Ava Brown’s unique craft works require a lot of intuition — and many trips to thrift stores and garden centers.
Under the name “The Prickly Pear,” Brown, 13, from Holladay, sells cactuses and other succulent plants, repotted in vintage ceramic containers.
Brown was one of more than 20 young entrepreneurs selling their goods in the Kid Row section of Craft Lake City, the do-it-yourself craft festival marking its 11th year this weekend — and its first in new digs at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City.
Kid Row, which was limited to a few hours Saturday afternoon during the three-day festival, is designed for craft makers 14 and under, said Angela Brown, the festival’s executive director. One young artisan was 2½ years old, she said, though most kids participating are older.
Ava Brown, who is not related to Angela, finds her containers — coffee mugs, candleholders and the like — in the knickknack section at thrift stores, and puts a plant in each one.
Each plant comes with a tag, with care instructions and a name Brown has chosen. “I look at them, and I name them,” Brown said Saturday, adding that she doesn’t know why a particular name is right for a plant. As for the pairings, she said she chooses what “just feels right.”
Sophia Sexton, 14, of Salt Lake City, sold cards with her drawings last year, but this year added stickers to her repertoire.
“They seem to be super popular,” Sexton said, adding that most stickers are designed with a computer, and “I thought it would be cool to do nondigital art.”
A good sticker design, Sexton said, is “something super simple, but still detailed.” Her favorite is of a faceless person with long hair, wearing a corduroy jacket. “I’ve never seen it before,” she said, adding that the design was inspired by a jacket she owns.
Nearby, 9-year-old Imogen Nesse, of Salt Lake City, has made some of the tiniest artworks among this small circle of artisans. Under the name Mo’s Miniatures, Nesse creates reproductions of food — such as sushi, ice pops and, her favorite, heart-shaped waffles — out of polymer clay, then bakes them until they’re hard.
Nesse also designs the labels for her works, which are inspired by Japanese culture. Nesse said she’s fascinated with that culture, particularly anime (her favorite title is “Little Witch Academia”).
A few tables away, 13-year-old Casey Hackford-Peer, of Salt Lake City, had a table loaded with laser-cut wood sculptures depicting the Utah capital’s skyline and Delicate Arch near Moab. Hackford-Peer first used his laser cutter to create perpetual calendars, and he had several versions of those on display — with his 17-year-old brother, Riley, giving the sales pitch to prospective customers.
The younger Hackford-Peer cut his first calendar prototype a year ago, and got hooked on the process. “It was super cool, and I thought, ‘This could be made into a business,’” he said, sitting next to his most ambitious wood sculpture, a free-standing 2½-foot 3-D wood model of the Eiffel Tower.
Other siblings were showing off their works. Qiya Alandia, 11, of Orem, displayed cards and pins of her characters — a few original creations, and some fan art from Marvel and “Anne of Green Gables” — for her second year. Sharing Alandia’s table this year was her 8-year-old brother, Gyan, who was marketing fragrances under the Mountain Boy Apothecary label.
“Last year, I didn’t do any fan art, and it didn’t sell out as well,” Qiya Alandia said. Still, her cartoon-based style, sold under the Sitali Moon brand, is one of a kind. “I want people to say, ‘This is this person’s art. It’s not anybody else’s,’” she said.
Angela Brown, the festival’s executive director, said that by midday Saturday, Craft Lake City had sold some 2,000 more tickets than at the same time last year — the event’s final year at downtown’s Gallivan Center.
The larger Fairpark venue, she said, “has an event infrastructure” that better accommodated the growing event. For example, she said, the Fairpark was able to provide electrical hookups for all the food trucks in attendance.
Brown also cited the availability of Fairpark buildings, which allowed visitors to enjoy the air conditioning when the day got too hot. Because of that, she said, she expected vendors to sell more this year.
Craft Lake City continues Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. at the Fairpark, 155 N. 1000 West, Salt Lake City. Tickets are $7 at the gate.