4 Reasons why Renegade Craft Fair is a great holiday show

Every Christmas season, Chicago’s greatest hipster crafters get together and sell their ironic, cool, stylish wares. Here’s a few reasons why Renegade puts on a great holiday show.

1. Great location

The Pulaski Park Fieldhouse is worth the trip alone. Both the first and second floor is open, allowing you to explore around the building.

2. Lots of vendors

The place was packed with vendors. Three rooms on the first floor. Three rooms on the second floor.

3. Packed with people

Ok, so at first it was a little frustrating having the main room being so crowded, you couldn’t look at the vendors’ stuff. But the rest of the rooms were a little more light. Actually, maybe it got a little more light on the crowds as I was there. I got there at about 3pm, and left about 5:15pm. So maybe a better time in the future would be to go at like 4pm. But still, it’s so much fun when there’s a bunch of people there. That’s part of the fun seeing who’s there and shopping. Seeing people’s reactions.

4. Good wares

Normally I don’t buy much at shows. I love to shop and I tend to be kinda frugal and shop around. But this year I bought three prints! I couldn’t believe it. Normally when I see artwork, I just think, “oh i can make that at home. I’m not gonna bother buying it.”

But I just fell in love with Clinton Portis’ art prints (I bought all three). The textures and the drawing are taken to another level. I was very happy to only support this artist, and to also have his work to hang up as inspiration for my own work.

Hmmm, overall… I’ve been going to renegade every year since 2004 (yes! i’m bragging. haha!) and you’ll find the typical stuff–screenprinted band posters, felt plush, ironic greeting cards, baby bibs with cartoon characters, etc. Which are all good. I like all those things. But it would be nice to see a little more variety.

However, there was one husband-wife artist team who did some interesting conceptualesque sort of work. Here’s a couple neat examples from Sarah Belknap and Joseph Belknap’s etsy shop: big forest painting (pattern) and glacier tree magnet. They were selling these mini cinder blocks made from wax. They were calling them Joseph Beuys blocks. And they were selling them for one dollar each! ONE BUCK!

So that’s why the Renegade was cool.

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14 years ago

Glad Renegade Holiday Fair is so popular. Sounds like a ho-ho-whole lotta fun. I usually go to the Renegade Craft Fair on Division in the summer.

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