We Built This City

We Built This City
Max-Level Crafters

Nova Barlow | 26 Jan 2010 12:32
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A Tetris dress. A pair of Grim Fandango-themed shoes. Hearthstone pillows. We've all stumbled into curiosities like these on the internet before. We pass them around, post them on Facebook and Twitter and then move on, for the most part. But while most of us keep our crafting confined to our game world of choice, there's a growing trend for people to break through the pixelated wall and create videogame-related crafts off-screen. If you've ever wished you were that talented and wondered how (and why) they do it, you're not alone.

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Some of these creators are life-long crafters and gamers, such as Charlene Gey. "I started making art as soon as I could in life. I've always done it," she says. Her work, which includes Perler bead Zelda coasters and framed Pac-Man cross-stitch has a definite retro flavor, and so does her taste in games. "I started with an old-school Sega Genesis, so I'm partial to Sonic; it's what my sister and I always played. Street Fighter, Beavis & Butthead, Crackdown, and Tetris-like games are also old favorites," she says, along with Mortal Kombat, Pac-Man and Mario Kart. A self-professed artistic jack-of-all-trades, Charlene cites fabric as her medium of choice, although she's learning how to work with metal and glass.

North Carolina resident Nikki S. (known primarily by her preferred nickname, "Nelia") has been a artist since youth, but is also a recent convert to geek crafting. "I began sculpting a year ago due to my own love for gaming," she says. Inspired by one of her favorite games, Silent Hill, she purchased some Sculpey (a clay-like substance) and went to work. "I began making little 'items' from the games, and it just went from there." Nelia's Silent Hill charms took off instantly and led to the creation of her shop, Ordinary Vanity, on Etsy. "A friend suggested I start selling them, and as more people became interested, the variety in my shop grew," she says.

Gey, too, decided to sell her wares on Etsy by forming Argenta Collaborative with a friend in early 2009. "The art sales have been relatively recent in the scheme of things," she says. "The selling experience was a little slow to start, but I'd say overall that it's worked to our favor." During the first week of December, the shop broke its year-end sales goal, and earlier that fall it was featured in the '80s themed "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" roundup on Etsy's official blog, The Storque.