Sunday, September 25, 2011

Renegade Recap

For quite some time I have wanted to participate in the famous Renegade Craft Show. It is the craft show of craft shows after all. It's HUGE with 300 vendors and they host shows in Brooklyn, San Francisco, LA, Austin, London & Chicago. Renegade is based in Chicago and also has a brick and mortar shop in Chicago along Division St.

Several months ago I was super excited to get the news that I was accepted to the Chicago show! I planned on driving so that I could bring as much with me as possible and just a good old fashioned road trip with my Mom was in store.

I headed to Dallas, PA (my old stomping grounds) to spend a few days with friends and family before heading to Chicago. I was a little worried about being able to travel through Vermont and upstate NY because so many roads were washed out due to Irene. Luckily though, all roads were clear and I made the trip with my two buddies safe and sound.

Once I arrived in PA I was very surprised to see that the flooding had followed me. It was awful to hear again that so many people were in jeopardy of losing everything. This also proved to be an obstacle for us getting to Chicago. On Thursday before the show we hopped onto 80west for about an hour before the road was closed. I stopped at three different truck stops trying to find a different route to take to cross the Susquehanna. I kept getting responses like 'YA AINT GETTIN THERE FROM HERE' or 'YOU BETTER FIND A PLACE TO STAY QUICK'

AH! My family on lower ground was being evacuated and staying at my Mom's house. Evacuation deadlines moved up from 8pm to 4pm. It seemed like it was going to be serious business and for a minute we thought we should just turn around and go home. If waters receded we could drive through the night on Friday! or maybe make it in time for Saturday. It all seemed crazy. One fed-ex trucker suggested taking a crazy route that he STILL wasn't sure was passable and would have extended the trip from 11 hours to 19, nonetheless we had lost a few already driving to a road closure and turning around. I had to try. We headed to the turnpike and passed through a few areas that we thought the road would be closed. After a few hours, 81 WAS open through Harrisburg and that meant smooth sailin'!

After a VERY long drive, we made it to Chicago! What a lovely city. We had a free day to walk around and eat yummy food and relax. I'm sure there was much more that I hadn't checked out but my favorite neighborhood that I had been to was the one Renegade was held in, Wicker Park. The shopping on Milwaukee St. was great, too! Lots of cute vintage stores. Then it was back to the hotel to get some sleep before the big show!

I was the first of the staggered load in times, which was great because I am a bit finicky with moving things around 10 times until I get it right. It was SO EASY to load in. We rented a tent, so didn't have to bother with putting one up and we were able to pull the car right next to the tent. It may sound silly, but that can make such a difference.

I set up my (half) booth and met my awesome booth mate Tiyani of Tiselle. She made really lovely letterpress cards. One of the most exciting things about doing a show of this size was being able to see so much cool stuff in person! Lots of things I've gawked at on etsy and also people I hadn't seen in a while. I also got to meet several different shop owners of whom I sell in their shop! Here are some of the things I purchased while I did the rounds of shopping.
doily coasters by uncommon

this I bought for my boyfriend :)
Do the Dishes Tomorrow flour sack kitchen towel by letterform
this was a gift from my Mom!
Porcelain Egg Planters by EcoElements
and last but not least this lovely blizzard hat from YesJess
(mine is red but love this color too!)

All in all it was such a great time! If I do another Renegade I will most likely fly and that will be interesting to see how to come up with neat displays as I can't really bring most of that with me!