares makes T-shirts inspired by children’s games and fantasies.
Price points are a little high — but then you’re buying art, not crap made in China. Not every stall was my cup of tea. But I’m excited that I’ll never have to buy another gift at Target ever again. I can walk down to Cabrillo Beach, past Frank Gehry’s aquarium, through the marinas, and earn my carb intake at the Donut Snob booth, while I figure out which imaginative jeweler to support this time at this terrestrial Etsy.
The LA Times had a story today about some of the Pedro renaissance. Discussing the opening of the USS Iowa this week and the eventual revamping of Ports of Call, the article just skimmed the surface of what’s afoot here. They weren’t there yesterday for the 65th anniversary party of the Corner Store, where the ‘hood turned out for free food and backyard music. You can get the best cup of cappuccino in town at the hangout owned by Peggy and Bruce — as well as goods by local artists. The Corner Store has more Pedro crafters than Crafted, so far.
In papers about where they live, Cole’s classmates always say they live in the small town of San Pedro — which makes me laugh, because hey, we are in Los Angeles. Crafted and the Iowa may bust open the “locals only” mentality that has kept Pedro small. That’s a good and a bad thing. But any time people are encouraged to spend the week being creative to replenish their stock, it’s a plus overall.