The Renegade Craft Fair

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The Renegade Craft Fair
Founders Susie Daly
Headquarters Chicago, IL
Number of locations Chicago, IL / Brooklyn, NY / San Francisco, CA / Los Angeles, CA / Austin, TX / London, UK / Portland, OR
The original Renegade Craft Fair poster by Mat Daly.

The Renegade Craft Fair is a curated indie craft marketplace event showcasing the handmade work and wares of independent makers, artists, and designers.[1] Vendors appearing in the fair come from an indie-craft background or Do It Yourself (DIY) culture.[2] The Renegade Craft Fair was founded in 2003, and held its first event in Wicker Park (Chicago park), IL.[3] Today, Renegade Craft Fair events are held annually in six cities; Chicago (IL), New York City (NY), Los Angeles (CA), San Francisco (CA), Austin (TX), London (UK), and Portland (OR).

History and concept[edit]

Beginning in 2003 in Chicago, IL, the first Renegade Craft Fair was held in Wicker Park (Chicago park). The event was co-founded by makers Susie Daly and Kathleen Habbley as an opportunity for emerging makers of affordable handmade goods to showcase and sell their work directly in a marketplace setting.[4] The concept for The Renegade Craft Fair sparked for festival organizers upon their realization that no other art and craft festival in Chicago at the time adequately represented (in scope and scale) the creativity of the burgeoning indie-craft movement gaining momentum on various websites and online stores.[5][6]

Contrary to traditional craft fairs, The Renegade Craft Fair features contemporary handmade items of all kinds: clothing, jewelry, artwork, screenprint poster art, artist prints & editions, small collectibles, zines, DIY craftkits, papergoods, textile goods, housewares, knits, plush items, ceramics, bath & body products, and more.[7]

The Renegade Craft Fair grew in popularity as consumer interest in handmade goods has also increased – evidenced by the growing success of online sites like Etsy and Big Cartel, where many Renegade Craft Fair vendors keep online stores, and art, craft + design blogs.[8]

In 2014, Renegade Craft Fair announced a new addition to their bi-annual craft fairs, introducing The Mini Market. The Mini Markets would be condensed one-off events offering up local goods and other festivities. The new Mini Market series would provide more opportunities to bring handmade crafts to the public in addition to exploring gateways into new cities. The first Mini Market was held in Brooklyn on May 18th, 2014 and two more Mini Markets are scheduled for June in Chicago, and August in Portland.

Detailed history, timeline and locations[edit]

Chicago, IL

The first Renegade Craft Fair was held in September 2003 in Chicago’s Wicker Park and featured 75 vendor booths. Each consecutive year saw an increase in attendance and vendor-booths alike, as well as media attention in local publications like The Chicago Reader.[9] Businesses associated with DIY culture (ReadyMade Magazine, Venus Zine) also began taking an interest in the events, providing sponsorship and promotional support.

Handmade wares at the 2012 Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco

In 2006, in addition to an annual summertime Fair, the first Renegade Craft Fair Winter Market was held at the Pulaski Park (Chicago) Fieldhouse.

In July 2007, Daly and Habbley opened a brick and mortar storefront, Renegade Handmade, on Division Street in the Wicker Park, Chicago neighborhood, featuring the handmade work of several of the craftspeople appearing in the Fair.[10] The shop officially closed on January 31, 2012.

In September 2007, The Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago began to occur along Division St. on an expanse of the road just outside the Renegade Handmade storefront. Also in 2007, Habbley left the Renegade Craft Fair & Renegade Handmade companies.

2012 marked the 10th anniversary of the Chicago Renegade Craft Fair, and that year, the fair boasted the largest number of vendors to date (370 vendors and 300 vendor booths).

The first Chicago Mini Market will occur on June 21-22, 2014 and will be held outdoors at 2233 S. Throop St. in collaboration with Version Fest. .

The 2012 Renegade Craft Fair Winter Market in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn, NY
The first Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn, NY, occurred in June 2005 along the softball field area of McCarren Park and featured over 125 vendor booths. In 2007, the Fair moved to occur in the McCarren Park Pool, which by that time had begun to be used by a number of organizations as a neighborhood event space.[11]

In December 2009, construction began on the total renovation of the Pool. That same year, The Renegade Craft Fair once again moved locations into the Park. The 2009 Brooklyn Renegade Craft Fair featured an expanded line-up of over 250 vendor booths and occurred around the track & field area, stretching across N. Driggs Avenue and around the eastside of the softball field towards the corner of N. 12th Street and Bedford Avenue.[12] The Fair was again held in this same area of the park in 2010, and returned there in June 2011. In 2012, the Brooklyn Fair relocated to the East River State Park.

