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Headhouse Square Crafts Fair

This year, I am going to try to get myself out there... selling face-to-face at craft fairs and whatnot. I have the summers to really get my behind in gear, making and selling and listing and then making again.

So I am applying for the Creative Collective's Arts and Crafts Fair at Headhouse Square. If you're in the Philly area Saturdays through the summer, you should stop by. Read about the the Headhouse Square Crafts Fair. 

With the application, though, I got a letter stressing the importance of supporting local craft shows, and how many craft shows are not running this year... and I thought that was really sad! For me, growing up, the changing of the seasons and craft shows were inextricably linked. Nice weather = farmer's markets, yard sales, craft shows. Is the economy really putting this part of my life in jeopardy?

In his article at The McGill Daily, Aaron Vansintjan writes:

[Rachel] Dhawan [a self-employed craftsperson] argues that the biggest problem the craft world faces is pricing. Once a craftsperson makes the decision to support themself through art, they have to start charging much more for their wares. Selling handmade products is a business like any other... [and] is, in the end, more economical and environmentally friendly.

Yet in this article by Julie Finn at Crafting a Green World, the handmade market actually benefits from a poor economy. She writes, "Traditionally, the crafts industry has been thought to be pretty stable (if not totally hot) during times of economic downturn. The theory goes that the more people struggle economically, the more interested they become in handmade." I understand that "have not" can lead to "make do" or even just MAKE. I agree. I also agree with Amy Carlton and Cinnamon Cooper, who have published a Craftifesto. They write, "The power is in your hands." They avow that "Craft is Political" and that people who craft or support the handmade movement rethink corporate culture and consumerism, and create a community of buyers and sellers.

Here, Bill Ronay at Handmade for Profit isn't very concerned with the economic downturn, either:

As we see it, some shows are growing while others are shrinking.  Some are dead or dying.  Booths are going unfilled more often with less of a demand than in decades past.  However, my experience over the past thirty years has taught me that the current sales downtrend is likely to be short-lived as long as the core of the Arts and Crafts Industry, as we know it, stays intact.

And so, here we are, back at the local spring crafts fair season in Philly and the 'burbs. What is in store for us this year? And the future? 

In "Where Have All the Artists Gone?" by Liz Eaby, the Headhouse Shambles' history is recounted. It is evident that she believes in the importance of an arts community to a vital society, and a vibrant city. She writes, "Time has passed, and the area has changed. Big businesses have pushed out the little guy or those who had less money. Artists are still here in The Headhouse Shambles, consistently, but not wealthy."

I am willing to be part of a "non-wealthy" community of creative folk, selling my wares in historic Headhouse Square. Come and visit! 

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