No, seriously, do it

By Molly Gilmore on December 4, 2011

Yes, the Olympia Film Society's Duck the Malls is a craft fair, but as the name suggests, it's a crafts fair with a decidedly alternative approach.

"It's an alternative to the mall, but it's also an alternative to your conventional craft fair," says Ira Coyne, who organizes the event and runs the gallery at the Capitol Theater.

"Bottom line, we look for whatever is the most handmade," he says. "If you go to a craft fair where there are 200 tables, there are going to be a few vendors who are passing for craftsmen when they are really just slapping some plastic from China together to make an easy buck.

"We don't allow that here."

This year's Duck the Malls event, Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Capitol Theater, will include more than 50 artisans. Examples of the handmade and carefully chosen items available at the annual sale: jewelry, clothing, art, lamps, candleholders - and cigar-box guitars and ukuleles, the creations of Will Eikleberry of Olympia.

Eikleberry, who has been selling the fun-yet-functional instruments at Duck the Malls for five years now, makes high-end guitars, too. He got started making cigar-box guitars and ukuleles when a friend requested one, and business took off from there.

"Everyone who saw them wanted one or wanted one as a gift for somebody," he says. "You get a surprisingly good sound. ... They are all fully playable. I build everything as if it were a high-end instrument. I make sure they are fully tuned up and down the neck."

Eikleberry also makes high-end professional acoustic and electric guitars and tends bar at the Eastside Club.

"This is sort of my hobby that pays for itself," he says.

Eikleberry says he sells 10 to 12 instruments each year at Duck the Malls. But not all that money makes it back home.

"Every year, I end up getting something from other vendors there - almost always from whoever is right next to me," he says. "I end up looking at all of their cool stuff while I'm waiting and talking with other people.

"There is just an amazing amount of craftsmanship in Olympia, and it's really neat to see it all come out under one roof."

Duck the Malls

Saturday, Dec. 10, 1-4 p.m.
Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia
360.754.6670 or