Maker Spotlight: Settle Ceramics

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOur Austin Fair kicks off today and we can’t wait to Shop Small from over 175 independent makers. One we are particularly excited about is Settle Ceramics! We’ve been following Samantha Heligman on Instagram and absolutely love her process pics showcasing her work.

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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

Ive been working in clay for over 8 years. I have moved several states since the beginning of my career, but have finally found a place to call home in Austin. With that in mind, my work has also evolved from items that were more erratic and all over the place to a cool and cohesive collection. The name Settle came from my love of nesting. When I moved into my current apartment I realized how quickly I like making a space my own. Settling into a grove and feeling comfortable in my surroundings. Settle has just been an extension of my love of homesteading.

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Have you always been passionate about design? When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

I wasn’t always a potter. I started my career in the arts by attending Savannah College of Art and Design with every intention of being the next Richard Avedon, photographing the rich and famous in strange and beautiful settings. Well, don’t get me wrong I love photography, but then I got swept up in the Fine Arts and decided to be a painter. Finally when I had a free elective I decide to let the inner child who always wanted to play on the potters wheel come out, and I haven’t looked back. Since that first class 8 years ago I grown leaps and bounds. I have a firm grasp of where I would like my work to go in the coming years. Its very exciting to design items from start to finish and then see the happiness they bring.

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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?

I have a strong love of cooking. It shows in my designs. I make work that I like using in my kitchen and on my table. Each design has been tweaked and tested to be practical and useful. This dedication has come to be my strength when I want to be set apart from the pack.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

I would never say that I’ve failed, I would say that its all part of the journey. Failure implies that you haven’t gotten anywhere, but look where I am now! Ive learned that the most important factor to making your dreams come true, is to just keep going. This year has been a whirl wind. I have opened my own art collective with two great friends, I have set up my own studio and found and supplied myself with all the tools I need. Its only possible because I decided not to give up when the going was tough.

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Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

I have no regrets.

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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

My most thrilling moment has only recently happened! I was feature on a local new Network Studio 512 TV by my amazing stockest Kettle & Brine. It made me feel like all my hard work is paying off.

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How does the city you live in influence your work? 

Austin is very food centric. I makes it easy to find inspiration what with all the tasty dishes being created. Every meal needs a vessel to rest in! Austin is also very maker friendly. most people here seem to go out of  their way to shop local and handmade.

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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

Honestly this whole process has been learn as you go for me. I had some great lessons in college about selling work. I have also learned much from my fellow makers I have come to know and love. The biggest lesson I have learned is to ask questions. If you don’t know ask. most of the time if the person your learning from truly care they will answer.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

I have been really into simplicity as of late. Trimming the fat if you will. I love looking to different artists in different cultures and seeing how they remedy their table needs. My current line has been influenced a lot by the simple designs of Asia. Letting the form shine through.
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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

Just keep going. The net only shows up after you jump.

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We are so in love! Don’t forget to pick up some holiday gifts this weekend at our Austin Fair. In the meantime, find Settle Ceramics online here:

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Website

Maker Spotlight: Nåde

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It’s very easy to be thankful for so much when one is inspired on a daily basis by folks all are carving a place in the world for their work. Maggie Pate of the newly branded Nåde (formerly Inks + Thread) is one of those artists not easy to forget. In fact, upon stumbling on one of her dress designs on Pinterest ages ago, I was immediately obsessed with her work. So, you can imagine how much joy it brings me that she will be at our Austin Holiday Fair in person this weekend.

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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

I started my career as a print-designer with hand painted silk. The name inks + thread stemmed from those basic elements needed to create.

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Have you always been passionate about design?

Seems like I have always been doing some kind of design whether it be painting, crafting or making.

When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

After moving from NYC to Tennessee, I realized there was something missing in my life. Everything had slowed down but I was still feeling as anxious and stressed as I did in NYC. It was then that I decided to start designing again. Immediately I felt like I had direction and more energy again.

