A Sunday afternoon craft event generally evokes images of clicking knitting needles and Chatty Cathies catching up over tea.
Less often do you hear shouts of, "You wouldn't know a pom-pom if it bit you in the foot!" flying between tension-filled teams of crafters ready to do anything, including bribery, to win.
But then again it's not every Sunday that the Crafter's Smackdown rolls into town. In fact, you can only catch this crafty chaos once a year in Anchorage, and this year it's today.
Merriam-Webster defines "smackdown" as "a contest in entertainment wrestling" among other things.
Combine that with a few glue guns, some random reusable crafting fodder, a few team-elimination rounds, sanctioned bribery and a winning prize and you have the makings for the Fifth Annual Crafter's Smackdown.
Kooky though it sounds, this brainchild of Leah Magid and Tara Witterholt is really a clever fundraiser to make money for the nonprofit preschool run by the Congregation Beth Sholom and its ReCreation program.
The program focuses on teaching children ways to turn recycled goods into art and upcycling to aid the community.
But if you're thinking of entering into this year's Smackdown, you might want to leave the kiddies at home. Speaking with Magid, I found out a few insights into this crafty event, and the likelihood of it spreading to us Southeast Alaskans.
"We based the idea on a TV show Tara founded on Style Network, 'Craft Corner Deathmatch,' " Magid said. "Three contestants went through elimination rounds of making. Then the last group went against their ringer, The Craft Lady of Steel. We have the Craft Lady of Molybdenum instead. Molybdenum is mined in Alaska and is very hard and very valuable. Our dork-i-tude is amazing."
Dork-i-tude or not, she has created a crafty competition that keeps growing yearly.
Teams of crafters sign up to compete. When the time comes, the groups are given a few glue guns, unlimited glue sticks, scissors and a secret ingredient for each round.
Like the television show "Iron Chef," the crafters all pull from a pool of materials, which are generally reusable.
Past competitions have spawned Alaska light fixtures out of Christmas lights and robots out of shopping bags. Magid enjoys the "shared ingenuity and skill to think outside of the box," some of the same skills she tries to pass to her preschoolers.
Of course, the competition doesn't stop there. Throughout the three rounds crafters are allowed, and even encouraged, to bribe judges and send smack talk to their rivals through "smack-o-grams."
Magid sends the crafters a bribery packet beforehand with preferred bribes from the team of judges, like chocolate, coffee and even parrot-decorated pillows.
All cash bribes head straight into the children's art program. As for the smack talk, don't be surprised if you hear, "You don't know how to hold a glue gun," ringing out between teams as the competition gets furious.
No contest would be complete without a trophy. Armed with the assignment to "make something awkward, ugly and totally creative," Magid's students have crafted the perfect heinous trophy to take home from the competition.
And if you "accidentally" leave it behind she guarantees she will track you down to return your prized possession.
Though this year's festivities are all based in Anchorage, there are plans brewing for sister smackdowns in St. Louis, Detroit and Denver next year with a culminating championship showdown via the Web.
Tanna Peters is a crafter and designer from Juneau. View her latest creations at www.alaskacrafter.com and her shared crafting site craftaddicts. blogspot.com. Send local craft inquiries and info to email@example.com.