The 9th Annual Renegade Craft Fair will once again take over Division Street in Wicker Park this Saturday and Sunday, displaying do-it-yourself crafts from more than 300 artists from across the country.
"It's kind of like the punk rock crafting event," Justin Rathell, production coordinator for the Renegade Craft Fair, said. "There are people who do stuff that's a little edgier. They will maybe take traditional crafting methods and put a different spin on it."
Renegade's bounty of unique, awesome art can be overwhelming, so we've highlighted ten artists to watch for at the fair. Their eclectic booths might just be selling that next conversation piece for your coffee table or apartment wall.
Circa Ceramics: A distinctly Chicago outfit, Circa Ceramics applies bold designs to painted mugs, bowls, spoons, tiles, plates, pendants and vases. Designs range from voodoo skulls and brains to turntables to a roller skates. A set of Circa Ceramics mixing bowls incorporates the Chicago flag while a spoon rest sports a cassette tape. The result is a functional aesthetic that can be appreciated by all genders. Sarah Spies, a staffer at Renegade, said "they sell stuff that appeals to dudes, too."
I Heart Guts: Sometimes, when you're having a crappy day, there's nothing better than crawling in bed and curling up with a smiling pink uterus. Or a purple gall bladder. Or a cushy green prostate gland, which I Heart Guts declares, winkingly, to be "a seminal work." Based in Washington D.C. and the brainchild of Wendy Bryan, I Heart Guts takes pretty much every organ and gland, sticks a smiley face on it and manages to turn them into adorable stuffed animals. Or T-shirts, if you prefer to wear your pancreas instead of hug it.
Aromaholic: Have you ever been out, sipping a cocktail so fragrant, you kind of wish you could smell like it? Well, with Aromaholic, not only your breath can smell like what you drink -- your skin can, too. Using oils to scent its soaps, Aromaholic specializes in soap bars inspired by the bar. Soap flavors include mojito, whiskey, gin and tonic, Bloody Mary and White Russian. Most soaps sell for $6.50 each, while a do-it-yourself deodorant kit (those smell more like witch hazel, lavender and geraniums), cost about $10.
tartella: Started by a pair of sisters, tartella aims to beautify your kitchen with its whimsical prints. The artists create tea towels made from cotton flour sacks that sport images of whisks, cupcakes and ice cream cones. The creative team also sells bags with grosgrain ribbon ties for carrying wine, as well as recipe cards and cotton napkins. The saying on one napkin, written in script, gives these perfect instructions for any kitchen: "eat. live. love. repeat."
Crosshair: A print and silkscreen specialist, Chicago-based Crosshair creates evocative posters and images depicting both rural and urban landscapes, like the backs of billboards, an open field with a solitary barn or an abandoned building at 415 N. Kedzie. Its silkscreen prints show a mix of industry, abandonment, water and decay and thrust viewers into a whirl of emotion.
UrbanPosture: Office products don't have to be bland and boring, not when UrbanPosture has made folders and binders to evoke ecology and art. UrbanPosture's calming, geometric designs depicting ships and tree stumps employ neutral backgrounds and evoke a zen-like feel. In addition to folders, binders, clocks and office products, UrbanPosture also creates T-shirts and tea towels.
Yellowsquarelove: When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he would have never imagined what yellowsquarelove would do with them. The Chicago-based artist takes light bulbs and mashes it with such objects as a vintage Fisher Price toy turtle, Kaffee Hag coffee tins, a portable record player and a chunk of brick to create some unimaginably imaginative lamps.
Overdue Industries: The slogan touted by New Jersey-based Overdue Industries is that "a good book has no ending," and these artists ensure it holds true. Overdue takes unwanted textbooks, children's books and just about any vintage castoff it can find and transforms them into journals and planners. Books recycled and remade by Overdue include "Man and Insects," "Le Langage de La France Moderne" and "How Pooh Got His Honey."
Pinecone & Chickadee: The husband-and-wife duo who started Pinecone & Chickadee, Amy Teh and Noah DeFillippis, are bringing their round-faced birds, bunnies and elephant designs to Renegade. The Maine-based Pinecone & Chickadee have cheerfully named stationery cards such as "Lady & Llama," Egg Nog & Rum" and the "Um, Hi Card." The pair also designs and sells T-shirts, posters tote bags and journals.
COATT: The gold and silver necklaces made by COATT give off a simple, sleek line, but contain messages as well. Composed of dashes and dots that spell out words in morse code, each piece of jewelry made by COATT is also an exclamation. Some say "lover." Others say "amore" and "lucky." There's even a necklace carrying that most iconic Morse code message: "S.O.S." COATT will also take personalized orders, with necklaces available in gold and silver fill, as well as 14-karat gold.
The Renegade Craft Fair runs from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sat.-Sun. on Division Street in Wicker Park between Damen and Paulina. Admission is free.