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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?

Most slow fashion brands use stock fabric but my designs start with the fabric. I don’t use stock fabric – so the print and hues are just as unique as the cut and silhouette of the garment.

Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

I tend to like to jump ahead – getting overwhelmed with where I’d like the brand to be rather than just being ok with where it is. When that happens stress and anxiety set in and I start to make impulsive decisions. The best insight I have to counter those emotions is to not compare your chapter 7 to another’s chapter 37.

Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

I sacrifice everyday. Sleep, social gatherings, vacations. Plus I don’t have investors so I have to save and fund everything myself.

What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

Being asked to make prints for established brands has made me really proud. The fact that my tiny label is on their radar is mind-blowing!

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

My clothing line is much more colorful than I would have expected it to be – since I am a neutral type of gal. But I can only assume that that is because I live the mountains of Tennessee which are always bursting with colors year round.

What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

Luckily, I worked in the fashion industry for years so I know a lot of the ins and outs. Timelines and resources are big and I already had a general idea of those expectations.

What are some inspirations for your work?

Texture and hues always inspire me most.

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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

Don’t limit yourself and your work. My business has taken turns I didn’t expect it to – which has only made my work more rewarding.

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Such gorgeous colors, textures, and prints! If you’re just as excited for Nade to be in Austin this weekend for Shop Small Saturday, well you won’t want to miss checking out all of Maggie’s work online here:

Website

Instagram: @maggie_pate | @nadestudio

Maker Spotlight: Kristi b Studios

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This week got a lot prettier after checking out Kristi b Studios. These wall hangings and antler pieces are headed to our Austin Holiday Fair this weekend. Talk about the perfect natural piece to make your home extra special for the holidays.IMG_1013

Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

I actually already had the name Kristi b Studios for my career as a hair and makeup artist. When I joined a salon and became a part of a team the name sort of fizzled as I stopped working freelance. I didn’t think twice about using it again. I owned the domain and designed the logo. Why leave it wasting?

Have you always been passionate about design?

Very. I’ve tried any and every thing I can get my hands on. I’ve done work as a photographer, graphic designer, video editor, and am currently a videographer and a hairstylist.

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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

I have had this vision for a few years now. But, the hard truth is that I didn’t actually start working on it until about 2 weeks before I applied for Renegade. I kept it to myself for so long because it was my dream of success and if I put it out in the world that dream could die. Call it a burst of courage or whatever you want, but I’m doing it. I’m making my dream a reality.

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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?

I’ve seen a lot of things done with antlers, but not much with real flowers and real antlers. More than that, I wanted to create something unique and affordable. Let’s be real, antlers are expensive. I want art to be attainable to everyone.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

I haven’t yet, but I know they’re coming! Until then all I can do is know I will face them and be ready to make the best of it.

Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

I went part time as a hairstylist to make this happen. I was extremely nervous about it, but now that I’m on the other side, I realize it was the best decision. Starting a business take a lot of time and commitment.

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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

Definitely getting into renegade. That was kind of my “make or break.”  I’ve been going to renegade for years. Every time I’d walked through, I’d dream of being a vendor and sharing a space with so many other creatives. My friends and family were supportive of the jump, but to have the impartial support of an established fair… that was such an encouragement. I felt like I’m not crazy for wanting to do this. Or maybe I am, but you have to have a little crazy in your bones to follow your dreams.

How does the city you live in influence your work?

The  banners are all things Austin. We are constantly looking for what Austinites are loving.

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The funny thing about what I do is that I am working with bones. Sometimes not fully decomposed bones. I hand select all the antlers. What that looks like is me digging through (sometimes smelly) piles of antlers and skulls to find the perfect one. Interesting fact about me, I can’t even eat meat off the bone. It completely grosses me out. So it can be very comical to watch me go through this process. It’s the definition of love/hate. Once they’re clean I love every second of it. Everything has it’s ups and downs.

