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Renegade Craft Fair: Little Friends & Creatures

Renegade Craft Fair 2010: Mimi Kirchner

{ Mimi Kirchner }

Authenticity is pretty big right now, right? It’s popping up everywhere. Take Mad Men for instance. Don Draper’s not eating a sandwich, he’s eating a 1962 sandwich (literally, Matthew Weiner probably had someone track down a cellophane-wrapped sandwich from 1962, airbrushed the mold out, and had Jon Hamm eat it on camera.) But wait! He’s not drinking a cocktail either, he’s drinking a 1963 Manhattan heavy on the 1963 Canadian Club with vintage labels and 1963 tax labels recreated by a crack team of archival-oriented graphic designers. Is it too much to ask of the viewer to just imagine that this bottle of vodka is really a 1963 bottle of vodka? Can’t I use my imagination? Please?

Mad Men, like Boardwalk Empire, or Treme wants you to know that this is the real deal. This is 1960s America, this is Prohibition-era Atlantic City, this is post-Katrina New Orleans. Of course all of this obsessive compulsive realism is engaging, but come on, I get it. Really.

Now, this is just one view of what authenticity is — realism. All of these shows want so badly to tell their authentic stories. But that’s just it, these are stories. These are TV shows, not 19-whatever. While realism can provide a neat and tidy framework for explaining the complexity of our quotidian lives, there are some other options. One such option was thoroughly explored at  the Renegade Craft Fair — crazy monsters.

Crazy monsters just put it all out there. All of that complexity and confusion. That’s not an elephant, that’s a octophant.

Renegade Craft Fair 2010: Old Scratch

{ Old Scratch }

But crazy monsters aren’t the only other way to tell a story or be authentic. Plenty of other craftsters were showing off original stuff, which may have been absorbing all kinds of influences and representing reality, but not in a wholly realistic way.

That’s not a real taxidermied and mounted goat. That’s a handmade stuffed goat . . .  and a stuffed hamburger!

Renegade Craft Fair 2010: Lana Crooks & Steff Bomb

{ Lana Crooks }  { Steff Bomb }

Those aren’t dogs. Those are ceramic dog seals who’ve recently been to the vet.

Rengegade Craft Fair 2010: Janet Macpherson

{ Janet Macpherson }

Now listen, I love all of this stuff. Really! Obsessive realism is a constraint that produces some fantastically memorable stories and characters (what do you think those old-timey circus buddies are up to at the top of this post?). That’s why I watch Mad Men. However, crazy monsters are challenging in the best possible way. Original creatures and creations, unfettered by any given structure, are able to do just about anything. Keep it real Renegade . . . or, just keep it up.

Also, I love cats:

Renegade Craft Fair 2010: Kate Funk!

{ Kate Funk }

Especially cats from outer space.

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