Tinderbox Brings 'Adult Creative Zone' to Bayou City Arts Festival

The Bayou City Arts Festival, which takes place this weekend in downtown at Sam Houston Park and Hermann Square, is doing something a little differently this year. The Tinderbox, Houston's new local craft space and boutique, will be hosting an Adult Creative Zone with four different crafts for people who want to try their hand at making art.

Ren Mitchell, owner of The Tinderbox, said she always felt a little left out of the activities at arts festivals.

"I'm one of those adults that looks longingly at the kids' craft tables and thinks 'I wanna do that,'" she said.

A Tinderbox workshop instructor had a connection with organizers of the Art Fest, and so Mitchell pitched the idea of the Adult Creative Zone, which will be located right next to the stage and will have projects ongoing on a 90-minute schedule throughout the day.

The Tinderbox is offering four different craft projects, each at a cost of $15 for materials and instruction.

There will be a screenprinting demo where crafters can print an image of the state of Texas onto a canvas tote. There will be a leather stamping craft where crafters can create any design they want on a leather key fob. The Tinderbox is also offering instruction on paper cutting and paper manipulation, along with custom frames for the finished work. Throughout the day, crafters will be able to make Artist Trading Cards as part of a collaborative project. Artist Trading Cards are 2.5 x 3.5 sized cards decorated by an artist. The Tinderbox will provide three blank cards for each crafter to decorate. The person will then get to take two of their own cards home and one card from another artist, leaving one of their own behind for someone else to take.

"We'll also simultaneously have a demo table set up with ten different artists who teach classes at our workshop," Mitchell said. "We'll have basketweaving, embroidery, Illustration."

The Tinderbox opened in April near Continental Club in Midtown, just north of Alabama on Main.

"It's an interesting blend of a workshop, a DIY workspace and a boutique," Mitchell said. "One hundred percent of the items we sell are made by Texas artists, and about 75% are made by Houston artists."

The Tinderbox sells everything from gifts to kitchen goods to craft kits for making at home.

Mitchell said she wants to help reintroduce people to the concept of crafting, and she's hoping to use the Bayou City Art Festival to reach people.

"It's an affordable project -- you get to take something away and you're learning practical skills. We want to introduce people to the idea of a non-disposable culture, where you can make something that will last longer than anything you can buy."

The Bayou City Art Festival is Saturday and Sunday in Downtown Houston. Tickets start at $15.

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