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We can’t wait to see all of Kristi b Studio’s pieces at our Austin Fair this weekend. In the meantime, check out what’s online here:

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Maker Spotlight: Canoe Goods

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It’s a beautiful Monday and it’s all thanks to Canoe Goods! These outstanding leather goods will be at our Austin Fair November 28+29! Shop Small Saturday is a definite must this year! Founded in 2009, Natalie Davis was inspired by vintage workwear, well-worn boots, and Outlaw country music. The Canoe line explores pattern through tooled, carved, burned, and hand dyed leather accessories, from jewelry to home wares. Canoe goods are crafted with a sartorial eye and workhorse materials to last a lifetime, made proudly in the USA.  unnamed-1

What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
Before starting Canoe, I worked as a graphic designer. My career in design has been quite varied (from books to packaging) and that’s prepared me for the many jobs I do at Canoe. I’m most grateful for project management skills learned from the publishing world– that keeps me on track with the multiple projects I am always juggling.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
I majorly fail at least once a day! Failure is part of the process and even though it stings, it does teach me something important. A lot of days, it’s teaching me to slow down and be patient. Sometimes those failures teach me that I should have followed my instincts and not been driven by fear. Being a small business owner you have to pick yourself up quickly from those failures and pivot in the right direction.
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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
Moving into my current studio was a very proud day. That space was earned over many years of hustling in a home studio. Right now I’m exploring larger studio spaces, and that’s another big step coming up for Canoe.
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How does the city you live in influence your work?
Austin has a huge influence on Canoe. We began the business after moving back to Texas, inspired by the landscape, music, and kindness of Texans. The support we’ve had from our local community is overwhelming and why I can’t picture ever leaving.

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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
The best tip I can offer is to create a close network of friends and colleagues to lean on. Running your own business can be lonely at times and getting advice from folks who’ve been through it before is key. It will help keep you sane and save you time & money.

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We’ve seen a lot of leather goods out there, but Canoe is by far the most unique and mesmerizing. Mark your calendars for our Austin Holiday Fair and in the meantime get the full scoop on Canoe here:

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Gift Guide: For the Hostess

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Clockwise from top left: EVERMORE LONDON | CORAL & TUSK | GOPI SHAH CERAMICS | BEAUTIFUL BRINY SEA

With all the upcoming dinner invitations headed your way this holiday season we thought we’d simplify things with an RCF Hostess Gift Guide! Candles are always a popular choice, and you can’t go wrong with Evermore London’s Amber and Clove Candle, the perfect holiday scent. If your friends love hosting parties, pick up some Coral & Tusk whimsically embroidered napkins. Headed to a food lover’s home? Any of Beautiful Briny Sea’s salts are the perfect hostess present, but we kind of love Bird Bath. And if any of your friends are like me, chances are they’re always looking or a match to light a candle. I’m obsessed with these ceramic strikers by Gopi Shah Ceramics!

Want some Fall inspiration for your own party? Check out some of our Fall Favorites on Pinterest and get in the mood with our Thanksgiving Spotify Playlist!

The Austin Roster is Live!

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Row 1: CANOE | MY SACRED CRAFT | KRISTI B STUDIOS | Row 2: SLOW NORTH | INKS + THREAD | ELIANA BERNARD | Row 3: HECHIZO | JONES COUNTY ROAD | ARCTIC UNION

Celebrate and Shop Small this holiday season at our Austin Fair! Our Roster is officially online and we are so so thrilled to see old friends and meet new incredibly talented Makers. Just take a look for yourself!

