I have to admit that 2012 was a hell of a year. I quit my day job and became the full time crafter I'd always wanted to be. In all, I visited half of the states in the union and enjoyed (almost) every one. I swam with dolphins, stood on mountains overlooking the Great Salt Lake and drove a whole bunch of miles in a 17 day cross country adventure with my best friend. I learned the ins and outs of being my own boss, which has become a daily lesson with homework. I packed and unpacked craft show supplies so many times I felt I was living out of a box. I met innumerable amounts of people and sold my animals and rattles to happy craft show attendees. Speaking of! Here are my top five for 2012.
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#5: Handmade Arcade-Pittsburgh, PA
I loved this show because of the venue in which it was held, most of all. Lots of natural light, lots of fun vendors, my road weary mom and a really amazing soft pretzel. The people were friendly and I had GREAT booth neighbors. I stitched a lot during this show and it was fun to answer questions about my product and the process that goes into making them. Also, driving the highway system of Pittsburgh always makes me feel like I'm in a real life video game. I'm glad I got out with all of my lives.
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#4: Bloomington Handmade Market-Bloomington, IN
The Market is held really close to my home town near the campus of Indiana University which always makes the crowd really diverse. I love this show mostly because it gives me a chance to look at the new products so many of my art friends are putting out. It just feels like home walking into the convention center and seeing smiling, sleepy faces ready for a day of selling.
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#3: Porter Flea-Nashville, TN
The Porter Flea is AMAZING. There, I said it. I loved this show. It was packed most of the day. I sold everything I took. My mom got to squeal while meeting the infamous Mike from American Pickers. (He really was a very nice guy.) And the venue. Oh, the venue. I almost cried when I walked into Marathon Music Works. It's this beautifully renovated, yet still industrial, warm well-lit space that you just felt like a cool guy walking into. The Porter Flea Team is the sweetest; super organized and helpful and really, really beautiful. I can't wait to go back!
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#2: Art Star Craft Bazaar-Philadelphia, PA
This was my second year vending at Art Star Craft Bazaar. Everything about this event is just such a joy. It's held at Penn's Landing in South Philly right along Delaware River. This past year the temperature was perfect, the sun was shining and I got to chat with Phil Barbato, whom I obsess over on the internet. Louis always drives me out and we get to spend some time in the Lehigh Valley. Overall, just the perfect May event.
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#1: Renegade Chicago-Chicago, IL
Chicago is one of those places I find people either have a love affair with or they can't stand it. I'm one of those love affair people. There's something really exciting and accessible about the city itself. But the Wicker Park neighborhood where Renegade Chicago is held? It's like walking into someone's home. You feel invited and in good cheer. The craft fair itself is all hustle and bustle and cool kids doing what cool kids do: making awesome things. I always feel on top of my game at this show. I sell a lot of animals to a lot of nice people and I have SO MUCH FUN! Plus, there's the world's best tacos in Franklin Park.
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My goal for 2013 is just to grow bigger and stronger. Both as a person and a plush designer. I want to go to more craft shows and test new lines. I want to make new art friends and eat at more taco stands. I want to drive to new places and take pictures. I want to learn how to actually keep receipts together and not just in a glad container. (yeah, I'm THAT girl.) But mainly, I just wanna dance. I want to throw out all of my inhibitions and just let go and enjoy myself.
Let's hit the floor like Robyn. Are you with me?