Field Trip Thursday: Crafty Bastards at Union Market

We went to Crafty Bastards this weekend at Union Market in Washington, DC. We had never been to Union Market before, but if you’re familiar with the Ferry Building in San Francisco, that will give you an idea of the amazing foods, restaurants and independently, many locally, made products that are available there. No Heath Ceramics store unfortunately, but nothing is perfect!
But what we were really there for was the Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair. And let me tell you: this is a bunch of really talented people. For all the wonders of Etsy (and it is wonderful for finding independent makers of every type), it’s still an online marketplace, you can’t touch or hold the items you’re considering and there’s a lot to sift through before you get to the really good stuff. This fair showcases some of the really good stuff. And the best news is that most of it is also available online. So while you’re looking, consider supporting some of these wonderful artists and crafters, especially with the holidays coming up.
Neogranny is right up my alley. Handmade, vintage-inspired jewelry made from wood and perfect for gift-giving. The globe pins and trophies were my favorites of course, but all of the earrings, necklaces and brooches were charming. I had actually marked this shop as a favorite on Etsy quite a while ago and didn’t realize it until I got home and started looking up all the great sellers I found at the show. And look at that faux bois fabric. Pretty great, right?
Here’s a creepy, but not unethical way to add some personality to a bookshelf or mantle. These animal skulls by Skullery are made of resin and feature everything from wolves and foxes to crocodiles and birds. I wanted to get a rabbit skull for Chester since he would really like to chase the bunnies that live along the trail behind our house. I won’t let him, but that wouldn’t stop me from buying a replica rabbit skull. Sadly, no rabbits in stock this time, but Marisa is always working on new designs, particularly jewelry in silver and bronze. I’m sure they’re going to be fabulous!
I’ve always been a sucker for white ceramics whether it’s mid century German porcelain by Rosenthal or these charming milk bottles by redraven studios. The milk bottles and porcelain canning jars weren’t the only stunners here either. Those horseshoes were adorable. I want one to hang above the door of our house. And I had a really hard time putting down that white porcelain necklace with the painted facets and gold ends. I’m not much of a jewelry person normally, but give me something white and organic and I’m in every time. 
Home Sweet is a small textile design company where Jennifer Nelson hand prints her designs onto environmentally friendly fabrics. And while she had lovely tea towels and runners for sale at Craft Bastards (as well as printed fabric for buyer’s own craft projects), what really captured my attention was the Fabric Printing Kit, which includes the tools you need for creating your own printing blocks and printing your own fabric. She also has more comprehensive kits that also include ink and fabric. The one issue I have with being in blogging mode when I go to events like this is that sometimes I pass up buying something that later I decide I didn’t just admire, but that I actually wanted. Yep, this was one of those things. I am getting myself a kit soon. Has anyone ever tried block printing? 
Center photo courtesy of Rocks & Salt, other photos Pies & Puggles
Rocks & Salt is a duo comprised of Sara and Phil, who create these fantastic illustrations of vegetables labeled with parts typically reserved for beef, pork and other non-vegetarian items. That’s probably obvious from the photos. I love anything with a sense of humor so do certain vegetarians in my life so these might be showing up in the kitchens of some of my favorite people quite soon. I can’t say any more than that or I’ll blow the surprise. Suffice it to say, I’m a new fan. In fact, picking up a couple more of these to use for hostess gifts over the course of the holiday season might not be a bad idea. The colors are wonderful, the silk-screening is perfect and, oh, they have another shop too where they sell their handmade hats and clothing. Check it out!
Finally, Grey Moggie Press makes letterpress cards, prints and stationery that also has a tremendous sense of humor. As I admired the cards that all started, “have you tried it with…” and commented that I’d love to hang some in the kitchen, Melanie pulled out some small prints that were actually designed for the purpose. So yesterday I ran out to IKEA and picked up a couple of frames. 

The ones I bought read, from top to bottom: have you tried it from a food truck?, have you tried it with bacon? and have you tried it with nutella? I would have also liked one of the “have you tried it with whiskey?” prints, but she only had that one in cards. Since food trucks, bacon, bourbon and nutella are pretty much our favorite things, we think they’re perfect.

There were so many talented folks at Crafty Bastards that I wish I could feature all of them. If you’re interested in some of the other things we saw (and ate!) I’ve put the rest of the photos up on Facebook, where I put a lot of behind the scenes stuff. All in all, it was a great day and we can’t wait to go back next year.

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