Studio Visit: Gopi Shah Ceramics

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During our time in Austin we had the chance to visit Gopi Shah’s studio and get to know the California native who has quickly become a large part of the ceramic scene. From her popular hand dishes to her collaboration on Sister Coffee’s cheeky (or I should say, booby) tumblers, if you live in Austin, chances are you’ve seen Gopi’s work. We loved getting the opportunity to learn more about Gopi’s inspirations, process, and big dreams last month:
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Ceramics in generally has a really long process since there are so many steps that go into each piece. I buy my clay from Armadillo Clay, which is a local clay shop a few blocks away from me. I like using local clay, which will change the way my pottery looks whenever I move. Each bag of clay comes in a 25 pound bag. I usually have something I have in mind that I want to make with each bag of clay. For example, if I make the zodiac lanterns, I will cut up this 25 pound bag of clay into small cubes that are 0.75 pounds of clay each and smack them down into balls. Once all the balls are ready, I get situated on the wheel and begin throwing. A clay ball has many steps to becoming a piece – I center the piece of clay, create a quarter-sized indentation in the middle that my thumbs push down on to make the center of the piece, pull out the bottom, raise the sides, trim the bottom, push or pull on the sides to create a shape, smooth the top rim, and cut the piece off the wheel.
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Then I do it all over again until all the balls of clay have become pieces. Once the pieces have dried a bit, I can flip them over and trim the bottom so that it is smooth and stamp my logo on the piece. For the zodiac lanterns, I take each one, draw the constellation on the side, and hand punch the holes to the pattern of the stars. I then wait for them to dry a bit more and smooth out the holes with a sponge. In this stage, the clay is called greenware since it is still wet. Once the water has evaporated out, I can bisque fire it, where I take it up to around 1970 degrees Fahrenheit. Bisque ware is porous enough to absorb glaze, but is not brittle. Glazing requires knowledge of chemistry and compounds. I have experimented with different glazes and have a few I created on my own from various chemicals. I glaze each piece by either dipping them in the glaze or brushing a glaze directly onto the surface. There are so many ways to decorate pottery – scratching the surface into a pattern, brushing, sponging, using underglazes. Glaze cannot be on the bottom of your pots because the piece will stick to your kiln shelf once it is fired, so I have to sponge the bottom of each piece. I then load the kiln again with glazed pieces. I load a shelf in, put three stilts in the corners, put the glaze pieces between the stilts, and then put a shelf on top of the stilts until the kiln is full. I then fire this to around 2200 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows the glaze to melt onto the surface of the ceramic and become the beautiful colors everyone is accustomed to seeing on ceramic pieces. Usually this is when a piece would be done. However, with the zodiac lanterns, I use gold luster, which is an overglaze. I unload the kiln and brush on gold luster to each piece over the glaze. I then reload the kiln and fire it to around 1300 degrees Fahrenheit where it gets that beautiful gold sheen. See? I told you there are a lot of steps in ceramics…
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I started working with ceramics in high school. I had a great teacher who let students explore the constraints of clay, which allowed me to learn a ton. He was very influential in shaping my approach to ceramics and helped me learn a lot about various processes of clay. I actually still keep in touch with him to this day! 
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In 2014, I started my business but was very scared to not have a steady income. Up until then, I had worked 9-5’s that had 401Ks and health insurance. So, I ended up creating a 9-5 for myself with a bunch of part time jobs instead, which inevitably pushed my business to the back burner. In 2015, I gathered enough courage to really do ceramics full time. I thought I owed it to myself to try doing what I love full time. It’s been amazing so far. I am very appreciative that I am in a position where I can dedicate all hours to making my business a success. I’d encourage anyone in my position to really go for it, as it does require a ton of time!006-Gopi Shah Studio-RCF2015-2671016-Gopi Shah Studio-RCF2015-2692
Inspiration comes from a ton of different things. In California, I was really inspired by the beach since we lived in Santa Monica and did a lot of forms with barnacles and ocean foam texture. In Austin, my inspiration has come more from textiles and prints, which is shown on some of my newer work. It’s really exciting to travel and get inspired by different things. I keep a small journal where I end up drawing ideas when I get them. I remember I was on the bus one day and saw a bunch of wood with red, yellow, white, and blue ends and came up with a pitcher and cup set that I wanted to make. A lot of my forms also come from ceramics I want in my house, and then I end up making a few more to see how they are received. One of my favorite things I have made is my berry bowl or colander. It is really practical and the perfect size for washing berries.
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The hardest thing for me was believing in myself. Before I started my business, I worked at an environmental non-profit. When I met someone new, I labeled myself as an environmentalist before a ceramicist. It was hard to tell people that I was an “artist” because I didn’t feel like one. When I moved to Austin, I figured it was easier to start a new life where people did not know who I was and I could have the freedom to create this new persona. Slowly it started getting easier to say that I am a ceramicist. There are still so many days that I question what I am doing with my life. And then I remember I’m living my dream and become driven to make this dream a success.022-Gopi Shah Studio-RCF2015-2710
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 Also, I think it is best to make things that make you happy instead of making things that may be trendy. I made a bunch of different ceramic wares and have been experimenting with different forms to see what people like. Things I have made that I love are generally what sell more, probably because customers can see the love you have put into a certain item over another. 020-Gopi Shah Studio-RCF2015-2702
 Gopi has been a delight to have at our Fairs in Austin, and we cannot wait to see her evolving work continue to pop up in shops all around the country! Take a look at all the photos from this visit on our Flickr and check out Gopi Shah Ceramics, you won’t regret it.
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Austin Fair Photos and Video!

