Look out lovers of all things curious and creepy, the Strangely Dark: Oddities and Curiosities Market is coming to Lakeland Square Mall June 8 and 9. This event will kick off a three-market series by Specialty Pop-up Events before moving on to Sanford in July and Melbourne in August.
Specialty Pop-up Events puts on one-of-a-kind events across the state. According to owner Jason, vendors will sometimes call to be a part of a pop-up with products that are a little too unique or odd for the theme of other markets. “Curiosities and Oddities is an event built for these kinds of unique products like snake skins and skulls and bones, and wizardry,” explained Jason.
Around 30 vendors will have their wares on display including punk, dark arts, taxidermy, wizardry, gothic art, indie, alongside other oddities and curiosities. Jason says attendees can expect, “Cool vendors, unique products, and items they’ve never seen before.”
If you are an oddities vendor that would like to participate in the market or have any questions, check out their Facebook event page, or email Specialtypopupevents@gmail.com.
I Love Leftovers
One such unique vendor to see at the market is Lisa Pierson Emanuel and her shop, I Love Leftovers. Based out of Fernandina Beach, Lisa started her business by re-purposing and upcycling items like old windows and adorning purses with silverware handles.
After working on an assemblage that required a doll arm, her line of doll part creations took off.
These delightfully creepy works of art are a notable part of Lisa’s inventory, but she also creates other one-of-a-kind oddities like jewelry made with pieces from family game night classics like Clue and Monopoly.
The artist discussed her creative process, noting that much of the sourcing for her projects are done at thrift stores. Often, Lisa will see an item and know she wants to make something with it. She’ll purchase it and let the idea come to her at its will.
One example is an old music box with a broken ballerina. She bought it, and let it sit in her craft room until one morning the idea came to her. “I decoupaged over the outside, and I added doll arms with the head in the hands and now it’s a creepy doll music box,” she said. Look for I Love Leftovers at the Strangely Dark: Oddities & Curiosities Market, on Facebook @Iloveleftovers, or at her Etsy shop of the same name.
Unique Treasures and Oddities
Davenport artist and taxidermist, Debi Wood brings a little humor to the macabre with her shop, Unique Treasures and Oddities.
Making and selling corsets at conventions and markets led to her discovery of and fascination with taxidermy. Debi was so enthralled that she set out to learn how to do it herself through the internet and by networking with other taxidermists doing similar work.
She turned her new-found talent of cleaning skulls, taxidermy, and freeze-drying into her own brand of art marrying the morbid with the comical.
She found that there was a niche for her unusual creations. “I started dressing my chicks and ducks in funny little costumes. I like to use humor,” said Debi.
Some of her animals receive names and personalities. She has crafted such characters as a skunk dubbed “Skunk Daddy” with a top hat, cane, and clock chain around his neck (because he’s a fan of Flavor Flav), a risqué chick on a pole which she called a “Chicken Strip,” a “Biker Chick” with a leather jacket and tiny motorcycle, a gangster piranha named Frank with a hat, cigar, playing cards, dice, and a mini bottle of booze, and an 18-inch-tall Game of Thrones-themed weasel named Little Finger, complete with fur coat, sword in hand, and amulet around his neck – just to name a few.
Death is a part of what she does, but there’s nothing that dark about it. “I try to memorialize the animals and make it light-hearted,” said Debi. “I try to keep it whimsical and respectful to the lives of all these animals that live amongst us.”
“I’ve always sewn a lot,” remarked Debi. This is a large part of her crafting now too. She practices soft taxidermy in which she tans, stuffs, and stitches the animal together. A skull is put into the head with the tanned face then stitched over it. She uses wire and dowels throughout the body instead of a hard form so that she’s able to stance them how she’d like. Beyond that, she makes their tiny clothing as well. “They don’t sell a lot of chick and duck clothing,” she laughed. You’ll also likely find a Barbie accessory here or there to bring the animal to life (excuse the pun).
The taxidermist explained that the animals she uses are humanely obtained – chicks that die naturally at chicken farms, bats from a historic church in St. Augustine with a bat problem, roadkill, and cat skulls that come from a cat rescue. When cats pass away naturally at the rescue, they clean and sell the skulls to bring in funds to support the rescue efforts.
Dog skulls, shark jaws, rabbit feet, and dinosaur teeth are only a few of her other offerings. Look for Unique Treasures and Oddities at the Strangely Dark: Oddities & Curiosities Market or on Facebook @UniqueTreasuresandoddities.
“I always tell people that this is what happens when you’re an old lady and you don’t know how to crochet,” joked Debi. To which, I’d argue that this is much cooler.
Strangely Dark: Oddities & Curiosities Market
Lakeland Square Mall
3800 US Hwy 98 N, Lakeland, FL 33809
June 8 10am - 6pm
June 9 12pm - 6pm
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