For months leading into Spring, I’ve had a heavy calendar filled with craft fairs and vintage markets, taking me around South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. And I’m very sorry to say that I’ve hit my last festival of the season- the Retropolitan Craft Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee.
I seriously love to explore new markets, meeting new vendors and finding new small businesses and start-ups to follow and buy from. And even though I don’t vend at these shindigs, I do feel as though I’m part of this fun, friendly community.
But back to Retropolitan! First of all, the name- how cool is that word? It’s a mashup of fantastic proportions and truly represented the curated artisans that filled the hall. Every single booth was new-to-me and I was in “indie” market hog heaven…
So without further delay…some of my favorite finds of the day…
Anyone else a sucker for new journals? I don’t use them up as often as I’m tempted to buy them…but I might just be rubbing off on my husband. He decided that he wanted to start keeping a beer journal- he’s a craft beer fanatic (aka “beer snob”) to the core. And when I discovered Iron Press Book Company and her beer box journals, I knew one of them would be PERFECT for Jon.
Upcycled jewelry…one of my most vulnerable weak spots. And I’ve certainly seen broken china jewelry before, but there was just something special about the pieces offered by Modern Garden. Each one was so unique- shape, size, pattern- and I particularly loved the themed shaped pieces…like the butterfly pattern put into a wing shaped pendant. Just gorgeous!
MAPS! Sorry, I got a little excited…as well I should be! Native Maps was an awesome discovery for me at Retropolitan. While I’m no longer a big city gal, I love the idea of what Native Maps does- taking large cities (such as my beloved Chicago) and creating neighborhood-based maps…in both print form and as notecards! For my city-dwelling friends, these would make for excellent gifts…which you may end up keeping for yourself.
This vendor, My Frugal Home, drew me in with a gorgeous display of vintage milkcap magnets- one could say it was a “magnetic” pull. <Wink>. But what kept me there were their homemade carpenter bee traps. Now, normally I don’t like to diminish pollinators- but we’ve had a real problem with carpenter bees destroying our treasured back porch (or at least trying to), and I really want to focus on getting rid of them without using pesticides. And presto! A vendor selling handmade carpenter bee traps…SOLD!
My favorite festivals are those that blend handmade with upcycling with pure vintage- a few vendors of each. And you know what? Retropolitan nailed it! Enter Forgotten Feather Vintage, whose booth was a flamboyant collection of vintage clothing and accessories (oh, her handbags!) that kept me hanging around.
What happens when you pair a vintage mason jar with an Edison light bulb? BRILLIANCE. People swarmed this booth and I didn’t blame them one bit- a collection of unique, well-made lamps that reuse old jars with modern lighting kits to create subtle, gorgeous lighting for anywhere in the home. I seriously loved these in a big, big way.
Well done, Retropolitan, well done- I’m looking forward to making the trek from Greenville to Knoxville again for your next market!
While summer slops through with humidity and thunder, I’ll be hunting down autumn and holiday fairs across the South- please let me know if you have suggestions of ones I should put on my itinerary! You just never know where I’ll end up.