So aside from seeing a guy on the Red Line with a braided beard, one of the highlights of my weekend included a trip to the Renegade Craft Fair.
I went last year and golly, the weather was so much nicer this time around. There seemed to be like, twice as many vendors this year, too, which was rull, rull cool, if not a little overwhelming. Luckily we got brekkie and sang the Flight of Dragons theme song at the Alliance Bakery to get pumped up before hittin’ the 300+ booths.
I saw lotsa cool things and plenty of barf bag artmanboyboos* selling their wares. I got a giant stack of business cards, asked several stationary companies if they were taking internship applications (look at your little tax deduction networking, Papa G!), saw an ewok, fat babies, and a plethora of typewriter key jewelry... actually, too much typewriter key jewelry. As a matter of fact, I noticed lots of the same subject matter and material use throughout the Fair. Journals made from old books, MUSTACHES (they were errywhurr!), repurposed vintage jewelry, birds, weirdo creatures and buttons were all really popular among vendors. There was also the occasional booth dedicated to something original. One booth housed nothing but stuffed felt penises (why?) and another was filled with earrings made of paper (again, why?).
Most of the artists were friendly and welcomed us as we entered their booths, while others were busy working on making more stuff to sell later. Others just looked sad and preoccupied, as if they'd come from Narnia and didn't know how to find the secret portal through which to get home. One vendor was there with who looked to be her mother. They sat in their empty tent, waiting for somebody, anybody to come in, and all I could think about was that lady trying to convince her parents a few years before that she'd get a lucrative job after graduating art school. Actually, I thought a lot about what I'm going to to after I graduate when I was at the Fair. A grad student in my Why Make Art Now? course brought up the Renegade the other day in class, saying that a lot of her friends who were vendors there told her their business had never been better. The recession has made it possible for them to live off their work, which we (my classmates in WMAN?) decided makes sense because middle class folks are focusing on making their immediate communities as fantastic as possible which means local artists and crafters are being supported. People want well-made, local stuff and that makes me happy.
The point of the story is that Renegade rules and if I never see another facial hair (it was funny the first five times I saw it) or owl-themed object again, I will die a happy woman.
The Fair was wonderful this year. If you didn't get a chance to go, stop by the Renegade Handmade store on Division, or check it out next summer. There's also going to be a Holiday Sale December 5th and 6th at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse. When and if you do go, wear comfy shoes, bring sunglasses and dress in layers (Love, Mom).
*Young and attractive male artists who are sickeningly cool or wonderfully dorky who make me feel like I should set up an eHarmony account and go back to the Nasty* * and work at LoBill's or something instead of trying to coexist in their hip, happenin’ universe
* * My native land, Cincinnati, Ohio a.k.a. The Nasty ‘nati