December 2011 marked the 3rd Annual Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market in San Francisco. Third times a charm indeed! This year's Market was a huge success and boasted crowds over 15,000 for the weekend. with over 250 vendors and a ton of local led craft activities to please any crowd. The Museum of Craft and Design, Tami Jo Studios , Workshop , and the new San Francisco Public Library Green Bookmobile , were all on hand to get the crowds in the DIY holiday mood.
It is always a real treat to vend at Renegade Craft Fair and this time was no exception. I had a blast and the vendors I spoke with all had wonderful things to say about the Renegade Gang and their weekend vending successes. There was such a nice diversity of vendors this year selling wares that made me salivate with creative juices! It was oh so difficult to choose. I decided to feature two vendors from the Bay Area and two vendors who traveled up from the Los Angles area for the show.
First, let's welcome, Samantha, designer and founder of note•ify, creating eco-friendly, farm-chic paper goods.
Samantha has been a graphic designer/art director in San Francisco for 10 years. She started note•ify almost 3 years ago form her San Francisco apartment and is now looking for a larger space for herself and her growing business. Yeah Samantha!! Samantha has been crafty her whole life. She says, "I'm pretty sure I was born into the craft world. I have been making collages and crafts since I was a small child. But I got into the modern craft world by seeking out those like me at meet-ups hosted by Etsy and going to events at local shops. I am very fortunate to live in San Francisco, a city filled with awesome crafters and makers."
Samantha draws from her expertise in photography and design to create for note•ify. She reveals, "I started making my note cards from my original photographs for my family and friends. I majored in photography and design in college, so it only seemed natural for me to craft my own cards. Some of my family live on farms in Michigan, and I love animals, so during each visit, I took a ton of photographs. I started playing around with printed those photographs on all sorts of paper, once I printed on kraft paper, I knew I had hit on something. The way I manipulate my photographs is inspired by rubber stamps, and the look of them on kraft paper was exactly what I wanted." Walking over to Samantha's booth, it is her use of kraft paper and the graphic loveliness of her work that catches the eye immediately. Her work really exudes a farm-chic vibe, right down to the twine used to tie up her card sets.
Samantha keeps her note•ify designs fresh by seeking inspiration from travel. She says, "Travel is my number one inspiration. Last year I took a trip to Africa, where I was able to photograph some amazing animals. Locally though, I find inspiration at small farms in Petaluma, the Ferry Building, and the beauty of the Bay Area." Beauty indeed! I just love her prints of the Sutro Tower hovering above Twin Peaks. There's no place like home!
Say hello to Kristen of Pommes Frites, a home decor business based out of Long Beach, CA. Kristen has been participating in Rengade Craft Fairs all over the country for the past few years. Kristen has vended at Renegade Craft Fair, Austin, Los Angeles, and this was her first time vending in San Francisco. She started Pommes Frites in 2008 and is currently a full time crafter, creating out of her home in sunny SoCal.
Kristen is super multi-talented and creates a variety of pieces for Pommes Frites, such as; hollow book safes, soy candles, and vintage map magnets. She says, "My main ethos is to create eco-friendly items that will enhance your home's charm. I make it a goal not to sell any products that I wouldn't use and buy myself in my day-to-day life - and I stand by that, burning candles at night and hiding my valuables in a book safe on my bedside table. Whoops - I probably shouldn't share that last bit."
Kristen found herself in the craft world via blogging and creating DIY projects for several major craft magazines. She shares, "I was working at a publishing company in New York, blogging and creating DIY projects for several different craft magazines, including Adorn and Crochet Today. When my main magazine (Adorn) went under, I took the opportunity to branch out into the crafty world I had been writing about for so long. I moved to Austin, TX, where the economy was a bit more hospitable for a small business start-up, and began Pommes Frites. I relocated to Long Beach in the beginning of August, and realized one of the best parts of owning your own business is the ability to take it with you." One of my favorite things about Kristen's work is the portability of it all. Everything from her candles to her magnets can be easily relocated and shipped. Coincidence? Also the beautiful smell emanating from the Pommes Frites booth was hard to miss. My favorite? Definitely the Apple Picking Soy Candles.
