Farmers Market Finds hit the road again and traveled to Washington, DC to attend the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair. This annual event takes place every fall. Not being familiar with the area, and driving with a car filled with my Maryland family, I decided to ask “Siri” for help. When I asked “Find me directions to the Crafty Bastards Arts and Craft Fair”, Siri replied , “Denise, watch your language!” And so began a fun filled day!
Finally coming upon the Union Market, we could see large tents and began to smell the scent of delicious food wafting through the air. My car and my empty stomach had arrived! I fueled up on a delicious lobster roll from the Red Hook Lobster Truck and then set out in search of unique finds, dragging the family along with me.
In its 12th year the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair hosts over 150 exhibitors, selling handmade goods from independent artists from all over the country. More of an Indie craft event, you won’t find mass produced or imported goods here. What you will find are some seriously talented, jury-selected vendors to ensure the most unique home goods, punk rock baby clothes, underground art, G-to-R rated pottery, jewelry, plush toys, original art, and more!
It is a good thing I have a pretty fabulous sense of humor because one of the first vendors I gravitated to was My Only Regret (Besides Dying). The name piqued my curiosity and I was instantly drawn to the coffee cups in their “Dirty Dishes” collection. Aside from my great sense of humor and hatred for dirty dishes, I pride myself as a coffee connoisseur! Not to be disappointed, I couldn’t help but laugh at the delightfully whimsical and somewhat obscene pictures on these ceramic mugs. I quickly snatched up a “hoo hah” mug, symbolic of my cat who enjoys showing me hers when I’m working in my home office!
As I went on my way, I came across Metamorphis Metals, a jewelry designer from Raleigh, NC, whom I have been following on Facebook. I was so excited to see her designs and was really impressed with her Circus necklace.
In the crowd I saw a few little “monsters” moving about and quickly found Cutesy But Not Cutesy, a vendor selling stuffed monster toys and sweatshirts with unicorn and monster hoods for the young and young at heart as all are available in children’s and adult sizes. Now I know where monsters come from!
Next stop was Le Puppet Regime, which sells moveable glass sculptures created by animator, illustrator and glass artist Genevieve Geer. These hand painted showgirls, royalty, warriors, and strongmen come to life with a combination of traditional stained glass techniques, fusing techniques and a lot of tricky engineering to enable articulation. From themes like freak shows, circus, and childhood fairy tales these characters inhabit a work of light and shadow where “You never know who’s pulling the strings.” Very interesting!
Because I don’t have enough purses (that’s what he said!), I checked out Shara Porter Designs. These hand printed genuine leather and vegan accessories were soft like a baby’s bottom. The craftsmanship was incredible and the cute printed designs of dogs, wolves, bunnies, and even hedgehogs to ensure a perfect match for any shopper.
Did I mention earlier that included in my Maryland family is my 13-year-old niece? Well, Shannon was at the point where she had just about had it with the “Aunt Denise” shopping,so I decided to bring her over to Jordan Elise-Horrible Adorables. Her eyes lit up! This collection of handmade, quirky, faux-taxidermy creatures were the highlight of her day!
Shannon then turned to me and said, “Hey look! They have Girl Scout stuff!” So off to Snarky Scouts we went. Not your ordinary Girl Scout fare, they offer a line of super cute, vintage merit badges with new, ironic meanings. It’s all fun and games until a 13-year-old asks “Why would you get a merit badge in twerking?” So I figured I would leave that conversation up to my sister to explain. On the other hand, my brother-in-law appreciated the merit badge in “Paddle-less Navigation of SHIT CREEK.”
In an effort to keep the family in line and trying to keep it classy, we all headed over to the Switchwood. All about keeping it classy, these men embodied a classic American innovation and created the most distinct and elegant wooden bowtie designs. Their bowties are magnetic and interchangeable so you can design your own. These guys are on to something!
Another talented fashion genius was Forest and Fin. Trying to be fashionable while wearing a skirt and riding a bike is a dangerous mix. You risk getting fabric caught up in tires and chains, or worse…the dreaded fly-ups that will get you a ticket for indecent exposure. Forest and Fin figured it out with the “Bicycle Wrap Skirt”, a classic, functional design that can be worn to work or a party. These skirts have hidden pockets for your valuables and secure straps and hidden fasteners for your bicycle riding safety.
Keeping with the bike theme, we were impressed with the bicycle clocks by 1.by.liz. These clocks are made from bicycle gears, reclaimed textiles, fabric, and topographic maps! Check them out for custom orders too.
Did you know Ninjas have issues? And Sharks enjoy Sock Monkeys, but Sock Monkeys hate kittens? They do! It’s all true! If you doubt me, just ask Greg Stones, author/illustrator of these funny original paintings.
At the risk of this post becoming a novel, I will wrap it up. All’s well that ends well…with chocolate from Charm School Chocolate. I took mine to go so I could enjoy some handcrafted sweetness during our monument tour which was next on our schedule for the day. I hid my chocolate from my other half (also a chocolate lover), content in knowing that Abe Lincoln wasn’t going to ask me to share. I do wish they would modify his monument to add one of those ties by Switchwood. Everyone knows he was a bow tie fan. It’s just a no brainer if you ask me!
So if you are looking for an excuse to head to DC, I encourage you to put Crafty Bastards Arts & Craft Fair on your 2016 calendar. Just don’t ask Siri to do it. I guarantee she will not remind you!