The signs of fall are all around us: Leaf peepers and apple pickers are heading for the mountains, the Caps are gearing up to unleash the fury, and pumpkin spice is the flavor of the day. Which means it's time for the 11th annual Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair! And if you're thinking there's no way they could have made it better than it was last year, think again. Our talented team has been working their socks off to come up with ideas to make your Crafty experience that much better, like the dedicated craft food and beverage marketplace where you'll find vendors whipping up all sorts of yumminess, from baked goods and sweets to cold-brew coffee and root beer. This year, grab a pal and some props and head to the Pixilated photo booth for free pics, preferably after a beer or two at the New Belgium Brewing Beer Garden, back again with your favorite libations. There'll be an expanded seating area where you can take a load off after you shop, or make like you're in Savannah, and take your drink with you as you stroll the booths. You know what goes really well with beer? Food! We'll be hosting over 15 food trucks, so get your picnic on with Peruvian delicacies, delicious banh mi or crab sandwiches and, of course, cupcakes. In addition, our hosts, Union Market, will have food vendors both inside and outside the building, so there's no excuse for skipping lunch. D.C. Public Library will be back with plenty of hands-on projects for kids and adults alike, but this time they'll be bringing their 3-D printer with them, so check it out! Our friends from Bike Rack D.C. also make a return. Whether you've got a fixie or a roadie (or nothing so fancy), head to their Urban Cyclists Center to learn how to maintain your ride or for a quick tune-up. As always, kids get in free, so bring the little ones with and when they get bored of looking at ceramics visit the Crafty Clubhouse where you'll find face-painting, child-friendly DIY projects, and our famous box-and-chalk area where kids can release their inner artist. Which brings us, of course, to the vendors. Every year we scour the land to find the most talented, coolest, unique crafters and artisans and bring them together for this weekend-long shopping extravaganza. This year we've upped the ante, with 40 more booths than in previous years, and we've made them easier to find (see our map). The crafters have been hard at work to produce everything from tailored ladieswear to musical jewelry, kids toys to ceramics and bike bags to maple syrup. There's something for everyone here, making it a great place to get a start on holiday shopping or to blow your allowance. It's going to be a bumper year, so please join us for a weekend celebration of food, fun and everything crafty! —Amy Austin, Publisher
Vendor Sneak Peek Just enough to whet your appetite: Here’s just a small sampling of the handcrafted goodies you can expect to see this weekend.
FOR MAKING YOU LOOK GOOD
You would look so sharp waltzing into the office on Monday morning in one of NatureVsNurture’s sleek shirt dresses. The pieces in Nina Valenti’s sophisticated womenswear line are cut and sewn in New York City from high-end designer fabrics and are all put out in limited editions, so you can be sure you’re wearing something unique (move over, Ann Taylor!). Also, check out her beautiful funnel-neck coats which are totally splurgeworthy. Both days. Booth #36.
Erica Young’s loom-woven bracelets combine traditional Native American and African beading techniques with patterns she’s been refining since she was a preteen: “That’s about 20 years in the making!” she says. But rather than childish trinkets, these pieces have a polished look and come in a variety of palettes that will pair well with any outfit, whatever the occasion. Also look out for delicate gemstone bracelets and funky brass necklaces. Both days. Booth #41
Those practical Brits have been wearing Barbour jackets for 120 years, and with good reason: Waxed canvas is waterproof, looks super cool and gets better with age, and lasts forever. Overlap Sewing Studio’s super-cool small waxed canvas bag is perfect if you need to travel light and will keep your phone and wallet dry if the weather takes a turn for the worse. It’s compact size and long straps make it an ideal cross-body handbag, keeping your hands free while shopping or cycling. Both days. Booth #73.
Capitol Hill’s own Penny & Paul (a.k.a. Emily McCarthy) says she rarely goes a day without picking up the crochet hook—lucky for us! Her adorably cheery pom pom hats and beanies, like the Stone Skipper pictured here, are made from the softest U.S.-spun Merino and remixed cotton yarns. Perfect to brighten up any winter outfit, and with chillier temperatures on their way, your ears will thank you as you step out in style. Both days. Booth #63.
Cyclists! Need a way to carry your change of clothes on your commute? Rain hampering your plans to ride with a backpack? Bored with your Ortlieb? Enter Vaya Bags and their awesome rain-tight panniers (this cheery version converts to a backpack for free roaming). Tianna Meilinger hand makes all her bags in her studio in Queens, NY, using as much recycled material as possible. Also available: messenger bags, backpacks and accessories. Both days. Booth #45.
