The Renegade Craft Fair came into town this past weekend. They are one of these “alternative” craft fairs that are traveling around. We also have a few local variations on this theme. All of these fairs like to make you think they are doing something new and cutting edge, but craft fairs have been around for a long time. The real difference is that these newer versions tend to appeal to a younger demographic of the self consciously hip. There are some really cool and creative things at these shows, but the attitude behind these fairs is a little silly. The items may be different, but the experience is the same with these alternative fairs. Another generations sand candles and macramé abound.
That said I really do enjoy these things. You see plenty of new and interesting work and most of it is pretty accessible in terms of cost. Like any of these things, it’s always a mixed bag. There are some ideas that after a few years feel like they have been done to death. Though at least I didn’t see any more jewelry made out of old typewriter keys. That was clever the first or second time I saw it. After a few times, I had the same reaction to typewriter key jewelry as I used to when I saw jewelry made out of old silverware (uh oh, I’m dating myself). The only thing that really disturbed me at the Renegade Craft Fair, were the grossly overpriced vintage globes. They were covered with uninspired collage. Repurposing globes needs to be left to the pros.
There were some real great things. I loved the Tough Chick series. How can you go wrong with a cartoon chick wearing a studded collar? Especially when the target market is for little girls. A nice alternative to the princess set. Black Forest Clockworks is reviving the lost art of souvenir, kitsch cuckoo clocks. If you didn’t inherit that treasure from Grandma, here is your chance.
Don’t let the name Tofu fool you, I am not a vegetarian. I even collect meat art for my kitchen. If I had a large kitchen, I would want all the meat prints form artist Alyson Thomas. Her work is wonderful and I recommend you check it out.