By Brittany DeKorte
Twice a year for the past six years, Ypsilanti’s local artists have been coming together at DIYpsi (pronounced dip-see), to perform, network, and have a fun time. The goal of the event is to not only connect creative makers to people interested in their crafts, but to keep local money invested in the local economy.
Cre Fuller, who was at the festival with his robot display, founded the event in 2010 with Sherri Green and Marcy Davy.
“The three of us were all crafty people, and we needed a place to sell our wares. We got a bunch of other artist friends together, and had our first event. We’ve moved around over the years, but our winter show is usually at Riverside Art Center, and our summer show is here, at Ann Arbor Brewing Company,” Fuller said.
This summer’s event hosted 82 vendors and 22 live musical performances. An optional donation at the door helped the event pay for the space, volunteers, and bands.
“It’s hard to say how much this event actually makes; we don’t ask our vendors what their profits are, but when you (get) as much foot traffic as we do, it’s a good sign,” Fuller said.
“I’m not here selling anything, but it’s really great to have a place to express my art that is so close to home. I grew up here, I’m getting my master’s (degree) here. It’s not about selling art or promoting, it’s about sharing my art,” said Joanna Ransdell, singer for local Indie/Folk band Joanna & the Jaywalkers, said about her experience.
Leslie Gauthier, from Ferndale, is a veteran to DIYpsi. This summer’s event was her fifth, and she hopes to be back in December for a sixth.
“I started ‘Gingerly Made’ while I was going to college in Toronto. It was nice to have the extra income from doing something I loved. I’ve been selling at shows and cons all over the place for 13 years, but I’ve found a good home in Michigan. There is a really good art vibe here,” said Gauthier.
For students who want to supplement their income like Gauthier did, or are interested in learning new crafts, there are options.
Through WCC, the Michigan Folk school has non-credit classes on spoon carving and staining glass, to making your own essential oils.
For those who missed out on this DIYpsi and are interested in the next, fear not: December 10 and 11, there will be another at Riverside Park.
Applications for performing and vendor tables will be on their website, http://www.diypsi.com/apply/, starting on September 2. The deadline for signup is October 19.