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Our Austin Fair last month was by far our favorite event in that city to date! The new venue, the delicious food, the talented makers, and the Texas energy ya’ll brought made the weekend so much fun! If you want to relive the good times, or if you weren’t able to make it this time around, take a look at our Austin album on Flickr!

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Along that same vein, we were thrilled to see the first 2015 fair short film created by our awesome sponsor, ZIIBRA. The team at ZIIBRA will be capturing all of our flagship fairs this year and it was such a delight to see Austin in moving images.

2015 Renegade Craft Fair Austin from Renegade Craft Fair on Vimeo.

Thank You, Austin

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Wow, oh, wow, Austin! What an amazing weekend we spent together! Despite the full spectrum of weather, it was great seeing old friends, meeting new faces, and loving all the handmade wares and good vibes our Makers brought to the Austin Fair this year! Over 140 extraordinarily talented independent Makers showcased their work at Fair Market to Austinites, Texans and travelers from beyond. We got to start our day with delicious iced horchata coffee from Sister Coffee, sample addictive and tasty free cookies from Coterie Market! We couldn’t resist the range of one-of-a-kind handmade products on display from ceramics and wooden furniture to delightful hand-dyed and stitched clothing. We topped each day off with Marco’s Tacos, a handsome hot dog from Frank, and of course, some refreshing cocktails. Did anyone else find it impossible to have just one prickly pear margarita?

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photo from @pastranastudio

We saw a lot of smiles in the open air Magnolia Photo Booth! Fun fact: Those hand painted animal props featured some of the RCF Staff’s very own pets! You can view your photo booth strips from Saturday and Sunday right here.

One of our favorite post-fair activities is combing through the #RenegadeAustin collection of photos. We loved witnessing Makers and shoppers alike, posting about their favorite products, booths and experiences! Here’s some of our favorite moments below:

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Row 1: @saritatheresa | @kayteejs | @onalimbcreative Row 2: @lulunono | @clairesommersbuck |@mrs.lawsongoods | Row 3: @amberelea | @shorttailshop | @akulakreative

We always try to top each Fair, and it couldn’t be possible without your feedback! We value your opinions seriously, and always want to improve our Fairs to be the best events you attend each year. If you attended our Austin Fair, please fill out our Attendee Survey or Vendor Survey! It only takes a few minutes, we swear!

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Want to relive the good times? You can get a recap on Instagram and Twitter using #RenegadeCraftFair and #RenegadeAustin to view RCF-related Instagram pictures and tweets!

