As mentioned last week, I was lucky enough to go down to London last weekend for my birthday courtesy of my wonderful girlfriend. Of course, being the clever sort she is, she’d picked London because she knew that would give us an opportunity to check out the Renegade Craft Fair‘s first ever trip to foreign shores.
There were lots and lots of stalls there (about 80 I think), so this post won’t be covering all of them, but I’ll mention tee folk and a few other interesting finds. If you were there and I’ve not mentioned you, please don’t be offended!
We visited on the Saturday (stuff could be sold out by Sunday!) and when we arrived around 12:30 at the Old Truman Brewery there was already a decent crowd of people milling around the various stalls and there wasn’t a spare seat at The Make Lounge, so Liz and I would have to wait until another day to learn about the magic of felting. The craft workshops were certainly a good idea for getting people involved, and also keeping kids entertained whilst their parents wandered around looking at all the goods. They were such a good idea that I completely forgot to take a picture of them. Just try and imagine grown adults sat at a long table poking at bits of felt in an old brewery and you’re halfway there.
The first tee related people I spotted were Hiho Batik, an American brand who make t-shirts for kids and babies using the Batik method. I don’t have much experience with batik so it was cool to get a good look at this little-used (in the world of t-shirts) printing technique. Their stand did appear to be slightly abandoned though, I couldn’t see the owners anywhere, which may or may not have been something to do with us visiting at lunchtime.
When you see a woman painting a fish you have to stop for a minute, because chances are something interesting is going to happen. This lady (I like to call her ‘The Fish lady’, but in reality she is Deborah Whitey) paints fish and then covers them in cloth which she then pats down creating prints that are surprisingly beautiful.
Mustache’s are still popular for some reason, and Liz couldn’t help but give this felt mustache topped pencil a go (as many people around the stall were doing). According to the map this was the work of Stitch and Make Studio.
As she created the flyer for the whole event, it’s no surprise that Kate Sutton was exhibiting her artwork. They actually seemed a little taken back when Liz asked to buy one of the alpaca prints (you can see it on the right in the photo), perhaps it had been a slow day sales-wise so far. They gave Liz a tote bag for free to carry the poster in, which she was delighted about, it’s things like that to improve the whole shopping experience, much nicer than an anonymous plastic bag (or no bag at all, as was the case with many vendors).
This lady is Jess Quinn, she creates one-of-a-kind soft sculptures. I didn’t spend too much time checking out her stuff since dolls aren’t really my area of expertise, but everything looked well made and I could see that if it were my kind of thing, I’d have been all over it (know what I mean?). She was also the first person I asked if I could take a photo of, everyone at the show was very welcoming on me taking photos, which was usually a good way of segueing into explaining about HYA and that I wasn’t just some random guy with a camera.
Two Rabbits were making there first appearance in the UK. I’m on their mailing list and had followed them for a while so it was cool to see their stuff in person. I picked up one of their logo prints since I wasn’t into any of the bands the artwork was about. I guess that you don’t have to like a band that’s on a poster when you like the artwork/designer, but it would be a bit disingenuous to have a Danzig poster on my wall when I’ve never listened to Danzig.
Gotta love someone that calls their brand Miso Funky.
Fairly sure that Diane (aka Lekker Haas) was the most patient person at the whole show, I don’t know if I’d be able to bring myself to hand-cut a map of London (and various other locations). Really cool stuff.
I really like Kevin Tong‘s work, so I picked up one of his Rushmore prints (the red & blue print on the upper right of the print-board photo). He was gracious enough to pretend to know what Hide Your Arms is when I introduced myself (this happened at least twice, thankfully my ego can handle it), and seemed like an awfully nice fellow. His t-shirts looked good quality too, the irony of Renegade for me is that one of the primary reasons for visiting is that there would be some t-shirt people there, but I had no intention of buying shirts since I have more than I know what to do with anyway.
Antigraphic had some really bold posters tucked away in a corner of the exhibiting space.
John Vogl (aka The Bungaloo) was the second nice American of the day to pretend he knew what HYA was. I though that with him having so many cool shirts on display that I should know who he was, but it turns out he’s mostly a print illustrator so I didn’t feel like I’d lost my touch that much. Definitely a site worth checking out, I think his work is very HYA-friendly. Also, he allowed you to take 1 sticker for free, but two cost £700, something tells me he’s had people taking bunches of stickers in the past, people don’t seem to realise that it costs money to print stickers.
