Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Renegade Craft Fair

Last weekend Renegade Handmade held their first fair outside America and they chose London! I have read a lot about Renegade Handmade and was keen to see what they were like in person. I wanted to see who they would choose from the British DIY craft scene to take part in their fair.

My friend Diana and I arrived quite soon after it opened and we were pleased to find that it wasn't too crowded (good for us, less so for them). We had a great day but at the end of it, if truth be told I was a little bit disappointed.

Whilst there were some exciting exhibitors there and a groovy DJ, I felt the show over all lacked originality. I could really see the effect of the internet. When it first arrived the world seemed suddenly full of amazing, original and diverse folk sharing their passions, hobbies and ideas. A decade later it is saturated with DIY crafters and ideas get passed around very quickly. We all love a custard cream and I wish I'd been the first to 'craft' one, but isn't it time we moved on, at least to the bourbon. I wanted to see new ways to make old craft skills relevant today. I didn't want to buy things that would just add to the clutter of everyday life.

For me the highlights of the show were the workshops that you could take part in. The most popular was a needle felting one, run by the Make Lounge. Diana and I had a go at this. I made an owl magnet (spot him on my fridge) and Diana made a fox. Look at everyone concentrating. No chatting on that table, you don't want to prick your finger with one of those needles, I can tell you.

We also made postcards to send to absent friends.

Some of my favourite crafts people there were The Drawing Machine. Here are my pictures of their work, naturally the ones on their site are much better. It was good to see Illustration represented.

I bought a couple of these nicely printed letters and found out that artist Patrick Edgely will be at the Artists and Makers show in Lewes on November 12th. Robin and Mould and Hazel Stark had lovely fresh prints. Yuka Maeda from Minus Sun had beautiful clothing and accessories. Look at this smocking.

I hope that Renegade come to London again and I hope that next time we Brits can show what an original and quirky lot we are.


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