‘Craft Rumble’ entertains, opens minds to material reuse

Here’s a fun event we got to experience a while ago. If you like ‘crafting’, you’ll certainly want to see this very colorful story …

Getting ready for the SCRAP Rebel Craft Rumble are organizer Jon Toorock; Janet Strahl, secretary of their board; “Craft Cop” and staff member Jenn Alvin; and volunteer raffle ticket seller “Chrissy Pretty-Piñata”, a/k/a Sarah Dyer.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Dressed in kooky costumes – high fashion, and casual – competitors and audience members filtered into the Clinton Street Theater for the second annual “SCRAP Rebel Craft Rumble”.

“SCRAP is an acronym for the non-profit organization ‘School & Community Reuse Action Project’,” pointed out the volunteer event chair – and unseen announcer – Jon Toorock.

The illustrious panel of judges – Jen Neitzel and Richard Fox from DIY Lounge, Lindsay Newkirk, and public radio’s Destination DIY host Julie Sabatier – say they’re ready to start accepting bribes from competitors.

MC Alyssa Kail makes a dramatic entrance.

“This extravaganza is a ‘craft-off’ between ultra-crafty competitors, using only reused materials that they have never seen until that very moment,” explained Toorock about the competition then about to start.

“It is important to educate people about the concept of reuse, and how it helps the environment,” Toorock continued. “It’s about saving materials, and not throwing them away – and how you can turn used materials into great things, like art. This is part of SCRAP’s effort to open minds to the concept of reuse, and to raise funds for our programs.”

“Crafty Bee” Bridget Benton is interviewed about her strategy – and the swag she intends to hand out to the judges.

“The criminal of craft, Miss Demeanor” – Shawn Bowman – is unmasked, but is still shackled to her “prison guard”.

More an over-the-top raucous entertainment event than a serious artistic competition, the Rebel Craft Rumble Mistress of Ceremonies, Alyssa Kail, SCRAP’s creative reuse manager, moved the program along with light banter. Contestants were allowed to present the four judges with bribes before each competition, hoping to sway their vote. And, the “Craft Cop” locked up those who were too rowdy – or not rowdy enough.

After the show, Donna Sanne, Operations Manager of SCRAP, said their staff and about two dozen volunteers produced the event, which raised about $2,000 to help their efforts to educate children, adults, and businesspeople about the benefits of reuse.

Competitors discover their challenge: Embellish a wooden chair.

“We sold more than 130 tickets, and had a raffle for our ‘Fill minds not landfills’ project,” Sanne said. “It is becoming our big community engagement event that draws both audience members and crafters from the greater Portland area.”

Although school is out for the summer, they’ll be holding “Camp Scrap” where “kids let their imaginations run wild” each week during July.

For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

Miss Demeanor and Crafty Bee race to complete their craft before the time limit.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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