Stay tuned for news and updates regarding our 2015 Spring/Summer Tour. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Pinterest to stay in-the-know on our Makers and all things Renegade Craft!

Big Thanks Austin, Fair Market, Our Sponsors, and Our Friends:

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Kick Off Your Weekend at Renegade Craft Fair Austin!

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Our Austin Fair kicks off this weekend! This free handmade extravaganza will feature a collection of some truly awesome independent Makers, plus food, booze, treats, music and more! Check out our rundown below:

140+ MAKERS
We’ve got something for everyone at this Spring Fair! Find gifts for loved ones, plus it’s the perfect time to freshen up your home and wardrobe for Spring.
Check out the full ROSTER to catch a glimpse!
FOOD + TREATS
If your stomach starts growlin’ or you want to cool off, grab a drink and sample some of Austin’s finest fare from these lovely foodies:
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Marco’s Tacos
Sister Coffee

SPECIAL FEATURES

We’ve got you covered for an awesome weekend with an array of things to do from DIY workshops, to custom poems, and gift basket raffles. Take a break in our nifty lounge area, or strike a pose in our free photo booth to commemorate your visit. Just take a look for yourself!

Slavonk & Hortus Terraria
Untouched Poetry
Coterie Market
Loot Vintage Rentals
Magnolia Photo Booth

MUSIC + ENTERTAINMENT

We’ve got some musical talents on-hand this weekend to soundtrack your experience at the Fair. Enjoy some handpicked tunes indoors, or head outside in the late afternoon for some live music:

2015-ATX-Spring-Roster copyROW 1: KRISTEN SAKSA JUEN | SNOW FLOWER PAPER CO | PASTRANA STUDIO | ROW 2: HATTON HENRY | WILD AIR & CO. | FOXWARES CERAMICS | ROW 3: TONI POINT | JANIKA JEWELRY | THE GOOD HIPPIE
Want more handmade in your life? Learn more about Makers behind their craft in our
Maker Spotlights and re-pin your favorite Makers from our Pinterest board.
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Getting There: The Renegade Craft Fair will be held at Fair Market at 1100 East 5th St. Austin, Texas 78702. Visitors are encouraged walk, bike, or take public transportation to the Fair. Route directions to the Fair here.For those visiting Austin, take a look at our handy Eats + Treats Map to help you explore this awesome city. Feel free to add in some of your favorite haunts, too!

Uber is sponsoring rides for our Austin Fair. New users can get up to $20 off their first Uber ride using the code RCF2015. To sign up, download the app or head to uber.com/go/RCF2015unnamed

Want to spread the word? Join our Facebook event and invite your friends. Grab our e-flyer and pass it around. Add #RenegadeCraftFair and #RenegadeAustin to your RCF-related Instagram pictures and tweets! We love seeing what our followers and makers are up to!

For more information about this event, please visit the Renegade Craft Fair website or browse the Makers on Pinterest.

 

Maker Spotlight: Ele Story

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Happy Friday! We’re here to dole out some adorableness and feature Ele Story! This whimsical clothing line will be at our Austin Fair this weekend!
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Judy Jou is the woman behind Ele Story. With a passion to design cute and sweet things, she could not wait to design clothes for her daughter.  Judy love dresses and thinks kids are little versions of adults and they should be dressed well.  For Judy, designing for children means more freedom and fun, because it allows her to mix bold prints together in a wonderful way. FallJacket_Snow_HighTeaWeb
 The name “Ele Story” was inspired by a song in Chinese Judy’s mother sang to her as a child, about a little elephant who is encouraged to be proud of her long nose because it is what makes her who she is.  The clothing line celebrates the uniqueness of every child as they grow up and discover who they are. Pinafore_RiseAShine_web
As a former costume designer, Judy does a lot of research before putting anything to paper.  Judy spends the bulk of her time taking in images that she finds and then spend time doodling and drawing out silhouettes. Both the fabric and Judy’s inspiration informs how she decides to move forward with a piece. Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 2.59.52 PM
At the end of production, Judy takes time stepping back and viewing the collection as a whole, making sure cohesion and fluidity is felt, similar to dressing characters on the stage. SwingJacket_Rain_Web

We’re so thrilled to have Ele Story at our Austin Fair this weekend. Check the entire collection online and stay up to date on Facebook and Instagram. See ya’ll tomorrow!

