Words and Photos by Melissa Groth
The fourth annual Grump crafts festival was supersized this year at Rosslyn arts mecca Artisphere. 75 local vendors lined the ballroom, mezzanine and entryway, offering all sorts of unique gifts, home goods, clothing, and more. Vendors of this Etsy-IRL festival ranged from baby clothes to bizarre, profane figurines. The trend for holiday gifts this year apparently leans more toward the latter, and there were plenty of weird, sinister, creepy gifts to choose from among the soaps, knit caps and felt jewelry. Cuddles and Rage brought their “disturbingly cute” breakfast food inspired magnets and clay ornaments, Monkey Shynes displayed unique vintage jewelry alongside their zombie baby-head figurines. A bacon-painted piggy bank sat in cruel irony among the many brightly colored banks of This Little Piggy. Creepily beautiful marionettes of DB Puppet were for sale next to Outta Our Minds’ stand of not-quite-so-disturbing children’s hand puppets.
New to the festival this year were hands-on crafts stations including a knitting table and a wrapping station complete with free ribbons, bows, and bags for shoppers to wrap terrarium light bulbs and cardamom-scented hand soaps.
Yetis also wandered the halls this year. One, modeled after the abominable snowman of classic Christmas stop-motion fame, was available for photos. Another, modeled after your nightmares, made its way through the throng with a stocking full of mini candy canes to hand out to the terrified children.
Those who needed a break from shopping could retreat to the Dome Theater where the 1966 The Grinch Who Stole Christmas played on a continuous loop all day. The film was truly meant to be watched on a big screen, repeatedly.
A projection screen in the ballroom played a slideshow of old, somewhat embarrassing photos of Christmases past. Nothing like a good dose of nostalgia, and zombie babies, to get you in that holiday spirit!