Any crafter worth her weight in cashmere yarn knows that Renegade Craft Fair is the fair all other fairs aspire to. Held in urban epicenters such as Brooklyn, Chicago, Austin and of course, Los Angeles, Renegade is a traveling marketplace showcasing work from hundreds of the country’s best contemporary indie craft artists. Past fairs have included booths by 1337Motif (nerd-themed wood cutting boards and coasters), ThreadRiot (handsewn clothing and accessories), and le petit elefant (whimsical kids’ toys and artwork). Aside from crafts, Renegade offers all sorts of homemade DIY fun: past LA Renegades have featured a woodworking bus with classes and demos, free photo booths and tons of tasty food trucks. Although Renegade’s summer fairs are its main events, its supplemental holiday fairs in wintertime help you check everyone off your gift list—including yourself.
SoCal’s first large-scale permanent craft marketplace, Crafted is housed in—you guessed it—a warehouse at the Port of LA. A patchwork of stalls house local designers (such as Branch of Life, which makes planters out of natural and found objects; or The Donut Snob, which bakes handmade gourmet donuts) who sign on to sell their goods every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the year. Also on offer are craft demonstrations, live music, food trucks and special events, such as an Etsy craft party—call up your knitting circle!
Patchwork is a local Cali fair with events in Long Beach, Culver City, Santa Ana and Oakland. A pretty standard selection of crafts are on display here (vintage-inspired jewelry by Classic Hardware, boutique bath products by Whiffs of Whimsy), but this fair is particularly kid-friendly and has some quirky perks, such as a solar-powered sound booth that lets you listen to music while you look, and bike valet for two-wheeled travelers. Patchwork also offers a “Craftcation” Conference for crafty entrepreneurs, featuring small business workshops, panel discussions, and of course, a healthy amount of crafting and skill sharing. Bonus: Delicious burger joint Father's Office is across the street if all the craft-perusing wears you out.
More upscale than your usual craft fair, UNIQUE’s goal is to bring made-in-America design, fashion and art to the masses. Here you’ll find crafts that are a little pricier: gorgeous ceramics from lerf ewe, handmade furniture by WhyrHymer, and couture clothing by Stella Proseyn. Events are held in New York, San Fran and Los Angeles multiple times a year in each location, and feature more than 325 hand-selected designers and artists. Tickets will run you $10 a pop, but you’ll get a free tote bag designed by a local artist, and 10% of your 10 bucks will go to charity.
Bitchcraft is a badass, scrappy little market featuring a mix of metal-punk-western-hippie-inspired wares including vintage leather and lace from Sainte Marie Vintage, hand-drawn portraits of drunk mermen by Michael Hsiung, absinthe bitters from Bitter Tears, and healing crystal jewelry by Heather Renae Designs. It sounds a little over the top, but there are many hidden gems here, and they serve beer and Bloody Marys while supplies last, which isn’t long—Bitchcraft tends to turn from fair to party as the afternoon progresses.
Whet your craft fair appetite with a few of our favorite local vendors.
Jill K in LA
Jill Kleinhans will take any nudie photo and turn it into a tri-color screen printed work of art that's less lewd and more lovely (and much more appropriate to share with others). She'll also, ahem, augment or touch up certain areas, if you wish.
These cards and prints are all reminiscent of summer camp—whimsically hand drawn bears, birds and acorns, canoes, tents and fishing poles—and will have you itching to take a small adventure of your own.
A funky collection of loud printed leggings, hoods (yep, just hoods), fringe necklaces and pouch purses from a colorful local seamstress who sells her wares out of a bicycle trailer pop-up shop (or as she likes to call it, "retail bicycle transformer").
Mychele and Ben Wooley-Pitts use reclaimed rubber tires, burlap coffee bags, salvaged leather, seatbelt straps and bike parts to create unique accessories like bike panniers, totes, wallets, jewelry and chandeliers. The ultimate in upcycling.
Bunny Butt Apothecary
This apothecary specializes in all-natural soaps, creams, butters and balms—all hand-crafted with sandalwood, jasmine, cucumber, green tea and the like. No bunnies are harmed in the manufacturing of these products, just petted vigorously.