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Artists and Fleas in Los Angeles - by Stevie Katz

LOS ANGELES, Calif., -- In the mood for a corndog? Need new clothes? Or soap bars? There are many different flea markets throughout the world ranging from food to clothing to picture frames and much more. This particular flea market in downtown Los Angeles presents much more than you would expect to find. Handcrafted bags designed and sewn by Michael Reynolds of Swing-Dash bags (photo by Callie Ferman)   While walking through the all outside market your eye would be caught by the many different buses, trucks, stands and tables offering a different piece of themselves.  Many of the stands were located in a bus.  To look at the items, you walk up the stairs and stand in a narrow hallway looking at what the buses had to offer. The people working stands at The Artists and Fleas Market were either wearing their clothing to show off how it could be worn, or hauling bystanders in to tell potential customers about what they have created. Sarah Krueger of swing dash bags (photo by Callie Ferman)   Artists and Fleas opened in Downtown L.A. in the summer of 2014 in the Arts District. Here, there are studios, workplaces and an emerging culture of urban arts.  The market only comes on the third weekend of every month but never fails to bring many different unique aspects together to create a rich city that is surrounded with arts, craft shows and fairs. Pottery from Lustered Walnut is 100% handmade in California (photo by Callie Ferman)   This market differs from the rest in more ways than one.  Since L.A. is known for the home of celebrities and having a more up to date style than the east coast, it helped that the people selling their items were displaying how to use or wear them.   Often, the clothes hanging on the rack did not seem fashionable, but the women selling the overalls wore it in a certain style to show off how it could look up to date. “It made me realize that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover because you may think that something you see on a rack is ugly but you never know until you try it on,” Jaclyn Fishler a student at the University of Arizona and a flea market spectator said. At the market there were many people from the east coast such as Fishler who have been to a market before but still seemed shocked and interested in what a market on the west coast had to offer. “A lot of the clothes and other things were presented in buses and I’ve never seen that in a flea market,” Fishler said.  “I liked the west coast flea market better because it seemed like more of the fashion was up to date.” Every time the market sets up again, there is always a combination of new and old stands.  One of the new stands this month, called No Tox Body-Home-Life started to allow people to have natural, toxin-free vegan body care for those who want to live a cleaner and greener lifestyle.  No Tox sells lips balm and soap bars ranging from a facial detox to a regular bar to simply clean yourself. Sandee Ferman, Founder of No Tox Body-Home-Life (photo credit: Alwin Sumirat La Pietra)   “I normally am at farmers market where people are looking for high quality organic fruits and vegetables and they are also looking for high quality artist and handcrafted items,” Sandee Ferman the founder of No Tox Body-Home-Life said.  “I make high quality artist and handcrafted, creams, lip balm, deodorant that sort of thing.” Ferman, chooses all of the ingredients and makes all of her products by hand.  She does not quite know why certain ingredients are good for the face and why others are good for the body but she does a lot of research to find out. Vegan, natural hair treatment made by No Tox in Los Angeles (photo by Callie Ferman)   “I spend probably at least half my time researching and learning and continuing to educate myself in the area and the other half of the time making products and selling them,” Ferman said. She got interested in living a non-toxic lifestyle after she ended up with red welts on her arms from using a perfume she got as a gift over 50 years ago. “I obviously had a reaction to whatever chemical was using to fragrance that perfume bar, then that memory stuck with me for awhile,” Ferman said.  “I started doing a lot of water conservation and recycling and all of that so it really got my activism genes going.” Sandee became interested in a natural lifestyle 50 years ago after having a reaction to a perfume she used on her skin.  (photo credit: Juan Carlos Nerio)   Everyone at The Artist and Fleas market had a positive attitude whether they were the seller or the buyer.  The market has a very different unique style to it such as having trucks and buses with the items in them, which is different to many people such as Fishler. Flea markets are a great experience for everyone to try at least once with great deals that go along with a fantastic time. Story by Stevie Katz, University of Arizona student