Arts preview: Crafts Gone Wild makes crafting accessible for shoppers and vendors

By Columbus Alive
From the December 12, 2013 edition

Crafting is a rapidly growing art form among the creative community with craft fairs, shows and events emerging regularly. The Crafts Gone Wild event this Saturday isn’t the biggest, but carries a user-friendly attitude that makes for both vendors and attendees.

Spawned out of a conversation among Wild Goose Creative’s Stitch-n-Bitch knitting group about needing an event in the space, this year will be the fourth Crafts Gone Wild, with 25 vendors. Last year’s event saw its most attendees (about 400), but Crafts Gone Wild is more about the easygoing shopping environment than size.

“We’re still a small craft fair in comparison to a lot of the ones in Columbus, and that’s how we want to stay,” said co-organizer Dana Cox.

The main focus of Crafts Gone Wild is establishing a friendly experience where shoppers can interact with and find unique gifts.

“You can [meet] the person that made it and have a conversation,” said co-organizer SaraLynn Belle. “Maybe that makes it mean a bit more. You can appreciate the process; it’s very personal.”

Fellow co-organizer Neda Golchin put it in the most astute terms when it comes to shopping for the holidays.

“It’s a shopping experience that’s not the soul-crushing, going-to-Easton kind of thing,” Golchin said. “It’s friendly, it’s fun and you don’t feel like a small part of you dies.”

The event is also specifically designed with vendors in mind. Special arrangements are made to encourage those new to crafting to participate.

“One of the focuses is to host people who are ready to get into the market of selling hand-made, but haven’t done it yet,” Cox said. “We’ve had some vendors grow with us; started when we started the craft fair and have really established their businesses.”

Having new vendors also benefits shoppers by offering a variety of products.

“You’re going to see all the same vendors because they’re selling all around Columbus,” Cox said. “Because we reserve that portion for people who aren’t quite as experienced, you don’t see them anywhere else.”

This year’s Crafts Gone Wild will feature an array of products: jewelry, leather goods, bath products and soaps, winter gear (hats, scarves, gloves), crocheted stuffed animals, dog sweaters, some small fine art and more. All products are sold with a specific price point; nearly everything is under $100, with most items between $5 and $50.

Photos by Jodi Miller