Mindful Metropolis September 2009 : Page 16

did you hear? Division Whimsy City The Renegade Craft Fair comes home BY DIVINA BARATTA Fittingly, Daly dreamed up the idea with help from a childhood friend. The fi rst Ren- egade fair took place in Wicker Park, Chicago, in 2003 and has since branched off to New York and California. Today it’s the largest DIY (Do It Yourself) event in the craft community. Like many Renegade vendors, Abbey Ham- bright of Chicago launched her crafting busi- ness online (abbeychristine.etsy.com). “It was happenstance, really. As a hobby, I started making elaborate cards and envelopes and mailing them to friends. Then I ran out of friends to send them to so I started selling.” Hambright’s work evolved from crafting IMAGINE WALKING DOWN Division Street, between Damen and Hermitage in Chicago, and running into all your childhood pals, in- cluding birds, bicycles, rainbows and unicorns. These iconic images suddenly reappear on t- shirts, messenger bags, magnets, ceramics and other items at this year’s Renegade Craft Fair. Following a summer tour of Brooklyn, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Renegade Craft Fair returns to Chicago on September 12th and 13th. Though the Renegade fair amps up the fun in functional, it also offers sophisticated ap- peal. Hundreds of emerging and established artists are vetted through an application pro- cess—intended to sift out the best and bright- est, and often eco-friendliest, in design and craftsmanship. Crafters hail from Chicago, as well as across the nation and beyond. “We usually have a few international ven- dors at each event,” says founder Sue Daly. “They mainly come from Canada and the UK, with a lot of interest in Australia, too.” cards out of vintage children’s books to sew- ing fi nger puppets. The colorful critters and celebs are made using 100 percent recycled, Eco-fi polyester felt (a.k.a. fi bers harvested from crunched up plastic bottles). “I feel strongly about the handmade move- ment,” she adds. “There’s something meaning- ful about buying a product directly from the person who put in the care and attention to make it. You know it was loved.” If your inner child is a bit old for puppetry, you might show more love for vendors like Cir- ca Ceramics (circaceramics.com). Their pieces are adorned with typewriters, cassette tapes, Polaroid cameras and other nifty nostalgia. Witt fashions ceramic bowls, mugs, saucers and other wares, which are then glazed by his cohort Nancy Pizzaro. She also adorns them with her self-designed nostalgic decals and voila! Witt and Pizzaro started up Chicago Style Crafters (chicagostylecrafters.com), to en- courage craft meet-ups and other exchanges. Artists Kathelijne Zadrozny and Donovan Beeson of 16 Sparrows (16sparrows.com) add edge to the mix with their line of sarcastic cards and stationary, which includes letter- head prompting writers to insert their ‘pomp- ous self-proclaimed title.’ 16 Sparrows also founded a crafty cause of their own called The Letter Writing Alliance, which works to celebrate and preserve writ- ten communication. According to Beeson, the group just accounted for over 500 national and world-wide members. You could say Chicago Style teamster Betsy Siber of Foxglove Accessories (foxgloveacces- sories.com) has a penchant for pen pal-ing, too. This photographer turned stamp salvager gathers old postage from around the world to create necklaces, rings and earrings. “I started out with a box of stamps rejected by a collector,” she says. “And I grew particu- larly attached to a set of Czech postage that had gorgeous line drawings of fairy tales. It was so hard to sell them.” Prepare for your own fantastic encounters at the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair this month, whether you indulge in one-of-a-kind wares and wearables, or decide to DIY from now on. If opting for the latter, take note—the Videnov- ich Farms (videnovichfarms.com) booth offers an array of beautiful handspun wool that can be used as your heart desires. Who knows, maybe you’ll make the 2010 vendor list. The fair is free and open to the public from 11am-7pm. Visit renegadecraft.com. Divina Baratta most recently worked as a writ- er/editor for Chicago Zoological Society. She now freelances as a community journalist and environmental writer. 16 SEPTEMBER 2009 Western Ashland Milwaukee

