Most of the year I spend my work days inside the studio by myself. I hammer, file, drill, polish, and sand away sterling silver and gold, turning them into various shapes, while listening to audio books and podcasts on my phone. Most of my connections with customers tends to be over email, with some occasional meetings in the studio. So every year I try to plan for a few fairs or events where I can get some face to face time and actually get to meet some of the folks that I get to make jewelry for. Back in Chicago, I used to table at Dose Market and Renegade Craft, and it was always nice to see some familiar faces, as well as meet other local vendors. Now that I’m in Santa Fe, I’ve been wanting to try out some events a bit closer to home. So last week, Sonia and I drove up to Denver to try out the Renegade Craft Fair there, and to see a bit of the city.
Denver is about a six hour drive from Santa Fe, so we headed up the day before. We pulled in, dropped off our stuff at our Airbnb, and headed downtown to Sonia’s favorite Denver restaurant City, O’City. They have really great cocktails and a vegan + vegetarian focused menu, so it was very Sonia friendly (she’s gluten-free and vegetarian, so we’re always looking for places with good GF options).
The fair was at the EXDO event center, but outdoors, so when we arrived at 8:30 am everyone was pitching their tents and wheeling their wares into the parking lot. Denver felt a lot like Santa Fe, chilly air in the mornings, but it turned out to be a scorcher of a weekend.
I had planned out the booth layout ahead of time, but had no idea what to expect from the weather. I’m used to Chicago-elevation outdoor fairs, so I was unprepared for the intense sun side effects of doing an outdoor fair in Denver (the mile high city). I rearranged the booth all day, moving the tables away from the sun as it moved throughout the day. The thing about jewelry in the sun is that it just gets too damn hot. I had to offer up hot jewelry warnings to anyone that went to touch any piece that had been near the sun.
The fair overall was pretty quiet, nothing like the outdoor Renegade market in Chicago, which covers numerous city blocks every September. However, I did get to meet a lot of folks, customers and other vendors alike. And I even spotted a few stud earrings in action!
I like using displays that already have a place in my home and studio, so I tend to bring a lot of books and rocks with me. I also really enjoy painting, so I’ve been making a handful of painted denim and linen pieces that I use at events, and also around the house. I’m planning to make more of these, but I’m waiting on a bigger studio space (coming soon!).
Also, I just love the contrast of metal on painted fabric….
If you have any favorite handmade markets or fairs that you like in the West and beyond, let me know! I’d love to try out some new ones.
And if you’re in Santa Fe next month, I’m having a trunk show at Cupcake Clothing at 322 Montezuma Ave on October 18 + 19th.