Notice that your favorite etsy shopkeepers were closed this past weekend? It’s probably because they were shilling their wares in the flesh in Brooklyn at the Renegade Craft Fair. The free, open-air RCF started in Chicago in 2003 and has proven to be quite popular — it happens each summer in Brooklyn, LA, San Francisco, and Chicago — with generation DIY.

What you have to understand about the Renegade Craft Fair is this: it’s the same concept as a farmers’ market — everything for sale is small-scale, much is local, there’s that same “meet the producer vibe” — but you’re buying a print of a cheetah wearing an eye patch and a tuxedo (guilty as charged), hand-painted commemorative china sporting the likeness of Lionel Ritchie (also guilty), or a apple-scented soy candle in the shape of an apple (ditto) instead of staples like fresh produce, dairy products, or bread.

This is the third year in a row I’ve visited RFC in Brooklyn’s McCarren Park and it was definitely the biggest (over 300 indie crafters in attendance) and the best that I've experienced. Gorgeous weather on Sunday didn't hurt. As expected, there was a ton of paper goods, soaps, toys, jewelry, and the like … certainly not household necessities by any means but stuff that, for some reason or another, you have to have.

The home accessory offerings were a bit meager compared to clothing and paper goods but I managed to find a few good, green sellers. Here’s who and what caught my eye:

folded pigs repurposed restaurant ware — MFA-trained ceramic artist Meredith from Kansas City refires ceramic restaurant dinnerware with handmade images of bugs, brains, and skulls fused into them. The “bon appetit” cockroach plate is one of the funniest home items that I’ve seen in months.

Reiter8 — I dig Katherine Rasmussen’s (a neighbor of mine in Brooklyn, apparently) throw pillows made from recycled sailcloth from sailboat sails ... awesome gifts for the nautically obsessed.

Pepper Sprouts — These Home Sweet Home wood coasters from Brooklyn-based Pepper Sprouts caught my eye. Was hoping for the use of reclaimed wood but they’re made from virgin (but not endangered) color remu wood.

Kindling — I wanted to get a better look at Chicago-based Kindling’s home accessories made from local reclaimed wood. These Faceted Votive Holders are particularly handsome.  


The fall coat for your grumpy treehugger friend.
Check out Renegade Craft Fair when it hits LA on July 11th and 12th, San Francisco on July 18th and 19th, and Chicago on September 12th and 13th. 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Etsy nation descends on Brooklyn's McCarren Park for the annual Renegade Craft Fair.