Monday, June 4, 2012

Camp Crafty Mart at Musica

A Look Inside Camp Crafty Mart at Musica
by Brit Charek

If you've never been to a Crafty Mart event, you absolutely must put it on your Akron bucket list. It's not your traditional craft show: between the unique vendors, the terrific food available in house at Urban Eats and the DJs spinning upbeat music all day, it's a great way to spend a few hours on a Saturday supporting the locals in Akron.

Urban Eats, who provided awesome food throughout the event, will be hosting an Urban Luau and Reggae Party this Friday night June 8

On Saturday, Musica was filled with over forty vendors with so many unique items, from Klink Creatively's brightly colored animal planters (I must admit I bought two!) to Akronology's "Akroncentric" pillows and cards to Akron Empire's own Joanna Wilson's hand-embroidered and somewhat scandalous greeting cards. A number of items at the show were made from upcycled or repurposed materials and 100% of them were made locally, by hand.

New to Crafty Mart, Clink Creatively's Dino planters were a big hit!

 Pat Gerber of the Robot Consortium poses with Akron Empire's own Joanna Wilson.

The first Crafty Mart I ever attended was in 2010 and my mind was blown with the quality and uniqueness of vendors, the amount of traffic and the generally fun atmosphere. As a recent transplant to Akron and a crafter myself who had worked all different types of craft shows and even organized some, I had to know the secret to their success. I may have ended up with a little more than I bargained for-- last winter organizer Juniper Sage asked if I'd be interested in taking over the event. And so my journey behind the scenes at Crafty Mart began.

The one thing that really struck me about what makes Crafty Mart different from other shows I've been a part of (besides how diligent and detailed the organizers are) is that everyone involved-- from the organizers to the DJs to the graphic designer and everyone else who showed up the day of to help out-- was a volunteer, which means that they were there because they wanted to be, not because they were being paid. That's how Crafty Mart can get by on a shoestring budget and keep their fees for vendors low, which gives newcomers a low-risk way to showcase their work, keeping each Crafty Mart event new and fresh. But don't worry-- the old standbys are there too. Some artists, like Roza Haidet of Rusty Chain Jewelry who has become famous for her handmade Ohio and blimp-shaped brass and copper necklaces, has worked every Crafty Mart event since its inception in 2009.

If you missed out on Camp Crafty Mart at Musica this weekend, don't despair! It is a bi-annual event that will be back in time to do all your holiday shopping this fall. To find out more information, visit their website, or join their group on Facebook.

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