Ten years ago, I spent a long and cold winter living in a small town in Iowa. There wasn’t a lot of variety and the lack of locally-owned restaurants and retail stores was depressing. As we all know, in these quiet corners of the country, Big box and chain stores have reigned supreme for the past twenty years. But now things are most decidedly different–even from the time I lived there. With the internet, makers of all stripes and colors now have a venue to sell there wares. But the real change happens not on the screen, but in the sewing rooms, on the crafting tables, and in the artist’s studios everywhere. I had the pleasure of seeing this creative renaissance in action this past weekend at the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn. During the two days, I encountered many exciting items, creations, and people, including the Des Moines-based Urban Posture (see photo above). Here are a few other creatives rockin’ it big time in the land of corn (aka Iowa).
In case you didn’t know, I have two little babies—ages 3 and 1. Toys are a very important part of my day-to-day, and I love these had made wonders by Birdy Boots. I think I might be ordering a pair of ‘copters for my little people (yes, I am that parent who must order two of everything). These simple wooden toys remind me of toys from my childhood made by hand in my Grandfather’s wood shop. You can tell Birdy Boots takes great care, sanding the wood and securing the pieces (of course, she also happens to be a mom!)
Can you ever have enough pillows? Not when you need to make a “trampoline” on your living room floor to keep your little maniacs from jumping on the couch and bonking their little heads. These blooming pillows are eye-catching enough that maybe you can distract people from the chocolate fingerprints on the sofa. Hey, at least I can blame it on my kids. Angela Davidson is the artist who created these pillows, and they certainly are works of art. So, no jumping allowed.
Is there any end to the amazing application for chalkboard paint? So cute and so clever. South House Boutique created these little gift bags. Don’t they remind you a little of something you might find at Horchow? Makes sense–she has designed items for their catalog in the past! These bags are the perfect accompaniment to a gift from the heart for a friend or neighbor, on a special occasion, or perhaps just to say “I’m sorry my kids are always running around upstairs and yes, we do have carpeting.”