The Renegade Craft Fair
June 27, 2007
Last weekend, I attended the Renegade Craft Fair in Williamsburg. What follows is my review, originally posted on Craft Critique.
The Renegade Craft Fair calls itself, “a unique DIY event organized by Sue Blatt + Kathleen Habbley. When this event began in 2003, there was nothing else like it. We took up crafts as a hobby after college and decided to try selling our stuff in local fairs. To our surprise, no events were catering to the burgeoning DIY craft community or even prohibited crafts all together. So we thought of organizing a fair of our own that tapped into this movement and provided a laid back, fresh venue for artists and shoppers alike.”
Well, today I hopped on the L train and headed out to Williamsburg (a hipster neighborhood in Brooklyn) to check it out for myself. The craft fair was situated in an empty pool. A very funky location! (Though given the unrelenting sun and heat, I did wish that the pool were full of water.) Alternative rock played over several loudspeakers, an ice cream truck sold soft serve to dozens of sweaty customers, and a vendor sold tofu dogs and other vegan appropriate food off of a grill.
My cousin and I jumped (literally, we had to in order to get in) into the deep end of the pool and started looking. Color was everywhere. The line between vendor and customer was thin: both wore thrift store chic, piercing and tattoos abounded, most were in their twenties and thirties, and nobody was afraid of color. The most common items being sold were purses and bags, silkscreened t-shirts, letterpress notecards, and fuzzy stuffed monsters. There was also a smattering of jewelry, pottery, and funky animal sculptures.
It was a very low key, chilled out atmosphere. People were surprisingly okay with us taking photos of their stuff. Though, one woman did confront me to ask who I was taking photos for (the photo I was taking was of the leather dress at left). She didn’t have a problem when I told her it was Craft Critique, but said, “Urban Outfitters screws us over, again and again.” To a certain extent, I’m not surprised. The treat of the Renegade Craft Fair is all the genius ideas; simple execution most of the time, but really clever concepts. No doubt this causes any number of thefts. It’s easy to take a photo and then reproduce the item from the photo. Icky.
I have to say, even though I didn’t feel particularly motivated to buy (perhaps it was the heat, or the fact that I felt I could make most things being sold myself), I would definitely go back. And prices were reasonable enough that had it not been so miserable out, it’s very likely that I would have lingered at each booth and picked up some funky new treats. I encourage anyone in the Chicago or New York area to spend a day enjoying the fresh, funky, relaxed vibe of the Renegade Craft Fair.
Here are a few artists with their work:
Caitlin Phillips of Rebound Designs: "A second chance for well-loved books." with her funky purses made from books.
LeBrie Rich, the "Duchess of Felt" of Pen Felt with her "fabulous hand-felted wearables."
Linda Johnson, designer and owner of little flower designs
Liz Shaw's guitar bags from her rock line: "handmade handbags, one of a kind & small line."