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Topic: Moving to Arizona this summer, wanted to ask some questions.  (Read 4871 times)
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« on: February 08, 2005 04:44:11 PM »

Hi, my name is Dennis and my fiance and I are moving to Tucson, possibly Tempe, after May of this year. We are avid craftsters and would like to know what the scene is like and where people usually find the best stuff. My fiance was born in Tucson but moved when she was 6 and we visited 2 years ago but don't recall much about the stores and such. We're going to look around on this site and see if we can answer some of our questions, but any help any of you could give us would be great!

Thanks a lot.

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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2005 12:59:15 PM »

Hello! I live in Tempe right now and it's great. I have met so many crafty people.

There are a few craft groups, including the one started on this board, and some knitting groups. I am a knitter so that is mostly what I know about, but there are general craft groups too.

There are a lot of thrift shops in Tempe. If you go North on Rural Rd. it becomes Scottsdale Rd. and there are 3 thrift stores on that one street. There are others too, including one on Apache and another on Southern and Mill.

The best selection of stuff that I've seen is at the big Joann's (AKA Joann's ETC.). There are a few of those in the area. One is in the Ahwatukee AMC Theatre shopping center, one is in Desert Ridge (N. Phoenix) and another one is in Scottsdale off the 101. There have got to be some more too. They have a LOT of stuff there. There are also Michael's and Wal-mart... a lot of people have reservations about Wal-mart though, I guess it's a personal thing.

There is also a "First Fridays" artwalk in downtown Phoenix on the first friday of every month(very appropriate name) and you can meet a lot of crafty people there, too.

There are yarn shops, quilt shops, scrapbooking shops, and others I'm sure. People say Phoenix has no culture... I think it does but you just have to look for it  Wink

« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2005 10:08:06 PM »

Hey I am from Phoenix and miss it bunches. Now in Kansas. The craft scene in PHX and surrounding areas is very much alive and kicking. Just about everwhere you look there are thrift stores and such. Craft malls and such a wide varity of craft stores in most areas. Just pick up a phone book and start looking. Email the chanber of commerece and tell them what you are looking for and they will send you a list that will fit your needs. They should also send you local inforamtion about upcomming events in the area you are planning on moving to and then you can make connections with other crafters at shows and such. Good luck.... Hope you like AZ as much as I did...
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2005 05:58:41 AM »

My son goes to U of A in Tucson and my daughter goes to ASU in Tempe.  Personally, I prefer Tempe.   The whole vibe in Tempe is friendlier and just more fun.  Take a stroll down Mill Ave - there are many creative people, creative places, galleries, clubs, thrift shops etc.  Tempe is pretty ideal for a young creative couple.  Also, nearby Scottsdale has a huge and thriving arts community.  You'll have lots of opportunities. 

One other thing.....  I see you are moving here in the SUMMER - It will be roasting hot, the ASU campus will be down to about 10% capacity and all of the "artwalks" and festivals are pretty much on hold during the summer.  Don't be discouraged.  Things will pick up!

Please keep us posted on your eventual decision.

« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2005 06:44:29 AM »

I graduated from the U of A and then moved to the Tempe/Scottsdale line after graduation, so I've lived in both places.  The phrase tossed around the most among my friends was "Tucson: smaller and arguably more urbane than Phoenix."

I think around the universities in both areas, you'll get a good mix of people and cultural activities. The thrifting scene and access to fabric/craft outlets is about the same in both areas, in my opinion.  I love SAS Fabrics by the Pound, Goodwill Supercenter and the many very large thrift stores in Tucson.  I found more secondhand designer-type stuff to hack up and good shoes in the Scottsdale/Fountain Hills areas (check out Fountain Hills, it's all very high-quality stuff in their Goodwill since the majority of the homes in that area are worth $1,000,000+).  Thrift stores great and small are in both areas, but the Phoenix area is bigger and has more up-to-date clothing in stock, usually.  Both cities have plenty of Joann, Michael's and Ben Franklin crafts stores to keep a crafter busy and well-stocked, and attending or teaching classes at those places are a great way to learn about crafter life in AZ.  There are also nice independent yarn, scrapbooking and fabric stores peppered about both areas.

Phoenix/Tempe/Scottsdale areas have a burgeoning fashion scene, most of it based around DIY-type styles (and some of it not).  There are lots of fun trunk shows and other things to do if you know where to look.  www.labelhorde.com is mostly a resource for Arizona fashion/hair/makeup, though many crafters and DIYers are also part of their online community and it's a good starting place to meet some people who may have the most current information for crafters.

