It’s been a while since I first posted about this summer’s Craftsplosion™. I’m going to cram a few craft fairs together here instead of trying to write about each individually.
The most hipster of craft fairs we’ve been to took place at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on Free Comic Book Day, which took some planning. I went to the comic book store early to grab my goodies, thank goodness. Our original plan was for me to hit the store nearby the fairgrounds, but when we drove by the line was around the building!
The craft fair itself was not nearly so packed. They had generous aisles so there was no constant bumping into people or having to elbow your way through the crowd, which was super nice. If I had to unfairly characterize this particular event, I’d say it was the most hipster of the fairs we’ve been to – not just the patrons, but the booths as well. Lots of kitsch – 8-bit cross stitch characters, cat calendars, Doctor Who shirts. And I’m a sucker for all of it. I got Becky a cross stitched picture of Tina from Bob’s Burgers for her desk at work. I got myself an insulated lunch bag for work with a Doctor Who reference. Becky got a cat calendar as a gift for a friend.
There were also several regular craft booths that seemed out of place here. Pottery, candles, and more – people with good talents that don’t rely on pop culture references. All in all, a good mix.
We also caught up with an artist Becky’s been stalking for years since we saw her stuff at Art-A-Whirl. She does mini minimalist graphic designs of landmarks – mostly Minnesota. Becky’s been wanting to start a collection, and we did with her first piece – a pic of where we got married.
Becky here. I wouldn’t use the word “stalking,” Mr. Hagen.
Yes, you did. With the person. You said “I’ve been stalking you.”
Ok, so here’s the real story. Four years ago, on a hot, May day. Joel and I went to our first Art-A-Whirl. We were broke. Really really broke. And so I fell in love with all of the pictures that RedShoes26‘s Christy Johnson designs. At that time she was only doing Minnesota landmarks in frames as well as cards on Etsy. But we couldn’t afford it. So I signed up for her newsletter. I knew one day we would have enough money to be able to purchase our collection of these amazing minimalist designs. I looked forward to receiving her newsletter in my inbox as most people look forward to having emails that aren’t junk or directions. Her emails reminded me about how hard work and positivity can attract such amazing things into one’s life. She’s never been at a craft fair that we went to in the last four years because we went to so few. When I saw she would be there in the vendor list, I was excited because I knew we had the money to buy one, and I knew exactly which one we were going to buy – the Landmark.
David Foster Wallace has a quote “You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.” This quote has gotten me through a lot. Cause I am a ridiculous person. But on the other hand, Christy Johnson had no idea I was using her newsletters as inspiration to keep going. To keep working hard. To keep developing art. And so I told her, and she got a look on her face, as anyone would, after they’ve been stalked for four years. Yes, Stalked. Mr. Hagen, you are correct. But her little piece of art is an inspiration every time I look at it. It’s an inspiration that Joel and I can get through the tough times. And that we’ll be able to buy more pieces as the summer goes along.
Let it be known, Becky said I was right!
Funny enough, we stopped at Baker’s Ribs on the way home, and saw a few more pieces of her work on the wall there!
The second craft fair was the Hopkins Mainstreet Day on May 21. This was the closest fair we’ve been to that compares with the feel of the typical street fair that Fargo puts on every year.
Booths lined the sidewalk on either side of the street, with food vendors, some crafts, but about half of it was regular businesses that were using the street fair as another way to get customers. A shingle company hung a shingle to sell shingles – that sort of thing. There were about two chiropractors per block giving free assessments (and I can guess how many assessments ended with “you should be seen”). It was nice to be able to say “we rent” to any booth that wanted us to look at a bathtub or landscaping example.
AND PAN FLUTES!
This was the fair to go to if you want bedazzled boots, kitchen aprons with beer patterns, or to see a dog in a tutu. Becky got a few items of jewelry, a present for her father, and we enjoyed our first street fair lemonade of the season, but beyond that, I don’t think Becky will be able to get me to come out for this one again.
So, score one for Craftstravaganza, and a loss for Hopkins.
On June 19, both of us under the weather, we drove over to the St. Paul Fairgrounds again to check out Cruise-N-Art Craft Fair, Part of the Minnesota Street Rod Association “Back to the 50’s” event. Their description: “Local and outstate Artists and Crafters offer a variety of their original, beautiful, whimsical, classic, and must have items.” We got up early on a Sunday morning. Called Becky’s dad for a happy father’s day call, then got in the car. 20 minutes later, we were circling the Fairgrounds. And kept on circling. We didn’t feel like parking a mile away from our destination. We tried all the side streets near the actual building we were going to (keep in mind this event takes over most of the fairgrounds). But to no avail. There was no parking to be found within a mile of the place. Both being sickly, we called it a loss and headed back home. Oh well.