Last Saturday Hubby and I visited the Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show in nearby Upper Arlington (sadly, I’m only getting to it now because it has been a hectic week!). For one thing, I was scoping out its potential as a venue for selling my own photography, but really, I really enjoy such shows; you never know what you might find! Besides, it’s never too early to begin Christmas shopping. 😉
At any rate, I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the great vendors we particularly liked. There were many there, and I must say—the hall where the show was held was JAMMED with cheerful shoppers. Now, once upon a time I’d take a few pictures of the artisans and their work to share, but alas, sellers are getting a bit nervous about that these days, and I don’t want to unnerve anyone.
There’s a decent chance I’m going to forget a couple, but regardless, I hope you too find work you like from one of these fellow Columbus-area artisans!
First of all, Hubby bought a really nice new belt—handcrafted with bison leather! It’s made by Brandon Ault of Old Salts Leatherworks. Not only is the belt handsome, Old Salts Leatherworks has a fab logo, at least to the eyes of this granddaughter of a Navy man. There’s not a whole lot in the shop at the moment, but he had a great deal of stock on hand including, if I recall correctly, dog leashes!
Since the offerings of Daisy Mae Designs all incorporate maps, it should come as no surprise that this road-tripping dame loved everything on the Daisy Mae table. From cufflinks and decorative plates—perfect for the guestroom or entry table—to hair pins and bracelets, she has it all, and it was very hard to walk away not having bought half the things on the table. (No doubt Kristy would not have minded my doing that, but there are groceries to buy.)
We were particularly and disturbingly enamoured of her wine stoppers and bottle openers; few things are more relaxing after a fun but long day shooting on the road than sitting outside of our motor court motel room’s door and having a nice glass or two *ahem ahem* of wine, and, if we’re lucky, sharing one with the motel owner. Could it be done any more stylishly and fittingly than with a Daisy Mae opener and stopper? I think not! They’re definitely on my wish list, and since Kristy does custom work, I’ve no doubt but that she’d happily make a few featuring our favourite Route 66 and Lincoln Highway towns. Really, the possibilities for custom work are nearly endless—hmmm, perhaps a plate with the location of our first home together? What would you find irresistible?
By the way, if you’re not quite the road warrior I am, some of Kristy’s items feature clips from old dictionaries, postcards, and even—I love this—a butcher’s guide to that giver of the candy of meat, the pig. And if you’re shopping for any of the gentlemen in your life, she’s oodles of great cufflinks!
Koko Kreepies was tucked into a back corner, but they had SO many fun things available they were not ignored. Don’t want to go with the standard pony on a stick for your favourite crumb-cruncher to ride around the house on? Why not a dragon or monster on a stick? Oh, they were just too fun.
There were also some hilarious plushies—fittingly, little creepy-looking critters, tiny little monsters like these guys. There was some fun embroidery art, too, though unfortunately I didn’t see these black cats. Koko Kreepies have actually put a few photos of Saturday’s Avant-Garde booth up on their website for your perusal.
I can’t explain my affection for the Kreepy plushies, as I’m not really into plushies, but…I loved them and had a great time looking at them. Perhaps it’s the imagination and sense of fun that went into them that appeals to me? I nearly bought one for baby-to-be, but have a feeling my sister would disapprove. Therefore, my girlfriends really need to have a baby or two soon so I can buy these for THEM. 😉
Hubby and I both really enjoyed the torn paper collage artwork of Judi Young. In fact, I liked a couple of pieces so much that while waiting for Hubby to bring the car around (we’d parked on the wrong side of the church, and it was a long, teeth-chatteringly frigid half-block walk to the correct door) I nearly popped back in to buy them! Really, I should have. Judi’s fanciful, beguiling collages are full of joy and almost seem to wink at you. They’re not what I usually go for, but looking at her work it’s so easy to see the joy and good cheer that goes into them.
She began creating the pieces for her daughter’s nursery after (of course—how often this happens to many of us!) deciding she wanted something different. Her friends encouraged her to continue making the collage art, which is created on canvases, and now she is a well-established artist. It looks like she’s recently begun offering greeting cards, too, if you want smaller pieces. If you want to see true whimsy, Judi’s Whoopdeedoodle has it by the wheelbarrowful!
Finally, on our way out the door, I found myself boomeranging back around to get a closer look at lovely handmade bags and a plush owl (again with the plushies! Could it be the winter?) with no slight resemblance to The Doctor. They were both from Dainty Bean, and it really was one of the prettiest booths at the show—pastel like candy and girly and full of cute. There were darling dresses for little girls, lovely pillows with just the right amount of embellishment, buntings, clutches, and plenty of owl goodies; I know owls are no longer the hot commodity they were even last year, but I’ve always liked them and was thus happy to see more.
What especially surprised me was learning that the lovely bags were, in several cases, actually diaper bags! They’re quite comely indeed for such a utilitarian item—sleek, even, compared to the often-bulky ones we see. No doubt many a new mom (or new dad, providing the fabric print wasn’t too frilly!) would be very happy to receive one of Dainty Bean’s diaper bags. Moreover, I can see myself using one as a photo shoot bag—they’re big enough to toss my notebook, extra memory cards, and other accessories into before wandering off.
The teeny-tiny baby Mary Janes were adorable, too—not only cozy, but the perfect thing to top off an outfit for a portrait and best of all, a delightful beginning to a long life of careful accessorizing.
I was also charmed by the work of Tweedle Swamp Pottery. Clearly inspired by nature, they offered truly charming birdhouses and plates with graceful leaf imprints along the edges—so very lovely. They’ve no website, unfortunately, but you can see some of their work in this Avant-Garde show blog post; there’s a photo of one of their birdhouses here.
I also wanted to note how much I like the way the show itself seems to be run. The website is easy to navigate, and I particularly appreciate the fact that there’s a dedicated blog for each regional Avant-Garde Show; prior to each show, the organizers begin to add posts highlighting the vendors who will be there. Thus not only do you know what will be there, you get a feeling for the work that goes into creating all of the wonderful things you’re about to see. What a wonderful way to treat the vendors while giving them a bit of a boost! I think the only thing Avant-Garde could do to improve upon this is link to the vendor’s online shop and/or blog within the post—fellow sellers know, I’m sure, all about the vital importance of SEO and how helpfully powerful such a simple link can be.
Well, those are a few of my favourite sellers from the Columbus Avant-Garde show; I’m looking forward to the next and should probably learn what’s required to take part, though I’ve no display to speak of yet (still saving up to replace my broken lens!). Nothing a little creativity and elbow grease can’t help, though.
Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this miniature visit yourself and perhaps even found a few new independent business owners to support! Remember, they’re all small business owners—and while their goods might cost a bit more than things at the store, they’re handmade with love, not mass-produced.