In 2012, in addition to an annual summertime Fair, the first Renegade Craft Fair Winter Market was held at the East River State Park. In November 2013, the fair was held at The Skylight One Hanson.

On May 18th, 2014, Renegade Craft Fair hosted the first Brooklyn Mini Market at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar event space.

The 2012 Renegade Craft Fair in Los Angeles

San Francisco, CA
The Renegade Craft Fair made its first West Coast trip to San Francisco in July 2008, holding their first ever event at the historic Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion.[13] In 2009, in addition to their second summertime Fair there, the first Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market in San Francisco was held at smaller-in-size Herbst Pavilion of the Fort Mason Center.[14]

December 21 and 22 of 2013 marked the final edition of Renegade Craft Fair's Winter Market at the Concourse Exhibition Center, which is scheduled for demolition in 2014.[15] Renegade Craft Fair's summer and winter events will continue to take place at the Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion.

Los Angeles, CA
In 2009, The Renegade Craft Fair added Los Angeles to their summer schedule, holding the event in July on the 13th floor of the California Market Center in the Fashion District, Los Angeles, California.[16]

Returning in 2010, The Renegade Craft Fair held their second Los Angeles event outdoors at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, and held the first Winter Market there in December 2010. Both summer and winter fairs continue to take place in the park.

In 2014, The Renegade Craft Fair moved their Los Angeles event to the new Grand Park in Downtown LA. The first event at Grand Park will take place on July 26-27, 2014.

A hands-on workshop at the 2012 Renegade Craft Fair in London.

Austin, TX
The first Renegade Craft Fair in Austin occurred in May 2010 at the Palmer Events Center. The Fair had its first Winter Market in Austin in November 2011 and continues to hold two fairs there per year.

London, UK
In October 2011, the Renegade Craft Fair went international with the first-ever London Renegade Craft Fair, held in The Old Truman Brewery. The Fair was held there again in 2012 and 2013, with plans to return in December 2014.

Portland, OR
The first Renegade Craft Fair Mini Market in Portland will occur in August 2014 and will be held outdoors at SE 6th St., between SE Salmon St. and SE Taylor St. This will also be the first market to launch in Portland, with the hopes to add additional flagship markets in the future.

The Renegade Owl[edit]

The owl has been the mascot for The Renegade Craft Fair since its inception, inspired by a vintage, burlap tapestry Daly had purchased from a thrift store shortly before working on the first Fair in 2003. Daly approached her now husband, artist Mat Daly (the two were married in 2007), to produce a limited edition silkscreen poster for the first event and the tradition has stuck ever since, with Mat producing one unique design for a limited edition poster on the occasion of each Renegade Craft Fair.

On the occasion of the 10th annual Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago, Daly re-issued a limited edition of the first poster design.


  1. ^ Renegade Craft Fair, About Page
  2. ^ Ryzik, Melena (2007-06-24). "Where the Crafts Babes and DIY Dudes Are". New York Times.
  3. ^ Ford, Anne (2003-9-19). "Group Efforts: A Crafty Crowd Invades Wicker Park". The Chicago Reader.
  4. ^ Ford, Anne (2003-9-19). "Group Efforts: A Crafty Crowd Invades Wicker Park". The Chicago Reader.
  5. ^ Renegade Craft Fair About Page
  6. ^ Ford, Anne (2003-9-19). "Group Efforts: A Crafty Crowd Invades Wicker Park". The Chicago Reader.
  7. ^ Koplos, Janet (2009-6-8). Letter from the Editor: The Past in the Present. American Craft Magazine
  8. ^ Walker, Rob (2007-12-16). "Handmade 2.0". New York Times
  9. ^ "Group Efforts: A Crafty Crowd Invades Wicker Park" The Chicago Reader.
  10. ^ Daily Candy: Chicago Edition (2007-8-1). "The Craft, Renegade Handmade Opens"
  11. ^ Drake, Monica (2008-06-12). "Renegade Craft Fair". New York Times
  12. ^ Goode, Kristen (2009-6-3). "Renegade Craft Fair Hits Williamsburg".
  13. ^ Kahn, Jeannine (2008-07-14) "Sunday Photos: Renegade Craft Fair at Fort Mason". SFWeekly
  14. ^ James, Evans (2009-07-09) "Westward the Course of Handicrafts Takes Its Way". SFWeekly
  15. ^
  16. ^ Keeps, David A. (2009-07-09) "Renegade Craft Fair sets up shop in LA this weekend" Los Angeles Times

External links[edit]