Stuff and a Sunburn: The Renegade Craft Fair

June 16, 2008 at 4:36 pm Leave a comment

I had a chance to stop by the Renegade Craft Fair in McCarren Park Pool this weekend (like every other New Yorker with a blog). In its fourth year, the fair brings together a huge and colorful group of Etsy-approved DIYers selling lithographed prints, letterpressed cards, resin-cast jewelry, plush baby furniture and a whole host of other cleverly constructed stuff.

What was fascinating about the fair was less its variety of vendors and more its overarching ethos: the value of an object is as much in its origins as its use. There are only so many ways to embroider a onesie or handprint a t-shirt; the crafts’ ‘individually made-ness’ was the key to their appeal. Each booth sold wares, sure, but also posed as a neatly-wrapped story, complete with a friendly history, a discussion of construction techniques, or an eye-catching business card.

While the trendspotters have been crowing about the authentic allure of craft for a minute now, the fair was a good reminder of where our consumer culture is moving overall: we buy things more and more as an opportunity to build our own personal narratives out of the little stories they provide us.

Don’t get me wrong, many of the attendees were pretty amazing. Some of my favorites:

Domestic Construction designs lamps (among other things) that make me wish I could rewire my apartment.

More after the jump. –John

Tugboat Printshop makes woodcut prints of Sea Serpents, tentacled mollusks and other flora and fauna. I may break my wallet on their online store.

Deadbird needs a real website but does beautiful bird-related mixed media pieces.

Joshua Katcher makes wonderfully uncomfortable sculptures.

Sesame Letterpress prints so nice. And their Brooklyn Social Cards collaboration may be where I order my next set of business cards from (take that, Moo).

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Entry filed under: Art + Music, Design, Inspiration, People, Sustainability.

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