Cynthia Navarro Illustration stands selling stickers, pins, and keychains during the Sept. 17 festival. (Melissa Ayala)
Cynthia Navarro Illustration stands selling stickers, pins, and keychains during the Sept. 17 festival.

Melissa Ayala

Downey’s Beyond the Book Festival

September 23, 2022

The Beyond the Book Festival is located at 11121 Brookshire Ave. and hosted in the library’s parking lot which was open to the public for free from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Guests were greeted with a booth that sold books for 50 cents just outside the library’s doors.

The festival featured food vendors, small business booths, artists, author discussion panels with live music and dance.

On the east side of the festival, artists sold their creations and crafts. One artist was Isabella Rodriguez, a freshman at a community college.

“I’ve been sketching since I was six years old and it’s always come naturally to me,”
Rodriguez said, “I get my artistry from my Dad, who is a natural artist as well.”

“Now fresh out of high school, I am putting myself and my art out there to share,” Rodriguez said.

The artist cites that Vincent Van Gogh’s sketch pages are the influences for her artwork.

Slipstitch Trish, a small business owner, sold crochet and knitted creations crafted by the founder Trish.

Her experience with crochet began at the age of 11 and Trish finds crocheting to be a good creative outlet for her.

Slipstitch Trish Crochet
Slipstitch Trish sells her crochet products to Downey residents during the festival. (Melissa Ayala)

The motivation that helped her start her business came from her desire of wanting to do something fun.

“Some of these are made from patterns I found online and some I created just by looking at what I want to make,” Trish said.

Her creations and order forms can be found on her Facebook Page.

At an adjacent booth, a business called TheLittleFeltShoppe sold handcrafted flowers made of felt. The flowers were fashioned into bouquets, pins and clips.

According to the founder of TheLittleFeltShoppe, Vanessa, the idea to start a business originated from a friend who sought a flower headband.

During her eight-year-long run with her business, Vanessa used to sell her crafts primarily on Etsy before transitioning to selling at events.

Aside from felt, she created a rainbow fashion from wool. Vanessa said that wool is more tedious and time-consuming to work with than felt and that felt itself can take hours to fashion into flowers.

Felt Bouquets
ThatLittleFelt Shoppe booth selling felt bouquets during the festival on Sept. 17. (Melissa Ayala)

Another stand sold anime, sports and pop culture merchandise such as pins and bags, stickers, cards and keychains about the Hispanic community.

Cynthia Navarro, the founder of Cynthia Navarro Illustration, began preparations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Navarro officially launched her online shop in November 2020 and her in-person shop in 2021.

The buttons and stickers are handcrafted while the pressed designs on the bags are made in collaboration with manufacturers.

Navarro enjoyed that she has the opportunity to connect with other small businesses at these festivals. She said that having a small business comes with its drawbacks.

“I’d say the downside of having a small business is being completely independent and having to do everything yourself,” said Navarro.

Aside from the book aspect of the festival, the event was a melting pot of artistry and culture.

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About the Writer
Photo of Melissa Ayala
Melissa Ayala, Staff Writer
Mel Ayala  is a staff writer for Talon Marks. She covers community, opinion, and Arts and Entertainment. In her spare time, she’s writing a book, has three scripts already written, has written two poems and one song, and has recently gotten into voice acting. Mel hopes to write a book that could later be adapted to film or television.

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