Austin Eats + Treats Map

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We’ve created a handy little Google Map with some coffee, eats, and treats spots near our Austin Fair this weekend! We want you Austin locals to take a look and add in your own recommendations! You can add in your own favorites here: Austin Eats + Treats Map

Maker Spotlight: Amber E Lea

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We’re gawking over jewelry designer and ceramicist, Amber E Lea today! Amber will be bringing her designs to our West Elm Pop-Up tomorrow and our Austin Fair this weekend!

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Amber is a ceramic artist turned jewelry maker. Truth be told, Amber E Lea Designs evolved through a series of fortuitous happenstances. Amber worked with clay since she was a kid and hasn’t been able to deny her fascination with its properties. After studying ceramics and arts in college, Amber took a job at a local jewelry making company. Now, years later, she’s a jewelry designer and has started a company specializing in ceramics.singlestriperings

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Amber began making jewelry for herself to fill the void of simple yet interesting wearables in the world. At first, Amber was drawn only to the timelessness and versatility of the color white. However, it wasn’t long, until she began creating all kinds of colored porcelains, experimenting with metals and hand painting 22k gold and silver lusters on to the surfaces. These miniature porcelain sculptures have become her passion. For Amber, bringing art into everyday lives is a beautiful and necessary thing.ringdish

Both the color palette and textures of Amber’s work are largely influenced by her time spent in the high deserts of New Mexico. Amber translates the intrinsic and extrinsic beauty of the four classic elements, earth, water, air and fire, into each clay piece.
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 All hand-sculpted porcelain jewelry pieces are paired with fine metals. Once in awhile, Amber throws in the occasional leather or fiber element to keep things interesting. The raw porcelain’s integrity and durability is preserved through a series of high temperature firings in her kiln.firingupclose

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Amber offered us a little peak into her studio and workspace. We love all the hanging inspiration, and the raw vessels waiting to be fired up in the kiln.

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We can’t wait to buy all of Amber’s designs at our Pop-Up tomorrow and Austin Fair this weekend! Check out her collection and Etsy shop, plus stay up to date on Instagram.

