Glitter Bombs, Past Lives and Ovary Tattoos at Bust’s Craftacular

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As snow fell on the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn in mid-December, a dozen or so people gathered inside a room at the Brooklyn Expo Center to uncover the truth about their past lives. Seated on folding chairs around a large red rug, they closed their eyes and followed the teacher’s instructions to imagine themselves stepping through a door connected to their bedroom and into their former selves.

The promise that comes with uncovering your past life is that of healing, said Trish Burger, who was leading the workshop. She added that hypnosis acts as an X-ray of the consciousness, and shared how she had once helped a client whose ankle was mysteriously hurting. “Under hypnosis his higher consciousness told me that he had broken it in a past life,” Ms. Burger said. Once she, the client and the client’s consciousness were on the same page, the ankle stopped hurting, she said.

Part of the challenge in the workshop was to let go of the immediate surroundings, which included upbeat thumping music coming from next door, where other students were learning how to belly-dance.

Attendees could drop in on workshops, such as Intro to Belly Dancing, for $15, or pay $40 for an all-access day pass.CreditNina Westervelt for The New York Times

“I think of it as shamanic dancing in the distance,” said one past-life traveler during a break between meditations. “This is happening here, there’s shamanic work over there.”

Another said: “Maybe we were all belly dancers together in a past life.”

After the final round of meditation, one student volunteered her vision, of having been her mother in the past. Others stayed quiet but took lots of notes, and at least one said her taste for hypnotherapy had been whetted.

“I would definitely be open to doing it again,” said Mary Davis, 46, a photographer. “I go to reiki and acupuncture, but I felt drawn to this. I think it can definitely help you.” She had also gone to a chakra workshop earlier in the day. “I didn’t know that much about my chakras,” she said. “It was great.”

Booths were set up in a large main room at the Brooklyn Expo Center.CreditNina Westervelt for The New York Times

No, this was not the Brooklyn arm of the Goop conference. This was Bust magazine’s Craftacular, a fair founded by Debbie Stoller, 55, and Laurie Henzel, 53, that brings together vendors hawking handmade and vintage products. The Bust Craftacular is in its 12th year and takes place in New York, Los Angeles and London over the course of the year. “It started as a small fair in a club in a Greenpoint,” said Ms. Stoller, who founded Bust with Ms. Henzel and Marcelle Karp in 1993. “It grew and grew and grew as the whole D.I.Y. community grew.”

For the latest fair, Ms. Stoller and Ms. Henzel decided to offer talks by various speakers including Amber Tamblyn and Lindy West, and workshops. For $10 to $15 each, or for $40 for an entire day, participants could duck into the Goddess room or the Vibes Lounge or other satellite spaces and learn how to interpret tarot cards, get access to their chakras, read the stars, decipher the lines on a palm and cast spells using the power of their orgasms.

“It’s such a moment in the culture for those kinds of things,” Ms. Stoller said, referring to mystical crafts. “People feel like it’s hard to make a difference in the political climate, so they look for some other way to make a difference. It’s a way of dealing with a sense of powerlessness.” Ms. Henzel elaborated: “Tarot and witchcraft give you a sense that you have other powers you can tap into.”

Heather Morowitz volunteered at the fair and took several workshops, including one on bath salts.CreditNina Westervelt for The New York Times

Those looking for a more grounded way of fighting for their beliefs had plenty to inspire them, including talks that focused on storytelling, patriarchal narratives and consent. Activism was on prominent display all across the large main room, where shoppers circulated among tables.

Visitors were greeted by free temporary tattoos of a stylized gold ovary from the Lady Parts Justice League, a nonprofit organization that fights for reproductive rights. Farther along, wanderers in search of statement gifts could pick up a “No Means No” cap from Believe Me; a T-shirt with “It’s my body, it’s my choice” written across it from My Sister; and a bracelet with #shepersisted carved on it from Activated NYC.

Beyond that, the fair was a home for the niche: Products on sale included crystals (many, many of them); pins depicting a crying Drake; homemade vegan beauty products; a tea whose profits go to artisans in Kenya; earrings with covers of books including “The Thing Around Your Neck” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; and drawings of Frida Kahlo.

Visitors could decorate their bodies with free temporary tattoos from the Lady Parts Justice League that depicted a stylized gold ovary.CreditNina Westervelt for The New York Times

One booth offered kits with instructions and materials for making pillows, bracelets and necklaces using needlepoint. “I can’t do anything else,” said Jenny Henry, 43, their creator, referring to needlepoint, out of which she has built a 20-year career.

Not far from Ms. Henry’s booth was Aela Alchemy, where Micaela Foley, 26, and Kaela May, 29, were selling crystal and clay jewelry, as well as biodegradable glitter bombs (little tubs of glitter and wax that you can spread across your skin).

“I was really heavily into glitter for a while,” said Ms. May, who used to perform with a hula hoop at music festivals. “But I hated that it was littering. I made glitter bombs for myself with regular glitter, and I was like, ‘I can’t keep doing this, it’s littering, it’s killing my soul,’ and I ended up doing a lot of research and finding a good source for biodegradable glitter.”

She and Ms. Foley were also offering packets of pre-mixed herbs with names like the Lovers and the High Priestess, to add to “other herbs you might smoke,” Ms. May said.

D.I.Y. enthusiasts who wanted to create their own beauty and skin care products had an array of classes at their disposal. In one, a handful of students stirred a mixture of Himalayan and Dead Sea salts, seaweed and oils in matching bowls as Leslie Mullin, who owns a beauty company called Dirty Mermaid, explained why a carrier oil is critical to a bath-salt recipe. “It carries the essential oils,” she said. “Your carrier oil is very personal to you.”

Ms. Mullin asked the women at the table what they do to relax.

“I wish I could say I do yoga,” one said.

“Face plant on the bed,” said another, clearly less laden with yoga guilt.

Later, Ms. Mullin circled the table, sniffing the scent combinations her students had chosen, and suggested that those who live in New York could use the salts in a bath for their feet rather than their full body. “New Yorkers don’t have bathtubs, or they share them with lots of people,” she said, eliciting knowing nods.

The women around the table had various reasons for attending. “We never really take time for baths,” said Heather Morowitz, 30, a masseuse and performance artist who periodically pretends to be a pre-feminist, time-traveling ghost named Madame Ovary (accessorized with a large “biological clock”). “It’s nice to have a good reason to.”

Seated opposite Ms. Morowitz was Danielle Lam, 28, a government relations manager who lives in Brooklyn. In addition to the bath-salts workshop, Ms. Lam had learned how to make a face scrub and was planning on checking out Intro to Embroidery later that day. Like many others who have recently embraced pottery, craft making and D.I.Y., Ms. Lam was searching for a way to unwind, recharge and tap into a part of her brain that she does not use in her daily life. “I don’t get to do a lot of creative stuff,” she said. “Now I get to do marbling.”