Crafty Feast, Columbia’s largest independent craft fair, opens Sunday, Dec. 10, and proves that crafting has come a long way since the days of decoupage and tie-dye.
This year, shoppers will find everything from elegant ceramic and glass decorative items and serving pieces, to giftable snacks for humans and dogs, to jewelry fashioned from precious stones, varied metal and even wood.
Even better, Crafty Feast is a juried show, meaning that this year’s makers are the best of the best. Each was selected by a team of judges – makers themselves – looking for artisans creating distinctive products that are both high quality and interesting. Besides choosing participants, the judges awarded a Best in Show and two runners-up.
Organized by Flock and Rally: Integrated Communications for a Brave New South since 2009, Crafty Feast is Columbia’s largest indie craft fair, offering a selection of original handmade goods from across the Southeast and beyond to more than 2,700 attendees from across the region. Crafty Feast 2017 will be noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St.
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In addition to knocking out their holiday shopping in one Sunday afternoon, showgoers can also sip mimosas, craft beer and wine; snack on popcorn, chicken wings and vegetarian bites; get crafty at DIY craft stations for adults and children (led by ByFarr Design); and enjoy background tunes spun by “DJ Dr. P” Scott Padgett.
Here’s a little information about the judges’ top picks.
Best in Show: Jennifer Elmore, Scout’s Honor
Jennifer Elmore, whose embroidery company Scout’s Honor was chosen as this year’s Best in Show, knows first-hand how tough the judges are: Last year, she didn’t make the cut.
“The projects I submitted last year were more traditional,” she says. “They’re really looking for unique offerings. I’m still in shock that I won. I’m so excited!”
Scout’s Honor, which makes embroidered pieces such as iron-on patches and hoop art wall hangings, gained traction after the 2016 presidential election when a friend attending the Women’s March asked Elmore to make a South Carolina patch that would identify her as hailing from the Palmetto State. Before long, she’d crafted patches for participants from other states.
Elmore, a Columbia native, says she’s always been crafty, but really found her niche when she got her hands on her mother’s embroidery machine. “Most people use them for monograms; I decided to do projects with more personality,” she says.
First Runner-Up: Andy Natusch, Artisan Tees
Born in Boone, North Carolina, and now living in Charleston, Andy Natusch was making a living as a painter when he realized he wanted to create art that could be worn instead of displayed.
So the self-taught artist did what came naturally: He got on YouTube and learned how to run a screen printer. “I had no idea, but here I am,” he laughs.
His inspiration is nature, specifically the mountains. As much as he loves Charleston, Natusch still misses the woods – so much that he donates a dollar from each T-shirt sale to help plant a tree, creating – someday – a forest of his own making.
His favorite shirt design is a photo of the woods in the shape of a grizzly bear. “I knew as soon as I made it that this would be popular,” he says. “It’s actually our top seller.”
Second Runner-Up: Debra Aase-Farnum, Golden and Grey
For porcelain artist Debra Aase-Farnum, creating her pieces and selling them at shows provides a wonderful sense of balance. “So much of my work is done alone, in my studio,” the Charlotte-based maker explains. “I love shows because I can see people interacting with my work. It’s a benefit not all artists get to experience.”
Aase-Farnum has found herself particularly fulfilled by the mugs she decorates with hand-drawn portraits of pets. “I love finding the glimmer in their eye, that unique piece of their personality, and capturing it in a drawing,” she says.
Aase-Farnum also creates porcelain serving platters, plates and jewelry, most of which are decorated with line drawings of whimsical sea creatures, both real and imagined.
If you go
Crafty Feast 2017
WHEN: Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10.
WHERE: Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St.
ADMISSION: $3. Children 10 and younger are admitted free.
All the vendors
Apparel: A Dapper Sandlapper, Artisan Tees, CHI Design Indigo, Clay Burnette, Columbi-Yeah, Cottonerie, Melody Joy Designs, mini + meep, Owlette, Pamut Apparel, Pecan Pie Puppies, Sebastian Harper, Teri Goddard Handweaving, The Elegant Elephant, Titanic Alley.
Candles, bath and body: 50 Degrees Apothecary, Candle Bravo, Field Botanicals, Modern Forestry Soy Candles.
Cards, stationery and printmaking: Bone and Ink, ByFarr Design, Cait Maloney Creative, Catawampus Press, DPK Invitations, Dylandcommadash, Holly Oddly, Jessica C. White, Laura K. Aiken Studio, Meghan McCrary, R&B Printery, Smarty Pants Paper Co., Sunny Mullarkey Studio.
Food: Adams Apple Eatables, Backyard Safari Company, Brixtix Bakery for Dogs, Causey Foods, Home Appetit, One Screw Loose, Two Brothers Jerky.
Home decor: Alison Brynn Ross Illustration & Design, Ben Grant Woodwork, Five Peaks Studio, Glak Love, Lamped Lighting, Makenzye Barfield Designs, My Bud Vase, Oriskany Glass Studio, Phoenix Fire Studios, The High Fiber, Tommygun Glass, West Egg Weaving.
Jewelry: A Checkered Past, Admiral Row, LLC, Anne Bivens Jewelry, Change for the Best, Driver 8 Studio, Gilded Bug Jewelry, Green Girl Studios, Happy Arsenal Jewelry, Hermana Luna Jewelry, Hippy Do Da, January Jewelry, Mad Made Metals, Symbology by Alice Scott, Third Instar, Valchemy Metals LLC, Wittlersroost.
Miscellaneous: Marisol Spoon, Mike Merritt Artworks, Nana by Sally, Once Again Sam, Original Books, pH reclaimed, Scout’s Honor, SLO Yarn and Fiber, That Godzilla Guy, Phunky Artz, Valdes Art, Yay Hooray.
Pottery and ceramics: Betsy Kendrick Arts, BrennaDee Ceramics, Deerwood Clay, Elizabeth b. Ceramics, Golden and Grey, Kyle Smith Pottery, Lindsay Louise Pottery, Mac Pottery, Maria Andrade Troya, Nina K Designs, Organically Thrown, So Stoked Pottery, Tierra Sol Studio, Trista Hudzik Pottery.
Meet the jury
Sally Peek, a longtime Crafty Feast vendor and jurist, designs Nana by Sally, a handbag and accessory line, out of her home.
Jenny Mae Hill creates playful misfit dolls and plush toys that were featured in “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.”
Shigeharu Kobayashi created the “Columbi-Yeah” T-shirt, spearheading a Columbia pride movement.
Shanika Pickey owns Sebastian Harper, a clothing and accessories line that creates one-of-a-kind pieces with natural dyes and upcycled materials. She also blogs.
Jessica Bornick designs Owlette children’s clothing and accessories. She also performs with local band Those Lavender Whales.