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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!

One of a Kind Show, New York

Reported by Rachel Johnson

The One of a Kind Show and Sale is a yearly event that happens in Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago, and for the first time this year, New York City. (You can read Sarah Moore’s review of the Chicago show here.) On Friday, I braved the super-cold temperatures and headed out to Pier 94 to check out the show, which was described as an “an extraordinary holiday shopping show featuring the best in fine art and fine craft from hundreds of unique artists, artisans, and designers from across North America.” I was very curious to find out what the event had to offer.

My first stop once I was inside the doors was the crafting area. A bunch of cool, crafty companies were hosting “make and take” projects and I wanted to get in on the fun. I stopped by the ReadyMade and Janome booth where you could work on gift tags or sew pillows on Janome sewing machines. I also got to sign up for a complimentary, one-year ReadyMade magazine subscription just for attending the One of a Kind Show! Sweet!
Next, I stopped by the Hello Craft area, where they had all sorts of craft supplies available, including a button maker! Hello Craft is a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. The Hello Craft representatives, Sara and Kim, were so kind and informative that I decided to purchase a Hello Craft membership on the spot!
Then, I headed to the Etsy DIY area. Etsy had adorable fabric ornament kits that you could work on there, or take home to make later. (They had the custom fabric for the ornaments printed at Spoonflower.) I grabbed a kit for later and chatted up the Etsy representatives. They explained how Etsy was excited to be sponsoring both the DIY area and an Etsy Pavilion at the One of a Kind Show because they wanted to help the new wave of crafters break into the more traditional and established arts and craft world. It was great to see such a large website supporting their users in a tangible way!
At the Etsy Pavilion you could find twenty-four juried Etsy vendors all in one area. They also had a welcome booth with lots of information about Etsy.com and some free swag. There were plenty of unique crafts within the pavilion, but my two favorite booths were Gock’s Frocks felted wool clothing and Jill K. Davis Jewelry.
Kristen Gocker Hallagan of Gock’s Frocks makes adorable children’s clothing, stuffed animals, scarves, and more out of fabric and recycled, felted wool sweaters. She works on her craft full time, but has just started branching into the craft show scene. I bought a cute, felted wool flower pin from her that I plan to put on my plain black coat.
Jill K. Davis makes unique and charming silver and gold jewelry that often features a picturesque little house. I was enamored with her detailed work, and promised myself that I would purchase one of her amazing necklaces in the future!
Outside of the Etsy Pavilion there were hundreds of other vendors ranging from jewelry and fashion to food and photography. I kept track of all of my favorite booths, including the one above: Smitten Kitten. The Smitten Kitten booth immediately drew me in. It was all pink and colorful, but the beautiful statement necklaces are what really caught my eye. My little photos above do not do them justice. The designer, Amy, creates the necklaces using chunky, colorful beads and silk kanzashi flowers she has folded using vintage scarves. Oh, how I wanted one! Sadly, the prices were a bit too high for me on the necklaces, so I settled for a very cute, bright pink kanzashi flower pin.
I had a lot of fun checking out the Apexspire Jewelry booth. Above is a photo of Karen Clark, the designer of Apexspire. The understated beaded necklaces and earrings were both simple and detailed at the same time. I had a hard time deciding on only one item, but finally bought a very sweet pair of aquamarine bead earrings.
One of my absolute favorite booths at the One of a Kind Show and previously at the Brooklyn Flea, is the photography of John Murphy. Murphy creates vivid, striking photographs using small sets he constructs in his studio. He then frames the surreal images in super-bright, hand finished frames. I would love to own one of Murphy’s pieces, but for now I am making due with his Flora & Fauna stationery set.