Kristen is inspired by other crafters and bloggers. She says, "Nothing is more rejuvenating to your artistic psyche than doing a craft fir and getting to gab with other vendors about how they create items, their experimentation with packaging, booth displays and more. Beyond that, I love going to vintage shops, used bookstores and boutiques to find inspiration." Don't miss Kristen's blog to get your own crafty inspiration!
Meet veteran Rengade Craft Fair Los Angeles vendor, Michelle McCreary of VintageRemade. Michelle launched VintageRemade in 2009. She continues to work full time and dedicate part-time hours to crafting from her home in Los Angeles. She says, "I would love to have VintageRemade be all that I do, but I’m not quite there yet!"
Michelle's mission for VintageRemade is really admirable. She is driven to not only make stylish and useful handbags from recycled materials, but she also donates a percentage of her proceeds to a worthy cause. Go Michelle! She says, "I make handbags and accessories from up-cycled fabrics. I absolutely love the process of reinventing discarded textiles. To me, there’s something so exciting about taking something that’s dated and giving it new life. The average American throws away 68 pounds of clothing every year—which is crazy given that much of that fabric is useable. VintageRemade is part of a movement of designers that are reimagining “waste." For every bag that VintageRemade sells, we donate $5 to support widows and orphans in Malawi Africa through a program called Women for Orphans and Widows. Being able to support a cause that’s greater than just making and selling purses is what drives my passion for VintageRemade." Michelle's passion is palpable and is found in every bit of her business. Listening to her interact with customers, you can tell, she puts a lot of thought into each and every VintageRemade bag.
VintageRemade was imagined during a chance encounter with a vintage curtain. Michelle explains, "As long as I can remember I have been a maker of things. In 2008, I chanced upon a vintage curtain that I could instantly envision as a handbag—that was my first up-cycled bag. That first creation sparked the idea to experiment with other fabrics and styles. I had several friends and people in my life that encouraged me along the way."
Michelle stays inspired by engaging with new ideas and experiences. She says, "I don’t necessarily seek out inspiration specific to my craft (i.e. other purse designers). I instead try to live in a way where I am continually engaging with ideas and experiences that spark my imagination and nurture my interior life. I visit galleries, listen to music, journal, have conversations-- and look for beauty in the everyday." Thanks Michelle!
Next up is Amy Tremper, of Stitch & Hammer, creating leather and fabric goods from a combination of new, organic, new and up-cycled materials. Amy has been in business since 2010. She balances creating for Stitch & Hammer with Graduate studies. She says, "I am currently pursuing an MFA in Interactive Design and New Media and running Stitch & Hammer full time."
Amy has a small studio in her Oakland home and does much of her work at the local San Francisco favorite TechShop. Amy comes from a long line of seamstresses and pulls from her family history to create for Stitch & Hammer.
She says, "I am inspired by my family lineage of seamstresses who have been making a living sewing goods for four generations. One day I made the decision to stop talking about starting a business and to just do it. I applied for the Holiday Renegade Fair in San Francisco and had 3 months to create product for the fair. The event was a real impetus in getting Stitch & Hammer off the ground." Kudos Amy! From the quality of her product to the beautiful display and branding of the Stitch & Hammer booth, you would never know the efforts for Renegade Craft Fair were pulled together in three months!
Amy is inspired by her Bay Area surroundings and love of blogs and photography. She says, "I set aside time everyday to go through the blogs I follow, I sketch and go for long walks-and I am totally obsessed with instagram!" Thanks Amy, I can't wait to watch your business grow!
Many many thanks to Samantha, Kristen, Michelle and Amy for taking a break from their busy booths at the Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market to chat about their work! For more information about the crafters featured here, click on the links within this post.
Signing off by the Golden Gate,