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Tag Archives | Craft Fair

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!

Urban Craft Uprising – Seattle’s Largest Indie Craft Show

If you were in Seattle during the summer, where would you find over one hundred professional crafters and artisans in one place with booths galore? Urban Craft Uprising: Summer #2, of course. I was fortunate enough to be in the area, with a family willing to take some time to walk through the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall where vendors were showing off their fabulous wares, from journals with repurposed book covers (vintage ones, too) to original prints and artwork. The show itself had free admission which really made it enticing for tourists and visitors in the area.

From the Urban Craft Uprising founders:

“At Urban Craft Uprising’s shows, fans can choose from a wide variety of hand-crafted goods including clothing of all types, jewelry, gifts, bags, wallets, buttons, accessories, aprons, children’s goods, toys, housewares, paper goods, candles, journals, art, food & much, much more. Each Urban Craft Uprising show is carefully curated and juried to ensure the best mix of crafts and arts along with originality and uniqueness.”

The event itself debuted in 2004, and now touts that the show is the largest indie craft show in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

Artist and Illustrator Matthew Porter

Fun totes from Boodlebags

Special mentions to Ricicli: 100% recycled children’s apparel, jill bliss: handmade paper crafts, and .Shelly.Etc., who had the most unique photography printed on metal.

Along with myriad booths, free hourly demos were given on both days of the show. You could check out DIY Handmade Buttons, learn embroidery basics, and even make fake cupcakes. Moxie, one of the event creators, is here showing needle felting.


While the two ladies in the background might have been falling asleep, Moxie was pretty entertaining and full of tips and techniques.

You can find more pictures here and at the Urban Craft Uprising Flickr site.

Were you at this show? What did you think of it? What other craft shows did you attend over the summer? Give us a shout out and share your thoughts!

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

Heirloom Productions Rubber Stamp Festival

Reported by Sara McKenzie

The weekend of June 5-6 I enjoyed one of my annual treks to central Massachusetts to attend the Heirloom Productions Rubber Stamp Festival in West Springfield. They always put on a great show, and this year I was able to spend some time with Sheila and Dave Carlson, who are the on-site representatives of Heirloom Productions at almost every show. They share the on-site management responsibilities with the owner, Pat Larson, and their co-worker, Nikki Webb.

Annually, Heirloom produces on average 15 rubber stamp festivals, from east coast to west coast, and in-between. You can see the entire list of shows by clicking here. They are two-day, weekend affairs, with workshops, make ‘n takes and demonstrations throughout both days. Many of the shows also have fee classes on the Friday immediately preceding the show, and an evening session of make ‘n takes on Friday night. The price is right too: $6 in advance for a two day pass, or $8 at the door on Saturday, for a two day pass. Sunday only is $6. You simply cannot beat this admission price!!

The view down one of the aisles of the Heirloom Show on Saturday.

At the West Springfield show, which is one of their largest, there were 43 exhibitors, and the attendance was expected to be over 22oo crafters!! I was there on Saturday, so the final attendance numbers were not yet known – but Sheila and Dave indicated that they always bring along more tickets than were used at past year’s show, and they had already sold them out and were into the extras.

Above: The ever-busy Stampland Booth.

Below: Darlene Domel, of Stampland, busily demonstrated her masterful
techniques of stamping, masking and stippling to create beautiful rubber art.


Most of the exhibitors at West Springfield return year after year, and not only to the Massachusetts show. Many also participate in shows across the country. The exhibitors in Springfield included nationally known brands such as Denami Design, Endless Creations, Marco’s Paper, and Stampland; smaller brands such as Stamp Zia (a favorite of mine!!), Impression Obsession, Invoke Arts, and Stampsmith. They also may include local stores, and even a booth for a direct marketing company such as Stampin’ Up! or Close-to-My-Heart. The exhibitors are listed in advance for each show; you can see the entire list of exhibitors at West Springfield here.

Above: Stampers eagerly awaiting the start of a Stampscapes make ‘n take session.

Below: a piece of lovely art representative of what can be created with Stampscapes stamps.


There is always a huge variety of merchandise for sale, as well. There are not only rubber stamps, but also embellishments galore, basic stamping supplies, tools, cardstock and decorative paper (of course!), brass stencils, embossing powder and glitter. And so on, and so on…. The majority of exhibitors have an extensive display of samples of artwork and are happy to allow crafters to take pictures for future inspiration. Below is an example of one, which inspired me to not only buy a few things, but to want to pull out all of my supplies as soon as I got home: it’s embossing using brass stencils and stencil paste.

Above: Sample board at Polly’s Pals, who carry the biggest selection of Dreamweaver brass stencils that I have ever seen in one place. The sample board shows all of the different effects you can get with stencil paste of various colors and finishes, with or without color, or glitter, or foil added on top. Below: The demonstration at Polly’s Pals booth. Tons of helpful hints and reminders on how to stencil with paste.


Do you know Sparkle and Sprinkle? Their specialty is embossing powder of every color in the rainbow, with and without added glitter. They were VERY popular.


Below is one of my favorite specialty shops: Vintage Charmings. The owner lives in France, and purchases all manner of vintage French ephemera and other ‘charming’ items for us to use in our crafting. And she makes a point of NOT purchasing anything in Paris, so the prices are very reasonable.

As I mentioned at the outset, Dave and Sheila Carlson of Heirloom Products very generously spent an hour with me on Saturday afternoon, sharing their experience in putting on these shows as well as LOTS of great stories! They are long-time friends with the owner, Pat Larson, and have been working with Heirloom for 7 years, producing the shows across the county. Sheila was originally a Stampin’ Up! addict, so rubber stamp festival management was a natural direction for her to go in. And Dave clearly loves people and loves to have a good time, so he is also a natural for this job.

In each city, they hire lots of local help: 2 people to help Heirloom, and another ~25 who are hired by individual vendors. These folks spend anywhere from a few hours to an entire day in exchange for modest wages and free admission to the show. When I asked what made an Heirloom show special, they thought for a moment and then said, unequivocally, that it is all about making people happy. And this certainly seems to be the case: between the exhibitors who return year after year, to the attendees who stop on their way out to share what it is they purchased, the Carlsons are achieving their goal!

Sheila and Dave Carlson of Heirloom Productions, who were celebrating their
wedding anniversary at the Rubber Stamp Festival on Saturday, June 5.

This year I was unable to get away for any of the fee classes offered on Friday. But I have been many times in past years, and have never been disappointed. In West Springfield, they have been 1-2 hours in duration each, with 6-8 total classes offered during the day, and sometimes into the evening. So you can really get your jollies crafting the entire weekend!

If you are within driving distance of any of the locales for an Heirloom show, you should go. You won’t be disappointed. And for readers of Craft Critique: a discount for the remaining shows in 2010!! Just contact the main Heirloom office at (541)-574-8000 (Pacific time) by JULY 31, 2010, tell them you are a Craft Critique reader, and you get a two-fer: two admission tickets for the price of one! Thanks, Heirloom!!

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