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Event Review: One Of A Kind Show Chicago

Reported by: Simone Collins

One of the best parts of living in the Windy City is the fact that not only do we have a large variety of galleries and museums to visit and take in some great art, but we also have some of the best craft shows and fairs around. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the One Of A Kind Show in Chicago.

The One Of A Kind Show offers consumers in Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago and New York a chance to purchase unique gifts during the holiday season. Featuring everything from jewelry, to ceramics, to sculpture, there is something for everyone on your shopping list. This year’s show in Chicago showcased over 600 artists from across North America.

This year, Etsy was a sponsor of the show. The site had a prominent booth that highlighted sellers who were at the show in a special Etsy Artist Pavilion. By making a purchase in the pavilion, shoppers received a free raffle ticket to win an Etsy shopping spree. They also had hands-on craft workshops that attendees could participate in throughout the four days of the show.

Within the Etsy Artist Pavilion area, there were several brand new artists to the show, as well as some of the best booths of the show. One of those booths was filled with some amazing glass art by Kit Paulson, an artist from our very own city. Her hip flasks, bottles, and votives would be a striking addition to any home.

We also met a very cute husband-wife team from the Etsy shop, Man vs. George from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This graphic design firm sells fun and modern greeting cards and invitations that are designed by the husband, Ryan Fitzpatrick, with his cat, George, as his armchair critic.

One of the cutest booths in the Etsy Artist Pavilion featured the work by Bunny With A Toolbelt from Portland, Oregon. These figures, created from upcycled wood and mixed media, were total attention grabbers with their unique sense of humor.

The sister-sister team of Muggy Tuesday, had some of the most interesting accessories at the show.  Their crocheted earrings, rings, and headbands would make the perfect gift for your best friend, sister, mom, or even your son’s first grade teacher.

Amanda Shell, designer of the Whirley Girl Etsy shop, grabbed our attention with her upbeat and friendly attitude. Of course, the fact that her work was amazing didn’t hurt either. This Chicago gal creates handpainted mirrors and other decor for your little one’s room.

One of the coolest things about this show is realizing just how many of these artist actually reside in my hometown. Karla Wheeler is another one of those artists. These metal days of the week bracelets would make the perfect accessory on, well, any day of the week.

You know you are a crafty geek when you see a QR code and get excited. Saul Mandel, designer of Bare Tree Designs, explained how this was the new trend in craft—and we couldn’t agree more. By snapping a picture this special little code, your smartphone can instantly take you the artist’s webpage or Etsy shop, and then you can favorite it or save it to your favorite web clipping program. Not only was he full of helpful techie information, but his screen printed items, like t-shirts and scarves, were gorgeous.

One of our favorite local sellers is Jen Hopwood of My Perennial. Her felt designs always wow us, and it doesn’t hurt that they also wowed Martha Stewart herself. Her snappy t-shirts let your kids change the look of their boring tees by simply snapping in a new felt cutie each day of the week. She also sells pillows, stockings, and felt bags that would make great gifts this holiday season.

Another local crafter that always draws a crowd is Emmy Star Brown. Her painted glass works are created using found objects around the city, and are always done freehand.

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.orgIf you are still working on that holiday shopping list, there is still time to take the Handmade Pledge. We encourage you to support the crafters and artists of this world and buy handmade. With so many choices available online and at local events, buying handmade has become easier than ever. And with the most unique items to choose from, you can be sure to find something for the hardest person on your list.

Take the Handmade Pledge today!

Are you shopping handmade this holiday season? Been to a great craft show or fair in your neck of the woods? We’d love to hear about it.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

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3 Responses to Event Review: One Of A Kind Show Chicago

  1. whirleygirl amanda December 10, 2010 at 11:05 am #

    hey ladies – it was so great meeting you!! MUCH thanks to you both for spotlighting all these “makers” – we all are truly passionate about what we do!!
    xoxo,
    amanda
    whirleygirl designs

    • Tara Barrett September 20, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

      Hi Amanda,
      I have NO clue if this will lead me to you 🙂 but I ordered a mirror off etsy from you about 3 years ago and I would like another one 🙂 I don’t know if you just stopped making them or maybe have another shop name? but if this is you and youre interested please get in touch with me! Thanks Again! Tara

  2. Hilary Pfeifer December 13, 2010 at 12:26 am #

    This is a great selection of work from the show and I’m honored you included my Bunny with a Toolbelt work!