This is a cross post from Get Crafty.

Over the second weekend of June, I had the great fortune of attending the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn. After a very busy May getting ready for our 5th successful Indie Craft Experience in early June, a trip to New York to attend a craft market was a huge reward. This might sound strange but I have never attended an indie craft market before. I’ve always been a vendor or the actual organizer so this was the very first time I went to one as strictly an attendee. It felt extremely extravagant to just be there without any worries.

NYC June 2007

The market and the trip over all served as a huge inspiration to me as I was reminded – yet again – of the fiercely independent and oh-so-creative nature of this huge group of crafters we are a part of. And huge is a very important word here. I’ve had the opportunity to observe the Renegade Craft Fair over the last few years and it has been great to see it grow from one annual show to three and to expand in size as well. This summer boasted 200 booths containing about 300 crafters. It literally took me hours to see everything. Hours.

NYC June 2007

It’s almost overwhelming when you stop to think that here are 300 people who are creative and really putting their talent out in the open and making something big and exciting really happen. Wow, 300 crafters are involved in this independent movement.

But what about all the hundreds (thousands?) of crafter who weren’t even there? And just think in the course of six short weeks there have been four large indie craft markets. We had 100+ crafters at the Indie Craft Experience, Art vs. Craft had 100+ and Felt Club will have 70+ this weekend (go to Felt Club!). Of course, there is overlap of crafters. Some people have participated in more than one of these events, but because of geography and the expense of travel, a lot of these crafters only did one of these shows. That’s pretty amazing!

NYC June 2007

Visiting Renegade and being around so many crafters for the weekend was really inspiring. Here is just a quick snap shot of a few of the things that inspired me that weekend:

++ Etsy celebrated its two year anniversary. It is absolutely phenomenal how far Etsy has come in a really short period of time. Additionally, amazing is how much they are doing. If you think it’s just a website, you are oh-so-wrong. Start reading their blog!

++ I got to spend a lot of time with Faythe and it is really exciting to hear about the progress she’s made with Handmade Nation. It is going to be amazing, and you should continue supporting it. This film is a real grassroots effort and it needs grassroots support in order to finish it.

++ I’d always wanted to visit SODAFINE in Brooklyn and I finally got to during this trip. While I never saw the old location, the new one is adorable. It was great to talk to Erin (she’s so nice!). I could really hear her dedication and passion for her boutique and independent designers.

++ Adorn and Venus were totally representing! Both magazines had booths at Renegade. Isn’t it great to know that these two publications (along with Craft, Bust and others) support our community?

And then, of course, I was totally inspired by seeing so many great crafters with their new creations. It blows me away that people can come up with so many different ideas and that they actually execute them. Talking to people during this trip re-reminded me of how hard-working and determinedly independent crafters are.

It’s downright refreshing.

Christy Petterson is a writer, crafter, indie craft market organizer, co-editor of Get Crafty, p.r. specialist, avid coffee drinker, passionate lover of beer, roadie for her drummer-of-a-husband and all round nice person.

To see additional photos from my trip, click here.

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