FOR THE WEE ONES
Turn your little animals into real wild things with Cutesy but not Cutesy’s darling monster hoodies, handmade by Diane Koss in her Haddonfield, NJ studio. A perfect antidote to Babies ‘R’ Us togs and an ideal baby shower gift for the mom-to-be with an edge. Plus: How freaking adorable? Koss, who claims a “love for all things fuzzy, and a mild obsession with antlers” says these are also available in adult sizes. Both days. Booth #136
This husband and wife design team based in Pittsburg produce cute art prints, tees and band tour posters (remember Morrissey’s cancelled tour in 2012? Well, you can still buy a print of the show poster they made, so you can stay angry forever). Lunch Bear is a sweet hand-printed tote for your PB&J and apple juice or leftovers. What’s more, some of the proceeds from every bag sold goes to an anti-bullying charity. Both days. Booth #150
Some kids snuggle with teddy bears at night, others a nice soft doggie. Then there are the kids that fall asleep holding their sharks. Hard to believe anyone could find comfort in a marine killing machine, but just look at these endearing hammerhead shark plushies from Zooguu. Handmade out of machine-washable fabrics (handy if they end up covered in drool), this’ll be the only time you’ll be OK with your kids sleeping with the fishes. Both days. Booth #140
Make your little princess or prince’s birthday that extra bit special by presenting them with one of Lace and Cable’s knit crowns. Knitted by Susanne Shirzad, these soft, pure wool crowns come in a variety of colors and make great dress-up props for all ages, and are way more affordable (not to mention lighter) than the real thing! Also, check out L&C’s clever musical cloud pillows which play Brahms’ Lullaby. Both days. Booth #144
FOR YOUR PAD
Crafter Molly Moran came up with the bonkers-genius idea behind Snarky Scouts. Each of these 5”x7” certificates is hand-printed on letterpress and features a genuine vintage Scouting merit badge, but instead of being congratulated on your archery skills or for health and fitness, you’ll be awarded a merit badge for entering the Hunger Games or twerking. Nothing would please your siblings or best friends more than earning one of these. Both days. Booth #33
These sweet little magnets from Mint House just make me smile. They “are one of my favorite items because I love to create colorful, cheerful faces that are full of character,” says maker Holly Greenwood. What an adorable little gift for a friend or something different for a teen’s birthday. All of Greenwood’s ceramics, prints and accessories really pop and are sure add a little fun to anyone’s day. Both days. Booth #94
You’ve found a scrumptious recipe for tonight’s dinner on your favorite food blog, but where to put the iPad in this tiny kitchen? Stak Ceramics’ Myles and Heather Geyman have an ingenious solution: The nifty Kitchen Dock does double-duty with a place for your tablet and for storing kitchen utensils. Stak’s beautiful pieces—including pour over coffee makers and mugs—are hand thrown, molded and glazed in the couples’ Pittsburg studio. Both days. Booth #76
After working for a decade as a shadow puppeteer, Baltimore’s Annie Howe took her X-Acto skills to a new level, designing and hand-cutting paper into intricately wonderful pieces of art. Her pieces, like this one based on a Henry van Dyke poem and mounted on a dark blue background, would make unique wedding or anniversary gifts and her work is also available printed on t-shirts. Howe takes custom orders as well, so get your thinking cap on. Saturday only. Booth #109
Give your day a bright start with these funky cereal bowls from Cephalopod Ink Ceramics. Creator Tanya Casteel calls herself “a one person pottery studio”: Each bowl is made entirely by her, start to finish, wheel-thrown, hand-glazed and features either original or vintage ocean creature graphics. Casteel’s collection includes all manner of tableware, so you can outfit your entire dining table and spread the cheer. Both days. Booth #43
No relaxation without representation! Fritz & Fraulein’s understated hand-printed D.C. flag pillows are made from reclaimed fabrics, including sails from Baltimore (making their debut right here at Crafty Bastards!). They’d make a welcoming housewarming present for District newbies or take one home for yourself. F&F also makes toiletry bags (which were given out at the NBA’s All-Star Game in Houston last year) and tech sleeves to tote your tablet in style. Both days. Booth #40
What’s a Sunday morning without a big stack of pancakes? Now, you can go with some of that sticky pancake “flavor” mess if you want to ruin it, or you can upgrade to some of Art Drauglis’ whiskey barrel-aged amber nectar. Grade ‘A’ Pennsylvania maple syrup is left to age in barrels sourced from Virginia’s Cactocin Creek distillery. Um...yum! “It won’t change your life,” he says, “but it’ll change your pancakes.” Both days. Booth #170