Maker Spotlight: Pastrana Studio

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Who doesn’t want to spend time on a Monday looking at gorgeous wooden wares? And by gorgeous, we mean G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S! Today we’re focusing our eyes on the modern, minimalist designs of Pastrana Studio. The husband and wife duo behind Pastrana will be bringing their wares to the West Elm Pop-Up on May 14th, and our Austin Fair this weekend at Fair Market!
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 Born and raised Texans, Julian and Kate created Pastrana Studio out of their appreciation for well-made goods and hard work. The things that they are inspired by and enjoy most are evident in their design and product creation. They not only consider design when creating a product, but functionality as well, stressing the idea of creating for a purpose. For Julian and Kate, knowing that others will be able to use Pastrana Studio pieces in their homes to create their own memorable moments is the reason they put more time and care into focusing on each detail. From the selection of the materials they use to the craftsmanship of each piece, Julian and Kate’s process allows for them to create quality heirloom products that not only will be enjoyed, but passed down for generations to come and continue the story.
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While Julian and Kate handle different aspects of the business – the force between these two can be strongly felt in the finished product. Julian handles the construction aspect of the process which includes milling the wood, joinery of the pieces, grinding, and shaping to its final form. Kate handles the finishing phases which include an extensive sanding process, and several coasts of their oil-based finish.
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Both Julian and Kate have equal contribution in the design concepts, sketch up drawings, and prototype critiques for their products, breaking up the physical labor in the shop with photo-shoots, marketing, and packaging for shipments. After spending a long time working on prototyping and designing last year, Pastrana Studio launched an online shop in September while both had full time jobs. Julian is still a firefighter/paramedic, but just this month, Kate has started doing Pastrana Studio full time.
IMG_3407To the duo, there are no limitations when using the natural world for inspiration. Julian and Kate find something spiritual in working with wood; which allows them to create their pieces while continuing the existence of the wood’s inherent qualities. They appreciate the ever-present beauty and refinement of each piece of untouched wood, and that idea and thought process is a humble reminder to them.
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Pastrana Studio finds beauty in the wabi sabi nature of their medium. Julian and Kate don’t try to disguise a crack or knot in a piece of wood they’re working with – but rather find beauty in the uniqueness and incorporate it into their finished design.
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They allow the wood to speak for itself, to tell its own story. For some creatives, allowing the natural medium of their craft to tell its own story might be challenging. But for Julian and Kate, that challenge can be the best inspiration, gifting them a launching point to start their design.stool1 (1 of 1) copy
Through the continuing revolution within the Maker movement, Pastrana Studio stands out by using high quality hardwoods, refined designs, and master craftsmanship. pastranastudio_servingboard (1 of 1) copy
 We absolutely cannot wait to set our eyes on Pastrana Studio’s wooden wares at our Austin Fair and West Elm Pop-Up this weekend! Watch out, ya’ll, there might be some brawling over that plant stand! Check out the Pastrana Studio website, and spend some hours gawking away at their Instagram. See you soon!

Maker Spotlight: Betty Alida

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Today we’re thrilled to be featuring Betty Alida! These jewelry pieces will be kicking off our handmade weekend in Austin at our West Elm Pop-Up on May 14th and our Austin Fair May 16+17. Get ready, Austin!

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Betty Alida jewelry is designed and handmade in Austin, Texas, by Jennifer Gaewsky. Created in 2014, Jennifer’s line was named after her maternal and paternal grandmothers, Betty and Alida.  The designs began as a passion project and stem from a desire to create unique and beautiful pieces with high-quality materials and skilled craftsmanship. Jennifer has had a strong love for art and design since childhood, when she first began exploring jewelry construction.

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During the day, Jennifer is a pediatric physical therapist – but for her entire life, she has explored all types of craft from pottery to wood working to painting. She spends much of her free time learning and exploring new mediums. For Jennifer, there is something about the limitless aesthetic potential of materials that she finds addicting and she loves to create and uncover that potential. Jennifer created Betty Alida in 2014 in response to this love for making and creating, as many others do.

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Jennifer is highly inspired by her surroundings, finding and absorbing inspiration everywhere. The abundance of countless highly talented artists in Austin and the city itself breathes their influence. Jennifer’s multi-colored pendants are actually inspired by the Graffiti park at Castle Hill, a large, dynamic, outdoor art gallery in Austin.

“After I spend all day absorbing inspiration, I process it, synthesize it, and make sense of it when I go for a run. That is my brainstorming time and I tend to do a lot of my rough designing during those runs. Sometimes they come to my when I am sitting in Austin traffic. Next I sketch the design and test it out on the loom. I can’t tell you how many designs look amazing in my head and terrible on the loom. But if it works out, great! And that’s how I have come up with my current designs that I will be bringing to Renegade.”

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Jennifer utilizes a simple bead loom that she has grown to love after countless experimentations. Using Japanese Delica seed beads, she carefully selects the colors, creating bright, colorful palettes. Although time-consuming, Jennifer’s attention to detail shines in the colors she chooses. Once the piece is woven, it is secured in a slide bar and chain, giving the designs their unique look.

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We are so thrilled to have Jennifer and Betty Alida join us at our West Elm Pop-Up and Austin Fair next weekend! Visit the Betty Alida website and follow on Instagram to stay up to date!