The Pink Pom-Pom Project is something that had I only read about it on the internet I would have probably described as being something pointless to do with hippies (they help support people suffering from cancer by using crafting as a form of therapy), but the guy running it seemed so nice that instead of people the usual cynic that I am I was totally on board. These guys aren’t pretending to cure cancer with craft, they’re making people in a very tough situation feel better, and that is a noble mission.
Apologies to Pop Corny for a photo that doesn’t do them justice, by this point in the day we were getting late meeting a friend for lunch so things got a bit hurried. Really cool style to Katie Mac’s artwork, she has a couple of tee designs on her blog, but I think that a lot more of her artwork would be suited to tees, hopefully that side of her work will expand.
We all know that I’m the wrong man to talk about jewelry, but I really liked the way that Mr. Nico displayed their necklaces, very original.
Bree,ree were showing some very impressive silk screened posters, had I not already bought something from Two Rabbits and Kevin Tong I would have probably picked something up, but my walls are already full, unfortunately.
Fabric Horse had come over from Philadelphia to show their range of modular bags that would be of a lot of use to cyclists (as well as other bags/wallets/holsters). I don’t bike, so the appeal was quite limited to me, but their stuff was cool, and they were from Philly, so I liked them.
This was seriously cool, it’s the Magic Wallet by Magic Industrie. This guy makes various items (wallets, bracelets, and buttons) out of abandoned books to give them a new life. He demoed one of his magic wallets for us and I got a quick video of Liz using it, I’m sure it’s a very simple trick, but it had us impressed!
Joy Nevada, make cute shirts for kids and babies. They made me think that maybe I should be covering that market more, but I don’t really know if a lot of parents read this site, let me know in the comments if you’re a parent!
These two people were lovely, I feel it’s importnant to point out that there was two people because one of them is hiding behind their stand in this photo. Honksville make a few t-shirts (mustache-related), but mostly I see them as a ‘stuffed cute things’ type of company. All very cute, I’m possibly a little old and male for it, but still very likeable.
This was cool, Natalie Turturo (aka Being Natalie) created 60 miniature paintings especially for the show (I think), but the thing that caught our eyes the most was the long one line drawing, in which everyone was invited to participate. I declined since there’s a reason I write about t-shirts instead of trying to make designs myself, but it was definitely an interesting way to get people interested in your stand and get people interacting.
These guys are called Robin & Mould, I really liked their artwork and especially those owl cushions, I could definitely see those sprucing up the tatty couch that I have in the office.
I finally got to meet Claire from Tee and Toast, who had made the trip over from Northern Ireland. It’s funny meeting someone that you’ve known on the internet for years, especially since I have sent Claire a signed photo of myself (just one of many wonderful things you get when you win a HYA competition), but she was lovely and friendly, and doing a good trade from what I could tell with the frequent breaks in our conversation to serve another interested customer. It was good to finally see some her of stuff ‘for real’ too, since I’ve spent the best part of half a decade seeing it digitally.
HYA advertisers and all-round good guys Fuzzy Ink also made the trip across the pond. They’re no strangers to craft shows but this was the first time that they ventured outside the US, they too had a steady stream of visitors to their stand whilst I was chatting away to the twins, and hopefully over the weekend those visitors translated into enough sales to justify the trip, because I’m sure coming to the UK was a big outlay for all the foreign brands involved and I applaud them for taking the chance and coming here. It was good to talk shop with Fuzzy Ink even though I’m sure Liz and our lunch companion Clare had get a bit bored by now, they’re clearly really proud of their partnership with the Movember, and it was interesting to hear about how they want to move the brand forward. Just as I was about to leave a lady handed me a straw with a mustache attached to it (hmmm, what’s in fashion at the moment, eh?), so naturally me, Liz and Clare had to have fun with it.
Like I said earlier, even with this article being as long as it is (about 2000 words), I have missed a lot of exhibitors, the amount of handmade jewelry there was very impressive, so this was a pretty big event (though I’m told the American ones can be 4 times the size), I was there for an hour and a half and still felt like I rushed things a bit.
I really enjoyed Renegade and I’m glad that my birthday trip just happened to coincide with it. Hopefully it was enough of a success to persuade Renegade to come back again or possibly to encourage more events like it around the UK because I feel like we are missing an entity like Renegade in the UK that is able to unify groups of crafters and hold events around the country under a recognisable brand name.