Renegade Craft Fair: Just As Awesome As You’d Expect

I don’t know about you, but I fancy myself a bit of a renegade. Not the kind who “deserts one faith, cause, or allegiance for another” but rather the kind who “rejects…conventional behavior.” Also, the kind who loves crafts. So when a friend told me about the Renegade Craft Fair, I knew immediately that I would love it. I was right—-my girlfriend and I even showed up late to Dyke March because we had such a hard time leaving the fair on Saturday! Now I want to share the love and strongly encourage you to check out this fair if you can.

If you live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, or London, UK, you’re in luck because The Renegade Craft Fair is coming your way in July and September. If you live in Austin or Brooklyn unfortunately this year’s fairs have passed, but you can start planning for next year the way I’m planning to meet Tegan and Sara at NYC Pride 2013 because I missed them this year and I can’t really talk about it because I’m so devastated.

this could be you! except not in brooklyn, at least not this year.


Anyway, back to crafts! The Renegade Craft Fair started out with 75 vendors in Chicago in 2003. According to its website, the founders, a creative bunch themselves, felt like all the major craft shows focused on fine arts rather than DIY culture, and were not ideal for emerging new talent. The organizers wanted to target a younger, alternative demographic that would be interested in cheaper prices, DIY community, and contemporary designs. This obviously sounds like the best idea ever, so it’s no wonder that the fair has grown in size and popularity each year, not to mention expanded to a total of six cities.

The fair opened in Brooklyn in 2005, San Francisco in 2008, Los Angeles in 2009, Austin in 2010, and London, England in 2011. Each fair hosts different artists, a variety of hands-on crafting workshops, and some kind of musical performance. The Brooklyn fair featured over 300 artists, had an amazing free photobooth (with props!), and took place at the Williamsburg Waterfront, but who knows what magical unicorns might appear at the other fairs.

this is what happens when you paint your own ceramic tile with pebeo,

I walked away with one print, one postcard, a goofy photo strip, and a silk-screened t-shirt. Some of my favorite items I did not purchase include a teacup planter, cutting boards in the shape of your favorite state, and Magic Unicorn salt. If I were a millionaire I would have bought something from every vendor.

tea cup planters from evolving habitat,

Attendance is completely free, prices are reasonable, the artists are super friendly, and the mascot is an owl. Fellow renegades, what I’m trying to say is, this is a craft fair you do not want to miss. You’re welcome.


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Vanessa is a writer, a teacher, and the community editor at Autostraddle. Very hot, very fun, very weird. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 404 articles for us.


  1. Omg did u see Nikkuu Design!?! I can’t get enough of her jewelry! And I have a few lamps too! It’s a bit out of my price range on the website but when she is selling at craft fairs the prices are slashed! I mean like totally slashed I saw one of her modern industrial style lamps in arhaus in the meat packing district for like $1,400!!! And at renegade it was like $125!!!! Wtf a total steal! And I got a free ring when I bought a necklace on Sunday! Whooot whoo!! Did I mention it’s a HOTT LESBIAN (POC-BLACK WOMAN, at that!) that runs the business and makes everything herself!??!! Hellz to the yea! Check it

  2. Yay! I love Renegade Craft Fair! I’ve been to several in San Francisco (regular and holiday) and one in Austin. It seems like they always do the free photo booth. I’ve actually been getting really excited for the fair again this year, I keep checking to see if they’ve posted the artist list yet, but not so far.

  3. This sounds amazing! I’d love to go to the London one if I can save up some money for travel… and buying cute crafted items, of course!

  4. aw man. i was home in NY all this past week and did not know about this. i totally could have figured out how to get to brooklyn and gone to this if i knew.

    • word. ditto. all of that. i had a week long metrocard last week, i was all about the free stuff. didnt know about that. sometimes i wish we could hear about the events beofre they happen. but still appreciate the coverage. hope i can make it next yr.

      • this was my fault because i only sent in the article after the fair happened

        i really wanted to include the photos and i couldn’t do that before the fair because i hadn’t taken them yet

        BUT i see your point and i’ll keep sending laneia/rachel/bren articles and hoping they’ll publish them, and in the future i’ll try to send stuff in BEFORE it happens so we can all attend and make merry :)

  5. I’m SO excited for this year’s Craft Fair in San Francisco, I’ve never been before, and this is only my second summer here as I come and go from Mexico as much as my visa and saved up money will allow to see my awesome hot girlfriend, WHO BY THE WAY is gonna have a booth at this year’s fair!

    She makes these awesome belts and cuffs from recycled firehoses from the San Francisco Fire Dept. and also other hoses from around the country! They’re super neat you guys! If you can’t get to the fair check out her Etsy shop too :)

    • congrats to your gf on her booth–those belts are sexyyy–bring them to brooklyn next year!

  6. Awesome adventure creating art in so many forms. I hope I get the chance to exhibit my little creations in the London Renegade Craft Fair.

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