Last but not least on my list of favorite vendors is the Rogue Confections booth. This booth blew me away with the beautiful design of both the environment and the intricate patterns printed on the handmade Belgian chocolates. I was amazed to learn that founder, Sherri Adler, was doing the initial launch of Rogue Confections right there at the One of a Kind show – everything about the booth was extremely professional and lovely. The free samples of the chocolate were delicious, and I will definitely keep the box sets in mind for future gift giving.
Overall, the One of a Kind show was a lot of fun and I got to check out a bunch of new crafters and network with many creative folks. The only downside is that I overheard a lot of the vendors express disappointment with the level of shopper turnout. A few people told me that they had talked to more press representatives and shop owners than actual holiday shoppers.
Did you attend the One of a Kind Show in any of its locations? What did you think? Did the number of shoppers pick up on the weekend in NY? Did you buy any holiday gifts or something for yourself at the show?
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

One of a Kind Show and Renegade… All in One Weekend!

Reported by Sarah Moore

I am pretty darn lucky… living near Chicago is pretty much the best deal around. I am about 40 miles NW of the city. I can get there in under an hour, but I don’t have to cope with city life every day. The parking alone would do me in. Chicago has a wonderful craft and arts community; last weekend was chock full of fun crafty stuffs to do…

Last Friday my buddy and fellow CC reporter Martha Bonneau and I went to the One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart. The Mart is an interesting place, lots of nooks and crannies to hide exhibitors in. Unfortunately I don’t think it always makes for the best show space. Expensive parking, difficult space to navigate, and while this show touted “one of a kind” we saw a lot we has seen before.

Of course we managed to find some wonderfulness in the bunch… here’s a sampling of what we loved, and thought was truly One of a Kind. b Be sure to visit these nice crafty folks. Buy handmade this holiday!

The Mullanium Jewelry and Songbird Collection is amazing in person. Capturing the detail of these birds on film is almost impossible, as each piece is unique and fully detailed. Created from found objects, these are individual works of art, a perfect gift for the antiquity appreciator.

Yes… it’s a baby bird… get it? cute right?


Kiku Handmade creates these tiles, trivets and jewelry pieces with a unique process of silkscreening within fused glass! Be sure to visit their Etsy Site to view available jewelry items… Love these designs and colors!

Alisa Miller created this interesting jewelry. I love the circles… it’s industrial and delicate at the same time!

Funny Story, Jen Hopwood of My Perennial is not only super talented, but she also went to my High School! She was also on the Martha Stewart Show, so now I am now only one degree from Martha! The world of craft is small and wonderful!

I love these snap on embellishments… she sells t-shirts and headbands with snaps. Cool! Visit Jen’s website to see all her wonderfulness.



Emmy Star Brown had Craft Critique Facebook Fan Page readers to thank for helping her source the best deals on clear glass ornaments. Here is what she did with them! Lovely!

Oh how we love when Art and Craft collide! Thanks to Dolan Geiman we can show you these wonderful items… We think it’s great when an artist offers artwork in multiple price ranges. These small pieces were priced for any budget! Plus Dolan is fascinating, he had so much to share about the world of craft/marketing.

I have been a spy of Little Korboose for some time now. Who can resist a well executed robot doodle? I love these melamine plates and trays. They also make totes and T’s for tots!


Last but certainly not least… my fave, a kooky couple of kids from Indiana. Kellee and Matt of OveRduE InduStrIes have a library card for a business card. They make these awesome bound journals from vintage books. The journals contain select (wonderful) pages from said book, and lots of blank sheets too.

We loved how they have a library pocket in the front of the book that’s card is stamped with the day your book was made, and the day you bought it!

Kellee and Matt are also into collage and they use ALL the pages from the books they dismantle for the journals in other projects… like the cool brooches below.

Ok… in retrospect there was a lot of great stuff at this show… but it was a huge show! Our favorite section was the Etsy Pavilion… many of these artists were found there. We also loved to see sponsors Janome and ReadyMade Magazine had teamed up to craft on site! We love to see crafting AT a craft show. We don’t think it’s done nearly enough!

Stay tuned for more of my Crafty Chicago weekend tomorrow! I have so many shots of Renegade to show off! Boy, I have lots of editing to do! and btw… does anyone else dislike the new blogger photo upload process as much as we do? We are in a big hurry to move this site to WordPress!

Have great weekend!

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