Supporting Local Artists and Makers While Social Distancing

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As much as I love technology and benefit from mass production and large corporations, as an artist, the things I appreciate most are hand-crafted by independent makers, artists, and small businesses.

Shopping locally has been more challenging lately as the farmer’s markets, festivals, and small shops I used to visit have been forced to close or drastically reduce usual operations due to COVID-19 temporarily.

A few months ago, when the United States government sent a stimulus payment, it was important to spend it in a meaningful way. As small as an impact as it might have had, I kept the money local and used it at small restaurants and independent shops.

There’s so much to do here in Tucson that even those who live here don’t get it all done. One place I’ve meant to spend more time on is 4th avenue. It’s a neighborhood near the University of Arizona with lots of shops, cafes, and historic and quirky places.

Tallboys on 4th avenue in Tucson: Breakfast AF

Before COVID-19 put life on hold, I had a chance to get down to 4th avenue and eat at Tallboys but didn’t have time to go into any shops.

In particular, one shop I’ve been excited to visit is Pop Cycle, a store that features up-cycled items made with recycled materials and locally produced art.

While I can’t visit because they’re only offering shipping and curbside pickup at the moment, I was able to shop online and purchase a number of really cool items.

The green snapback hat features a hand-cut felt javelina made from recycled materials. Most of us desert dwellers are quite fond of javelina, and I was happy to add this little representation of the local wildlife to my wardrobe.

monster booty threads javelina cap and leather cuff

The leather cuff is hand-tooled and made from a recycled belt. I love that it’s comfortable to wear, easy to care for, and a breeze to take on and off. It matches just about everything I wear and plays nice with other bracelets as well.

Monster Booty Threads produce both of these items. It’s an in-house line at Pop Cycle that creates clothing, accessories, and handmade monsters.

It’s amazing how small shops have been able to develop creative ways to weather the current retail environment. I purchased these items on the Pop Cycle website, and they were delivered to my home within a day or so.

I’ve had a lot of fun supporting local artists and makers lately, and I encourage you to check them out and see what kind of creative options the stores in your area are offering for shopping while social distancing.

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