Handmade crafts become hip again with the upcoming Which?Craft! fair. The event is the brainchild of Asheville artist Carley Dergins, who has been producing her own crafts under the name Mystery Hand for some time as well as visiting independent craft fairs in other towns. Rather than the confining themselves to the dusty crafts of yore, these fairs are run by a younger set selling hand-make things like wallets and clothing reconstructed from vintage apparel.
As Derger noticed more and more indie sales springing up in other locales, she wondered why it was missing in her hometown. “[They] make kind of a business for themselves out of what they have,” she says of the other fairs. With Asheville’s DIY ethic and affinity for style, it seemed only logical to open such a craft fair here. “Asheville has so many people doing things,” she notes.
Adding to the fair’s hipster cred is the participation of Harvest Records, which will host the event at its West Asheville store, and The Admiral, which will be grilling up outdoor eats. Look for hand-printed shirts, ties, artwork and, according to the fair’s flyer, “home made synthesizers.”
And even a craft fair can make a political statement: This one touts itself as an “alternative to our mass-produced, mundane, environmentally and economically wasteful chain-store culture.”
Erin Fussell, one of 33 vendors signed up to display their wares, says the selection will reflect Asheville’s artistic diversity. “They are definitely artists and musicians. They are not what you think of as typical crafters,” Fussell says. And there is also a general recognition that money is tight.
“We are also broke, you know,” Fussell continues, saying that the crafts up for sale are typically “decorative, cool and not expensive.”
Politics, economics and art aside, the point is to get outside and meet around a bunch of cool crafts. “Fun is the biggest part,” Fussell says. “It ends up being a good time for everybody.”
Which?Craft! will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 a.m., rain or shine, on Saturday, May 17, in and around Harvest Records, 415 Haywood Road.