London Renegade Craft Fair



Unless you’ve been hiding under a quirkily painted rock you’ll know that last weekend was one of the main highlights in the craft and design world’s calendar; The Renegade Craft Fair. It’s the one you read about in craft magazines for weeks before, then weeks after, and this year the buzz on social media seemed to be more…well, buzzy, than ever before.

 

And so it was that I was pretty excited to journey down to London last Saturday, camera in hand, to sample this now-famous celebration of all things craft for myself.

 

Now in its third year in LondonRenegade was the brainchild of two crafters in the US looking to sell their handmade goods in a marketplace setting. At that time, in 2003, the craft and indie craze was just starting to gather pace. Their first fair was an instant success.

 

A decade on and Renegade seems to be a concentrated version of a global passion for handmade, and from what I hear on the crafting grapevine, more this year than last. The venue - Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane – was vast and industrial, a pleasingly ironic blank canvas for the industry and colourful branding on display within.

 

There were over one hundred stalls in all, and as I ambled round it was wonderful to see so many well-known names and faces. The makers behind many popular blogs and magazine articles were chatting away to sellers, and some stalls were so busy I had to carry on past and loop back later on. It goes to show how well some of these small business owners manage their own branding, as stalls such as that of Oh NO Rachio, Finest Imaginery and Ella Masters Illustration were instantly recognisable for their designs (and in Oh NO Rachio’s case her penchant for succulents, which were very much in evidence!)

 

 

Also present were Folksy – a welcome sight after I attended their Folksy Summer School back in August – and craft demonstrations were in full swing, delivered by The Amazings, Mollie Makes and A Alicia.

 

 

And the handmade goodies for sale? Although it’s true that there are recurring themes across the handmade market, current ones including birds, foxes, moustaches and clouds – oh and dinosaurs! – I was very pleasantly surprised at diverse interpretations on these motifs, and the humongous range of crafts and materials featured across the stalls. Everything from ceramics to

papercraft, jewellery to wood carving was represented. The stalls looked fresh and individual, with some innovative ideas for displays. ‘Twee’ and ‘Folky’ were notorious by their absence.

 

Sauntering round, taking in the atmosphere and adding to my collection of business cards, I felt a swell of pride in the UK handmade movement, and a real confidence that it’s here to stay. Even more reassuring is that Renegade is no niche market, by crafters, for crafters. Oh no. Buying handmade is quickly becoming the norm, to the point where the high street has been attempting to mimic designer/makers for some time now, so it was great to see such a wide demographic of customers buying at this event too.

  

 

It’s been another successful year for crafts, and I have a feeling the UK Renegade team will have been raising a hand-etched glass to their best fair to date. Here at Craft Candy we love to champion great creative events, so Renegade, we salute you!

 


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