Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Renegade Re-cap

The Renegade Craft Fair is a unique DIY event held 4 times a year in Brooklyn, NY, Chicago, IL and San Francisco, CA. RCF has gained a reputation over the last five years as being the biggest, best and the most well-known of all the DIY craft fairs out there. Each individual fair draws hundreds of applicants and tens of thousands of shoppers from all over the country and even abroad. Renegade is a juried event that celebrates and showcases independent artists and designers with work ranging from comic books to craft kits, silk-screened posters to reconstructed clothing and jewelry. I was pleased to be a vendor at this years Brooklyn show, packed my tent and my wares, bribed my friend Cindy with wine and chocolate, and headed North.

Saturday began with extreme heat and humidity, and although crowded, the shoppers seemed to be all wilting. Then one of the worst thunderstorms I have ever had the pleasure of being in struck. While the wind was blowing tents away, the rain was collapsing others, the pool was filling with water, and we were risking being electrocuted by the lightning. Unfortunately, several artists booths received so much damage, they were unable to come back the following day. It was an experience to say the least... Enough with the negative though.

I do have to say that I was blown away by the level of craft, sophistication and creativity of every single vendor there. I was humbled to have been included and even a little star struck. There was a great balance of vendors and merchandise, there was no one overwhelming media that stuck out. I can honestly say that I think there was something there for everyone. I was a little sad that I didn't get to see Lotta Jansdotter, a personal hero of mine! I suspect that she packed up when the terrifying storms rolled in and then didn't return on Sunday. I was incredibly happy to be neighbors with fellow Baltimoreans Rachel and Phil of Red Prairie Press- they are the nicest people and do one hell of a business. I think I must have one of each of their t-shirt designs by now.

My other neighbor was the lovely Catherine of Reiter8. She uses recycled sailboat sails and re-purposes them into messenger bags, totes and beach bags. They are "uni-sex" and have a great graphic quality to them- plus they are very durable and a green craft. Some of my other Renegade favorites were Orangyporangy, I got a great skirt that I am wearing right now. I also loved meeting and purchasing from The Candy Thief, her hair pieces remind me of those that Flappers wore in the 20's. I got a beautiful resin necklace from Fern Works, they made the trip all the way out from Oregon. I had to bring my ever patient husband back a gift, and Seibei's "Make Me A Sandwich" monster shirt was calling his name.

Of course I got a new scrub from Biggs and Featherbelle, I covet their products. There was no way Cindy and I could pass up the singing pickle T's from Wheelhouse Pickles, and they were giving out free samples of their fabulous pickles as well. I wanted to get some cards from Mean Cards, to send to friends and be, well, mean! But my favorite the "some may call you an enabler, I call you a friend" card was sold out. I'll have to catch them at Crafty Bastards in 2 weeks. So despite, the torrential rain, wind, dangerous lightning, and flooding, it was still an incredible experience for me and if anything, I learned a lot from. I hope to be back next year with a vengeance- much like those thunderstorms.

Post written by DandelionBlu

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