It typically takes copious amounts of alcohol to get me to agree to do anything that involves a large scale venue packed with a high volume of humans, but these past two weekends I was compelled to face my agoraphobic tendencies by the lure of both the West Coast and Renegade craft fairs. Shopping opportunity aside, it’s always inspiring to see and talk to people who are doing work that they are naturally and deeply passionate about—this reason alone will always keep me coming back and braving the crowds.
As I strolled the aisles of each, I took notice of a few trends. Many of them are concepts and techniques that have always been around, but this year they felt a little more pronounced. Here are a few things you can expect to be hitting the shelves at Urban Outfitters within the next year or two:
Horse Hair: Jewelry, wall hangings and other accessories made from the hair of horse manes and tails. All humanely sourced—which was a concept I have yet to understand. How do you inhumanely source horse hair?... plucking instead of cutting?...hacking off the entire tail? (seems unnecessary)... not asking permission?... Anyways I’m not one to argue with the humane treatment of animals, so—confusion aside—this concept made me feel ok about loving the look of the pieces.
Natural Dyes: As in mineral, plant and vegetable dyes. Indigo (a color I will never tire of) was abound, some of my favorite executions being from LuRu Home and Mineral Workshop. Block Shop has been in the natural dye game for awhile now and can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes. Their latest pillow collection had me at hello.
High Design Utilitarian Goods: By this I mean items that turn your everyday chores into Instagrammable moments. Like beautifully crafted, minimalist hand brooms from Hannah Quinn and gorgeous matte black brooms and dustpans from this vendor whose name I'm blanking on. A fine representation of form meeting function.
Ceramics 2.0: Approximately one of every two booths you come across at these events is ceramic-centric. That’s not to say, I’m not seduced by every single one of them (because I am). But what’s starting to stand out to me in the ceramic space are the different finishing techniques that make for stunning patterns and textures. I love the smokey patterns of Carole Neilson’s pieces made via a fire-baking and smoking process. Heather Rosenman’s work is also hard to ignore with her lava glaze technique that allows for amazing textures and color combinations.
Among my other favorite vendors at the shows were:
WKNDLA (sculptural wall hangings and jewelry)
Palanquin (lighting and objects)
Mineral Workshop (indigo dyed pieces)
The Greater Goods (soaps and scents)
Liz Robb (Fiber Artist—also obsessed over her work last WCC)
I realize Amex Small Business beat me to the punch on this years ago, but as we enter the time of year where we (d)evolve into reckless consumption machines, for so many reasons I strongly encourage you to support independent makers like these. You can find the full list of vendors on the WCC and Renegade websites and I guarantee you’ll find something for every person on your list.