—-About three weeks ago, we took our big felt trees, our dining table, our work-mate, our bench, a chair, eight shoe boxes full of stock, our two new clocks, a big tub of Penguin bars and a packet of (plain) Hobnobs – and set up our stall at the Renegade London Craft Fair!
This was the 2nd year that Renegade Craft Fair had been held in London at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane – the Renegade team were so lovely – and the whole fair was just so unbelievably well organised! We’re hoping it will take place here for many more years to come….
—-We were ‘Stall No.61’ for the weekend – (in hindsight we might have made our stall number sign a bit too big…maybe…?)
—-But we were just two lollipop trees in a mass of other stalls – here’s a panoramic pic to give you a sense of scale:
For those of you who don’t know about Renegade, it’s a MASSIVE collection of all kinds of contemporary arts and crafts – with an emphasis on an indie/DIY attitude and aesthetic.
The organisation is based in Chicago and started in 2003, spreading to other cities across the US: Austin, Brooklyn, LA and San Fransisco. The London fair was huge with close to 100 crafters/traders, but we learnt that this was small in comparison to the Chicago Fair which is THREE times bigger, held outdoors and required public transport to be re-routed!
—-Back to those biscuits we packed……
The reason we took the Penguins and Hobnobs was to hand them round to other stall holders during that mid-afternoon energy slump…..but we only took 36 Penguin bars and one packet of Hobnobs – an oversight – as we only got as far as about half way round when they ran out…..
Someone who did get a Penguin was our neighbour Lee from Pacific Puzzleworks.
He also told us about Tim Tams.
That was what was really great about Renegade – it attracted traders from all over the UK but also a great many ‘Regular Renegades’ from the States. So, although this meant that many traders didn’t know what a Penguin was – and were even more perplexed when asked what their Penguin joke was : ) – this is how we got to hear of the Tim Tam.
You see, once sampled – Lee established that a Penguin biscuit is very much like a Tim Tam which can also be used as a conduit for drinking tea through (a ‘Tim Tam Slam’!) and although it is an Australian snack, there is an identical product available in the USA made by the same company; Arnotts.
Guess what’s top of our ‘to do’ list during our imminent New York trip……….?
—-But, seriously now – we didn’t just talk about snacks all the time…what we really enjoyed was putting names and faces to products, websites, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages that we had seen before – and discovering a whole load of new people to admire!
—-Here are some stall holders who got offered a Penguin (pretty sure some of them had two…..you know who you are…..):
—-Obviously(!) it was also really interesting for us to see other designers who primarily use Acrylic in their work too.
And we were completely blown away by seeing in the flesh what they are able to achieve using laser cutting techniques. (and their brilliant minds of course!)
As you may already know, we individually cut each component out by hand on our mechanical fretsaw. We draw each design out repeatedly onto large sheets of Acrylic then run them through the saw and then file and sand all the edges before assembling them.
People often ask us why we bother with this method when laser cutting is quicker, more accurate and more consistent….we usually reply that we had the tools to hand when we first started out and over the last 7 years, we’ve honed this technique rather than changing the way we work – and we enjoy it too!
It does also have a direct bearing on the designs that we make. Being limited by our cutting skills, and the realistic time restraints of cutting out hundreds of the same design forces us to keep things simple. The challenge is then to keep this simplicity interesting enough for people to like and want to wear!
—-Have a look at this lot of lovely laser cut Acrylic-ness – amazingly complex and intricate designs that we could only dream of making by hand!
Sally from Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes came down from Glasgow – and it was lovely to meet her properly, having already met her on Twitter : )
Our current favourites of hers are this CMYK necklace and this tiny cute ‘fish in a bag’ brooch. Such detail and really beautifully made too: )
Then there is Plastique*, from LA who had some eye-wateringly intricate designs – We stared in wonderment at these in particular:
Finest Imaginary‘s Camp Fire Brooch has been on our Christmas Wish List for a while now….particularly loving the laser etched detailing on the logs of wood!
It was also lovely to meet Brighton based Designosaur, purveyors of acrylic and wooden jewellery, mostly shaped like Dinosaurs!
They had an amazing diorama on their stall: (sorry that our photo doesn’t quite do it justice!)
—-That’s quite enough about Acrylic!
—-Here are a few other traders (who, incidentally, didn’t get to have a Penguin-sorry!) who we were lucky enough to meet/pester for a photograph!:
Me me me‘s perfectly formed (by hand) porcelain necklaces and brooches- the thunder cloud is our obvious favourite! And Ham’s various wares which, as she so perfectly puts it: “capture unexpected moments from the contented lives of a pig, a horse and a rabbit”.
Renee Francis‘s enamelled birds and whales and her range of delicate silver and gold pieces caught our eye.
On the far left are US based Drew Morrison‘s prints – he also builds great stuff – worth a peek! Next to him are Brooklyn based Ink and Sword and Life with Tigers. And on the right, with her gorgeous selection of printed textiles, paintings and illustrations is London based Caitlin Hinshelwood.
We’ve seen this ‘hide behind the fan’ technique in play by Manolo jewellery in a few other blog posts – it was a hot day after all : ) And framed by her basket handle is Alice from Birds in Hats – we’ve previously admired her birds in hats at In With the Old shop in Islington – so it was nice to put a face to the birds : )
We both fell in love with Datter Industries little cast arrows and skulls and hands – have a look at her website – our photo doesn’t show anything! And Art Equals Happy‘s stall was complete with spinning wheel – brilliant!
And finally……..(yes, we know….this is an insanely long post – but it was an insanely inspirational fair!)
We’d like to thank all those lovely new customers that we met, and some existing customers that we got to meet : ) and we’d especially like to thank those who visited/exhibited and then blogged about us too!
Thanks so much!!