Did you leave town this weekend to avoid Carmageddon? Haha, sucker. Those of us not afraid of a little gridlock spent Saturday weaving through the sunny maze of booths at downtown's Renegade Craft Fair, the indie pop-up festival dedicated to all things DIY.
As I anticipated, the fest featured a preponderance of pastel polka-dot dresses, climbing ivy tattoos and side swept bangs. Not quite as expected was the surprising amount of hipster self-awareness, illustrated by Kyle Durrie's greeting cards above. (Check out more of Durrie's work here).
Says the designer, printmaker and three-year Renegade veteran, "I love bikes and mustaches in real life, but I'm sick of seeing them on bags." She worried the sentiment made her sound like a jerk, but we can't say it's not one we share.
Luckily, the reign of ironic facial hair appears to be fast on the decline. Instead, the weekend's highlights included a candle shaped like dog poo, t-shirts inspired by suicidal poets and waterproof gay Care Bear art for the shower. And if you spent Saturday and Sunday hiding out in Tahoe, don't worry. Links to some of the best things we spotted this weekend -- in no particular order -- after the jump.
Kokocandles founder Paoling Che bases her designs on things she's a fan of, like, "mac and cheese and cupcakes and traffic cones." She also makes a neat candle that looks like an espresso shot, but this one was our favorite by far.
9. Miles To Go
Miles to Go designer Greg Kerr's inspired literary tee-shirts hold a darkly goofy charm. The one on the left is based on the Bell Jar. "But I don't weep, do you?" reads the quote on the right. Know what that's from? Twenty-five bucks and the right answer gets you a new shirt.
8. Lemon Bird Handmade Jams
Amy and Brian Deaver make jams and cocktail syrups out of things people don't normally make jam and cocktail syrups out of. We tasted the cherry and star anise, pickled tomato with vanilla bean and pomelo with ginger and urfa biber. Jealous? They also traffic in lavender, blood oranges, kumquats and candied Meyer lemon. Buy them here as a wedding gift for someone you're trying to impress.
7. Le Petit Elefant
Longtime favorite Le Petit Elefant was on hand with her signature cards and designs, including this adorable audiophile elephant.
6. Paper & Type
Next door, these meticulously printed cards made us wish Paper & Type would teach us how to draw.
5. Black Forest Works
Renegade founder Sue Daly channels surplus creative energy into these perfect little birdhouses, which she designs and builds with her husband, Matt. Check out Black Forest Works for more.
4. Ryan Berkeley Illustrations
"This Panda reviews restaurants for his local weekly newspaper. He is known as the 'silent critic' because of his quiet eating and low-volume conversation," reads the insert attached to the back of the gentleman on the left. We loved it so much, we actually bought one. You can too, at Ryan Berkeley's Etsy store.
3. Happy Dogs
Oh hey, dog. Why are you so smiley?
2. Bows and Anchors
Is it because somebody bought you a bow-tie?!? For assorted handmade doggie formalwear and more, contact Bows and Anchors.
1. Ugly Baby
Rosalie Gale's waterproof shower art, modeled here handsomely by a friend of the designer, perfectly encapsulated our mental state by Sunday afternoon. After two days of good weather, food truck treats (Hello Dumpling Station) and no traffic, it was hard not to feel like dancing in a hail of rainbow glitter.
Later, we caught up with founder Sue Daly and got a list of her favorite L.A. Renegade crafters, including jewelry designer Upper Metal Class, Terri Planty , Love Jules Leather and embroidered vintage goods by Gold Fools. (Sorry for the lack of shiny objects on our own list. Fancy things make us feel sweaty.)
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Fed up with the "snobbery of the art fair world," former jewelry designer Daly founded Renegade in 2003, years before current giant of the DIY movement, Etsy, was even a thing. Looking for a place to sell her own stuff, she rallied a collective of artists selling their functional designs via the web and set up a pop-up festival in Chicago. Since then, Renegade has spread to Brooklyn, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin and, soon, London.
Daly was able to leave her job as a waitress to run the festival full time. She also designs birdhouses with her husband, graphic designer Matt Daly, whom she fell for after he designed posters for the fair's debut.
Her advice to crafters looking to quit their day jobs? "Have an online presence. Diversify and do events. Have a Twitter so people can see what new products you have available." Most importantly: "Only do it if you really have a passion for it."
Follow @LAWeeklyArts on Twitter.