Saturday was sunny and beautiful, a cool breeze coming in off the Bay, and thousands of people descending on Fort Mason for the San Francisco summer edition of the Renegade Craft Fair.
I love buying things, and I was nervous to head to this craft fair because TEMPTATION. I went into Renegade with a plan, and that plan was “Don’t buy anything”. Honestly I had low expectations for myself.
And Oh! The things!
Lovely, Incredible, Unique Things!
Tribal Patterned Pillows!
KOMBUCHA! (I actually really hate kombucha, so no temptation there).
It was lovely. And beautiful. Like if Pinterest and Etsy made a baby and named it Renegade.
And like all celebrity babies with weird names, this craft fair was WAY out of my league, financially.
As I looked around, beautifully dressed people were handing over their cards and walking away with carefully wrapped goods.
Those Ceramic Soup Bowls: $42
This Handmade Jumper: $120
That Felt Hat: $200
You get the idea. I couldn’t afford anything there.
But it did get me thinking.
I love the Maker Movement. I love that people are embracing handmade, one-of-a-kind items. I love that Creatives and Artists and Nerds are getting a chance to actually make money by making beautiful things that will fly away to the homes of others to bring a little light and joy and beauty wherever they land.
I love that.
Humans are made to be Makers. There’s something in all of us that delights in the magic of creating something, calling it good and beautiful and giving it life where there was nothing.
Here in San Francisco people are lonely. As a Lyft driver I hear it all the time. People actually ask me while we drive, “Why is this such a lonely place to live?” Is this a normal feeling? A generational feeling? An urban feeling? Something else?
Whatever it is, it’s present and it’s pervasive.
And people flock to handmade items. To Etsy. To craft fairs. To smaller, owner run shops. Because there’s an elusive magic to be captured in the act of owning something that connects you with another person. There’s a delight in purchasing an item that was handmade with love and care and pride.
It’s an experience, it’s a talking point.
It feels good to have an item that’s unique because its Maker was unique.
In a way it feels less lonely. It feels like we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.
A movement. A moment.
A magic where creativity thrives and grows bigger than any single one of us.
So we buy our handmade hats, our designer candles, our one-of-a-kind ceramic espresso cups. We sip our small-batch craft beer and follow our favorite Makers on social media. We feel inspired by the beauty that comes from other humans.
I didn’t know it, but I needed the Renegade Craft Fair. I didn’t buy anything, and that’s good for me right now. But I needed to be reminded.
Reminded of what it feels like to connect with other people over something beautiful that someone else created.
Of the magic.
Reminded of the Makers.