Whimsy City

Davina Baratta

The Renegade Craft Fair comes home<br /> <br /> Imagine walking down division street, between Damen and Hermitage in Chicago, and running into all your childhood pals, including birds, bicycles, rainbows and unicorns.<br /> <br /> These iconic images suddenly reappear on tshirts, messenger bags, magnets, ceramics and other items at this year’s Renegade Craft Fair.<br /> <br /> Following a summer tour of Brooklyn, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Renegade Craft Fair returns to Chicago on september 12th and 13th.<br /> <br /> Though the renegade fair amps up the fun in functional, it also offers sophisticated appeal.<br /> <br /> Hundreds of emerging and established artists are vetted through an application process— intended to sift out the best and brightest, and often eco-friendliest, in design and craftsmanship. Crafters hail from Chicago, as well as across the nation and beyond.<br /> <br /> “We usually have a few international vendors at each event,” says founder Sue Daly.<br /> <br /> “they mainly come from Canada and the UK, with a lot of interest in Australia, too.” Fittingly, Daly dreamed up the idea with help from a childhood friend. The first renegade fair took place in Wicker park, Chicago, in 2003 and has since branched off to new york and California. Today it’s the largest diy (do it yourself) event in the craft community.<br /> <br /> Like many renegade vendors, Abbey Hambright of Chicago launched her crafting business online (abbeychristine.etsy.com). “it was happenstance, really. As a hobby, i started making elaborate cards and envelopes and mailing them to friends. Then i ran out of friends to send them to so i started selling.” Hambright’s work evolved from crafting cards out of vintage children’s books to sewing finger puppets. The colorful critters and celebs are made using 100 percent recycled, eco-fi polyester felt (a.k.a. fibers harvested from crunched up plastic bottles).<br /> <br /> “i feel strongly about the handmade movement,” she adds. “there’s something meaningful about buying a product directly from the person who put in the care and attention to make it. You know it was loved.” if your inner child is a bit old for puppetry, you might show more love for vendors like circa ceramics (circaceramics.com). their pieces are adorned with typewriters, cassette tapes, polaroid cameras and other nifty nostalgia.<br /> <br /> Witt fashions ceramic bowls, mugs, saucers and other wares, which are then glazed by his cohort Nancy Pizzaro. She also adorns them with her self-designed nostalgic decals and voila!<br /> <br /> Witt and Pizzaro started up Chicago Style Crafters (chicagostylecrafters.com), to encourage craft meet-ups and other exchanges.<br /> <br /> Artists Kathelijne Zadrozny and Donovan Beeson of 16 sparrows (16sparrows.com) add edge to the mix with their line of sarcastic cards and stationary, which includes letterhead prompting writers to insert their ‘pompous self-proclaimed title.’ 16 sparrows also founded a crafty cause of their own called the Letter Writing alliance, which works to celebrate and preserve written communication. According to Beeson, the group just accounted for over 500 national and world-wide members.<br /> <br /> You could say Chicago style teamster Betsy Siber of Foxglove accessories (foxgloveaccessories.com) has a penchant for pen pal-ing, too. This photographer turned stamp salvager gathers old postage from around the world to create necklaces, rings and earrings.<br /> <br /> “i started out with a box of stamps rejected by a collector,” she says. “and i grew particularly attached to a set of Czech postage that had gorgeous line drawings of fairy tales. It was so hard to sell them.” prepare for your own fantastic encounters at the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair this month, whether you indulge in one-of-a-kind wares and wearables, or decide to DIY from now on.<br /> <br /> If opting for the latter, take note—the Videnovich Farms (videnovichfarms.com) booth offers an array of beautiful handspun wool that can be used as your heart desires. Who knows, maybe you’ll make the 2010 vendor list.<br /> <br /> The fair is free and open to the public from 11am-7pm. Visit renegadecraft.com.<br /> <br />

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