Monday, September 13, 2010

Renegade Craft Fair:: Then & Now

In 2003 I had a company called Flying Fish Design and took a trip to Chicago to participate in the very first Renegade Craft Fair. It is amazing to look back now and see how casual a lot of us treated that first experience, I mean, don't get me wrong it was a ton of work and I was terrified. For example, I didn't even have a tent or a way to run credit cards. I had JUST got my first cell phone & my photos (the few I took) from that weekend are shot on film. That first Renegade I met some of my current best friends, people who inspired me to start Art vs. Craft, open Paper Boat and make Handmade Nation. Needless to say, it was a life changing weekend.

The first Renegade Craft Fair, Chicago 2003
Renegade Craft Fair in 2003, Wicker Park

Over the past 8 years, O.M.G 8 years, I've been to quite a few Renegade's both as a vendor & shopper. I made the trip to sell under Flying Fish Design at the first Brooklyn event & promoted Handmade Nation at the first San Francisco show. For those of you who have been at Renegade know that they are huge juried events featuring 200+ vendors from around the country (sometimes international) slinging their handmade goods of every medium, shape and color.

The 2010 Chicago show was no letdown. I made the drive from Milwaukee solo since I like to move at my own pace when shopping and catching up with old friends. The day started out gloomy and wet, but by the time I made it through the traffic and parked the sun was shining down and people were out in hoards.

Renegade Craft Fair 2010: Chicago

Often all the people shopping make it very difficult to see the work, it also can make it difficult to snap photos (as a courtesy, I always ask before shooting peoples work at shows & give them my card). Of course I ended up coming home with some goodies for myself plus some inventory for the Sky High pop-up Boutique. My new treasures include a beautiful bowl from Meow City Ceramics, stationary from both Bison & Beau Ideal Editions, an entire new outfit from Milwaukee's own Little Ocean plus a beautiful print from the show organizer herself Sue Daly of Timber! I also got in a trade for a t-shirt from the peeps over at Pinecone & Chickadee.

I've definitely seen my fair share of handmade work since I see so much while I travel, so when something stands out, I get really excited. I'm often on the look out for fancy looking displays and how people merchandise their work. Here are some of my fav's from Saturday-

Erin <span class=
Erin Peachee's booth was a beautiful mix of handmade & very select vintage finds.

Nicole <span class=
I really liked the organic simplicity of Nicole Seisler's hand thrown porcelain jewelry.

Laura Lombardi Jewelry at Renegade Chicago
Laura Lombard created this tranquil environment inside her space, super calming & beautiful.

Timber! at Renegade Chicago
As the woman behind Renegade, Sue Daly is no beginner at making things look good and her line Timber! was no exception.

Little Ocean at Renegade Chicago
Pregnant ladies who keep working always amazing me. Nearly at full term my friend Janelle Gramling, designer behind Little Ocean had a select line of her clothing and accessories available all showcased with fantastic displays constructed by her lovely husband Mathew.

Some other spaces/designers I loved that I couldn't get photos of were miki christopherson, Miss Natalie, maric fine goods and Hillery Rebeka Sproatt + her mother who is behind the fantastic dresses I couldn't decide on by rebe.

NOTE: my show that I produce Art vs. Craft has announced our 2010 vendors.


sweetie pie press said...

a) so sad i wasn't there this year. renegade chicago has been equally important to me as a maker.

b) even more tugged-upon that a trip to milwaukee wasn't in the cards for me this year.

both shows mean a lot to this little lady.

happyowlglass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
happyowlglass said...

So glad we met at the '04 Renegade (and then-future Bazaar Bizarres)! You are so inspiring with all your hard work. Congrats on all you've accomplished!

jan said...

Thanks for posting this - i haven't seen anything yet from this yrs show.