Part of what we hope to accomplish with Midwest Craft Con is to highlight the cities, people and places that make the Midwest so good. This is the first in a series of city guides highlighting Midwestern cities and what makes them so crafty. Representing our 2016 host city of Columbus, Ohio, is Claire Jennings!
I’ve come to know Claire over the years through her support of local events and small businesses. She lends moral support, her time, her talents and her spirited energy to everything she touches. So Claire was the perfect candidate to share with you how awesome Columbus is and showcase its DIY haunts. You will all get a chance to meet more of Claire as the Midwest Craft Con assistant coordinator, her fancy title for being our go-to girl for all the things all weekend. Take it away, Claire!
3515 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43214
Wholly Craft is the mother of all handmade stores. Owner Olivera Bratich is the No. 1 supporter of Ohio makers. She started bringing makers together to help them sell their wares 10 years ago. Wholly Craft’s new expanded store is a must-see.
Sew to Speak
4610 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214
Sew to Speak is the best place in town to get beautiful, fun fabrics for your crafting needs. They also have a wide range of classes available, where you can learn to make quilts, bags and garments.
1306 Grandview Avenue, Columbus, OH 43212
The Smithery was opened by two local jewelry makers, Anne Holman and Jen Townsend. Their own jewelry lines are some of my favorites, and they have exceptional taste. Their stock of jewelry and housewares comes from independent makers from Ohio and from all over the world. I want to buy everything they have to sell.
661 High Street, Worthington OH 43085
Igloo Letterpress combines old school equipment with modern day printing. Having recently made the move into a new facility around the block from their former space, a sprawling print studio that also houses a retail shop, Swoonful Gifts, and classroom space for teaching others the printing craft.
Yarn It & Haberdashery
1093 W. First Ave., Grandview Heights, OH 43212
Yarn It is my favorite local yarn store. Opened in June 2014, it has a wide range of beautiful yarns, from indie dyers like Frabjous Fibers and Anzula, to stalwarts like Madelintosh and Berroco. They offer a wide array of classes, and people are always welcome to come in with questions or to sit in the window and knit.
PLACES FOR MAKERS
Cultural Arts Center
139 W. Main St., Columbus, OH 43215
Run through the City of Columbus’s Recreation & Parks Department, the Cultural Arts Center is the best place to take art classes, both for value and the range of classes taught. You can take classes in painting, jewelry making, ceramics, dyeing and weaving. (It’s worth a trip to see the weaving shop on the top floor — over 40 looms!) They also have a gallery space on the first floor, a store that sells products made by students, and it doubles as an event space.
Columbus Idea Foundry
421 W. State St., Columbus, OH 43215
If you want to learn how to use high-tech tools to make things, or to learn to weld or be a blacksmith, this is where you go. Classes run the gamut from woodworking to 3D printing to laser cutting to leather working and more. If you’re visiting town and can’t take a class, it’s worth your time to just take a tour. Their facility is huge and full of so many good things.
1400 Dublin Road, Columbus, OH 43215
The brainchild of Kate Djupe, the Commissary is a place for food makers (and eaters, but I’ll get to that). Geared towards food makers of all stripes — from food truck owners to caterers to people wanting to sell their food at farmers markets to chefs who want to play around with new equipment or host pop-up dinners — the Commissary has it all. There are prep kitchen spaces and hotline kitchen spaces available for rent by the hour, cold storage space for rent, to specialty kitchen equipment like an ice cream maker (with a blast chiller), and there is soon to be a room dedicated to both beer brewing and coffee roasting. For those of us who just enjoy eating food, there are classes and workshops and popup dinners in the event space.
- Craftin’ Outlaws: Craftin’ Outlaws has been an outlet for Central Ohio to find unique, handmade gifts for the past 10 years. Without it, my own personal gift giving would be much more boring. The lineup of makers is always stellar.
- Columbus Arts Festival: Organized by the Greater Columbus Arts Council and located on the downtown Riverfront, the festival showcases fine artists from all over the country and they continue to work with emerging and local artists.
- Columbus Flea: Vintage finds and handmade goods. The Columbus Flea can be found seasonally around town and has become a much beloved part of the Columbus marketplace.
- Comfest: Founded in the 1970s, this community festival takes over Goodale Park and offers local bands, local retailers and your favorite handmade makers in town.
- Independents Day Festival: One of the best festivals in town marries every aspect of the arts and the independent spirit of the city. Located in the heart of Franklinton, Independents Day has regional bands, marketplaces, crafters, trapeze artists, outdoor art installations, human foozball and so much more.
- Moonlight Market: Take a stroll along the shops and restaurants of Gay Street the third Saturday evening of each month while shopping from over 100 vendors and small businesses.
989 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43201
Rummage through vintage clothes and home furnishing in this amazing retro shop. Don’t forget about the goods in the basement!
Whether you are looking to sell some gently used clothing or shop their racks for some cool finds, Rag-O-Rama has your back. It’s also a great place to piece together a costume!
The darling of the confectionery scene with more than 10 locations in the city, Jeni’s Ice Cream is a must-eat while you visit Columbus. The Salty Caramel will change your life.
59 Spruce St., Columbus, OH 43215
Whether shopping for produce at their farmers market or having a meal, the North Market is an hub for foodies and just a few blocks from the Hyatt! With over 30 merchants who call it home and annual events such as The Apron Gala and Coffee Roast, there is always something to take in at the Market. I suggest having Hot Chicken Takover, followed by a Brezel pretzel, followed by a drink at The Barrel and Bottle.
Grass Skirt Tiki
105 N. Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215
Polynesian food and delicious cocktails served in Tiki’s. Need I say more. Decorated with a lava wall it’s a quiet place to sip your cares away with crafty friends.
401 W. Town St., Columbus, OH 43215
Great food and spirits housed in a 100-year-old pipe factory. Set in the office space of the warehouse, dine in the open space and bar or take in a private office for a more intimate setting. Strongwater is attached to 400 W. Rich St, which is filled with private art studios and performance spaces.
Claire Jennings grew up in Columbus and moved back for grad school and fell in love her hometown and stayed. She’s been crafting one way or another since she was big enough to wield a tube of puffy paint, but tends to limit herself these days to fiber arts, photography, and doodles. Find her on Instagram and Twitter as @clairehelene7.
You can explore all of these great spots in Columbus when you join us in February! Early bird tickets are on sale now until Oct. 31 or until the first 100 sell out. Don’t wait!