When Jen Desmarais first picked up a crochet hook in 2010, little did she suspect that five years later she would be selling cartoon-inspired headbands and cellphone cases at her own geeky craft fair.
“It’s Ottawa artisans with geeky influences,” said Desmarais, 30.
The first-year tourism and travel student is co-organizing Creative Ottawa Nerds, a show that includes everything from Hannibal Lecter mask face warmers to Sailor Moon sculptures at St. Richard’s Anglican Church House on March 21.
Desmarais has sold her crocheted creations before, but this is her first time organizing an event.
She had the idea in December when she learned her dad’s church was renting out space.
“It kind of snowballed from there,” said Desmarais.
In January she and Algonquin grad Whitney Fata started approaching vendors.
“We try to keep the table costs as low as possible,” said Desmarais. “It’s about getting exposure for the artists.”
Wood artist Ben Evans, who makes puzzle-like sculptures called Intarsia, jumped at the chance to participate.
“A lot of people do Intarsia with animals, and he wanted to bring comics into it,” said Sheyna Evans, his manager.
Animation grad and vendor Christie Coulthard said it’s good to have an event like this in Ottawa where comic conventions are less frequent.
“To have something local is great,” said Coulthard. “I really love the atmosphere and the camaraderie that comes from people all liking the same things.”
Coulthard does fan art, an artist’s interpretation of existing characters like Sailor Moon.
According to Rich Lauzon, coordinator of pre-animation and illustration at Algonquin, fan art like his Shaun of the Dead prints are big sellers because people buy what they know.
“I quickly realized that fan art was the money maker,” said Lauzon.
Fan art is a legal grey area, but most artists aren’t asked to stop by the character’s owners unless they are making tonnes of cash.
Lauzon is eager to sell at the event.
“It’s the excitement of the first time,” said Lauzon. “You never know what’s going to happen.”