The growth in both of these Arizona cities/areas has been phenomenal.  In my experience, Tucson has a smaller, chill, almost out of time quality to it that is very alluring to me; the Phoenix/Tempe area has its pockets of joy, but for the most part it's a Baby Los Angeles: smaller, brattier and with more to prove.  Of course, no generalization holds true all the time.  As another poster said above, Phoenix gets a bad rap for having "no culture."  While I wouldn't say it has none whatsoever, I will say that the "Phoenix sucks" attitude probably perpetuates a lot of its own mediocrity, and you will encounter it plenty.  It's a city on the rise to being a real, major, credible metropolis and it's going through growing pains --  good, smart, creative people moving to that area will do it good.

I concur with rickrackruby: don't get discouraged by AZ in the summer.  It is scorchingly hot and many activities and places operate at a reduced capacity during the death-heat of the season.  Don't be discouraged -- as soon as the weather cools down in early October, there will be plenty of fun festivals, craft fairs, fashion shows, artwalks and other things to do.

I just moved from Scottsdale to Miami Beach.  Good luck in Arizona and enjoy the weather and those gorgeous mountains.
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2005 05:55:54 PM »

Wow, thanks for all of the info. My fiance tells me Scottsdale is too expensive for us to move to right now. I'm looking for some Tech work @ ASU and some web design work wherever it may be. She is looking for graphic design work and says that Tempe, Tucson or Phoenix would be good spots. I don't mind the heat too much. Coming from New Jersey I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to getting rid of humidity! Aside from getting my calves burnt and smackin a teddybear cactus with my hand, my time in AZ was fun. I look forward to making a new life for ourselves and definetly getting back to our craftier/artsy sides.

Does anyone know where I could possibly get printing supplies like a small proofing press and wood/linoleum blocks? We have a Pearl here in Philly and it's great but our Michaels and AC Moore are severly lacking in the "real art supplies" department.

Again, thank you very much and hopefully I'll meet some of you out there. Look for the pale guy wearing too much clothing in the summer!

« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2005 07:09:03 PM »

...but for the most part it's a Baby Los Angeles: smaller, brattier and with more to prove.  Of course, no generalization holds true all the time. 

I have to say, that was very well put. Smiley

i'm a modern girl, but i fold in half so easily...
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2005 08:54:57 AM »

Dennis, I'm from Philly! I moved here 6 years ago. There is a Utrecht store in Tempe, and a few locations of Arizona Art Supply. They are more traditional art supply stores that have printing supplies (I believe there was a Utrecht in Philly too, near U Arts).

South Scottsdale (where I live) is not nearly as expensive as anywhere north of Old Town, and there are a lot of cute homes and condos to be had, and is really well located for getting around town.

My Etsy Shop: http://chriswass.etsy.com
The Phoenix United Craft Society: http://www.phucs.com

"To make people free is the aim of art, therefore art for me is the science of freedom." -Joseph Beuys
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2006 02:03:06 PM »

Both cities have plenty of Joann, Michael's and Ben Franklin crafts stores to keep a crafter busy and well-stocked,

Actually, there are no more Ben Franklin's in Tucson, but there are LOTS of JoAnn's, Michael's, and plenty of thrift stores.


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« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2006 10:49:08 AM »

I'm in Tucson 5 years now. My favorite places for craft supplies are the thrift stores. I hardly ever buy new stuff. Maybe I'd buy wool yarn but I don't knit and would probably unravel a wool sweater for what I wanted since we're living a simple lifestyle.

I've gotten tons of vintage embroidered linens and old cutter quilts, bags of clean new floss, etc from the thrifts. I stay away from the huge ones. Everything seems dirtier in those. I go to the small ones on the eastside since I live southeast Tucson. Personally I can't stand SAS. It's dirty and nothing is sold by the pound but by the yard like anywhere else.

There's a nice bead shop near the U of A called Piney Hollow.

I'll be posting a topic about this, but the community center a few of us started in August (off 4th Ave) will be hosting a Craft-In weekly on Tuesdays at 3 pm beginning next Tuesday, Dec 19. Free. Bring your needlework and hang out.

I haven't met many crafters myself since I've been stay-at-home mom w/out a daily car for the last 2 years. (husband has it most of the time and I'm a homebody anyway) But I'm hoping to meet folks at the Craft-Ins since I'm at the center pretty much full-time now anyway.

Hope you like Tucson if you move here. Summers are actually a great refractory period to catch your breath since there's so much to do here the other 9 motnhs of the year.

livin and lovin a bloke in Oz
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