West Coast Craft weaves community together

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Alana Wacker

A shopper walks down one of the numerous rows of booths browsing their unique wares.

From pottery embellished with images of goats to cacti ornaments woven out of green thread, West Coast Craft (WCC) displays the distinct works of artists and craftspeople from all over California.

Food trucks, beautiful scenery, and unique commodities attracted hundreds of visitors over the weekend of Nov. 20-21. The craft fair took place at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture in San Francisco. Expansive crowds flocked to see the wares of the over 275 featured artists.

“West Coast Craft is unique because it’s so well-curated. There are so many different artists, and the space is really beautiful. Everyone makes their booth unique to their brand,” said LaToya McInnis, founder of Cocoacentric, a black-owned jewelry brand that creates unique statement jewelry and accessories.

Many of these unique booths lined the interior of the expansive waterfront warehouse. Colorful streamers greeted visitors at the entrance.

“You’re seeing a lot of beautiful artwork from people who probably don’t get to show off regularly,” said Brandon Hosley, founder of Inperfect Denim, a brand selling sustainable recycled denim wear. “This is a great opportunity to see niche products and lots of people’s hard work. We’re serving the art community, which I think it’s really important.”

Many share Hosley’s view on the role WCC plays in supporting California’s art community. WCC enables shoppers to see various products from differing vendors simultaneously rather than discovering one brand at a time.

“Especially since the pandemic, it’s been a struggle, so these markets are really supportive,” McInnis said.

To support vendors like McInnis even further, WCC supports only local businesses.

This is a great opportunity to see niche products and lots of people’s hard work.”

— Brandon Hosley

“They’re definitely looking at bringing in vendors that are keeping it local, made in California,” said Christina Maro, a vendor for Glob Bags, which are totes made out of recycled plastic water bottles.

WCC attracts these local vendors by providing generous hospitality and fostering a positive environment where art can thrive.

“I just had a cart come by with free snacks. I’ve never been treated so well at a craft fair before,” said Cat Hildreth, who sells handmade soft sculptures or cushions.

Such hospitality maintained positive attitudes when the bustling crowds became overwhelming for vendors and visitors alike.

“It’s been really crowded, and I think that a lot of people are excited to be out. It’s the beginning of the holiday season, and everyone is tired of hunkering down,” said KT Carney, a first-time vendor at WCC who displayed handmade jewelry from her brand, Cody Ferris.

From the other side of the business transaction, many shoppers were also surprised by the crowds.

“It’s very busy, and there’s a lot to see,” said Briana Wall, a shopper at WCC.

With vast crowds came considerable diversity among visitors.

“There’s always a whole range of ages here,” said shopper Dani Klein. “People bring their kids, but there are also elderly families. I think it’s really cool that this event is able to bring different generations together.”

WCC highlighted California’s unique artistic landscape while attracting people from all walks of life, perfectly demonstrating the arts’ unique ability to bring people together.