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Fall + Holiday Shows around the Midwest!

The handmade season is upon us! Makers are working their magic building up holiday inventory while still hustling their way through the summer fairs and festivals. Fans of DIY can start planning their shopping lists while makers can explore new markets to sell their handmade items.

Want to make sure you get access to early bird tickets? Sign up for our emails to get details on the next con in 2020 — Early Bird tickets will go on sale September 1st!

Know any other indie craft shows that should be on our list? Add them in the comments!

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News

2018 Fall + Holiday Craft Shows Around the Midwest

Midwest Craft Con was founded by three craft show organizers with the mission to help people grow their handmade businesses. While we are still recovering from our conference — sign up for our emails to get details on the next con in 2020 — we are deep in the DIY craft show scene all year round. This list of craft shows and fairs around the Midwest and adjacent states for the rest of 2018 is our gift to makers who want to branch out to new markets. But it’s also for handmade fans who feel like taking a craft show road trip!

strung by shawna, string art, usa map
Art by Midwest Craft Con alumna Strung by Shawna

Know any other indie craft shows that should be on our list? Add them in the comments!

Resources

Spring + Summer 2018 Midwest Craft Shows

type shy handmade
Paper art by Type Shy

We started Midwest Craft Con after being a part of the DIY craft show scene for many years. As part of our outreach for crafters, we create this semiannual list of indie craft shows in the Midwest and within driving distance of the Midwest! This list is for makers who want to branch out to new markets, but also for shoppers who are up for a road trip! Our list of fall and holiday craft shows will go up in August. If we missed any events, add them in the comments section.

Vendor applications for our three affiliated craft shows are now open: Craftin’ Outlaws, Crafty Mart and Crafty Supermarket!

Know any other indie craft shows that should be on our list? Add them in the comments!

City Guides

The Crafty Guide to Pittsburgh

It’s hard to find a city much craftier than Pittsburgh: It boasts one of the longest-running indie craft shows in the Midwest and is home to a wonderful ecosystem of shows, shops and artisans. We asked the illustrious Al Hoff — the founder of Googly Eye University and the recipient of the 2017 Midwest Craft Con Memorial Fun Run Craft for the Cure Lifetime Achievement Award — to write her definitive guide to crafty stuff in the Steel City, and this is it.

Who will be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in February 2018? You’ll have to be at Midwest Craft Con to find out! 

CRAFTY STORES

Wildcard
4209 Butler St., Pittsburgh, PA 15201
It’s a craft fair in a store! This charming shop has everything you need in greeting cards, paper supplies, jewelry, books, artwork, doodads, T-shirts and more. Special emphasis on Pittsburgh-area crafters.

The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh
1635 McFarland Road, Mount Lebanon, PA 15216
You can’t this big barn-shaped store just outside Pittsburgh, which provides a marketplace for local crafters and artists, selling everything from jewelry to housewares. The big space also serves as an arts and cultural center with a gallery, classrooms and a cafe.

Society for Contemporary Craft
2100 Smallman St., Pittsburgh, PA 15222
The decades-old space present contemporary art in craft media. Offers exhibitions of national and international artists in its gallery space, as well as classes, hands-on activities and a retail store. Located in the Strip District, which offers dozens of specialty food stores, everything from local sausage to fresh tortillas.

Commonwealth Press
691 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon, PA 15228
The go-top spot when locals need a snarky T-shirt — to buy, or have made. Pittsburgh-proud rules here, with fun sports tees for the black-and-gold teams, but also shirts that celebrate neighborhoods, bridges and Pittsburgh’s infamous parking chair.

PLACES FOR MAKERS

Tech Shop
5423 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Need to use a laser cutter or a 3-D printer. Gotta do some milling, welding, soldering or CAD? Need to learn how? Tech Shop is an open-access workshop which offers both classes and worker space, because making stuff isn’t all pink yarn and greeting cards.

Prototype
460 Melwood Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213
The newly opened female-run feminist makerspace provides ground-level entry for folks looking to get creative, or learn how to be. Classes and open studio time available. Crazy cheap memberships, and open to all.

Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse
214 N. Lexington Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15208
It’s the bargain bin of your dreams — a huge store filled with well-organized donated craft and assorted materials just waiting to be transformed into something else. Paper, fabric, plastic widgets, bits of wood, tiny toys, broken trophies and so on.

Artists Image Resource
518 Foreland St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212
The place for DIY screen-printing, lithograph and letterpress. Stop by on Tuesday and Thursday nights and learn how to do it. Then come back and make posters, greetings cards, T-shirts or whatever you want. AIR supplies the equipment and mentoring, you bring the ink.

CRAFT SHOWS

Handmade Arcade
Pittsburgh’s first and largest indie craft fair. Started in 2004 with less than 50 vendors, Handmade Arcade’s annual show now features more than 150 vendors and a Hands-On Handmade area for interactive crafting and demos. The next show is Dec. 2, 2017!

I Made It! Market
This long-running indie craft fair is nomadic, popping up in unused spaces several times a year. IMI offers shows tied to events as well as holidays, including Valentine’s Day and the winter shopping season.

Three Rivers Arts Festival
Held in downtown Pittsburgh in early June, TRAF features not only an arts-and-crafts marketplace, but also ancillary gallery shows, family activities, outdoor art (often eco-conscious) and a variety of nationally known musical acts.

A Fair in the Park
An outdoor family-friendly arts-and-craft fair held every September, in lovely Mellon Park (formerly the huge front lawn of a Pittsburgh industrialist) adjacent to the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. A great way to meet arts and artisans while enjoying the (hopefully) sunny weather.

VINTAGE

Jerry’s Records
2136 Murray Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Deejays and musicians come from around the world to shop at this massive vinyl emporium with the budget prices. It’s a Pittsburgh institution, and well located in the Squirrel Hill shopping district where you can supplement 12-inch purchases with baked goods, books and cheap Asian food.

Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer
This bi-annual vintage fair is a don’t-miss affair, featuring local vendors setting up drool-worthy displays of clothing, knick-knacks, vinyl, housewares, books and more. Often paired with a preview cocktail night, this is a be-fabulous and be-social shopping event.

Hey Betty / Eons Fashion Antique
5890 and 5850 Ellsworth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232
These two long-running shops, located a couple of blocks apart in Shadyside, offer an amazing selection of vintage clothing. Everything you need from vintage evening wear and kicky 1960s beach togs, to jewelry and assorted accessories.

Who New Retro Mod Decor
5156 Butler St., Pittsburgh, PA 15201
A well-curated collection of vintage furniture, housewares, art and knick-knacks. The stock leans toward mid-century, but you’ll never know what you’ll find.

CRAFTY HANGOUTS

East End Brewing
147 Julius St., Pittsburgh, PA 15206
A friendly brew pub where one can quaff on its signature Big Hop pale ale, plus seasonal beers. It’s a popular place for events such as Crafts and Drafts, which pairs a mini-marketplace with fresh pours.

Biddle’s Escape
401 Biddle Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15221
In a sea of bland chain coffee shops, local joints like this are to be treasured. Funky decor, friendly service, hot and cold drinks, plus pastries and panini. Basically, all you need.

Kelly’s Bar and Lounge
6012 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206
This well-preserved neighborhood bar has everything you want in an old-school tavern: neon sign, glass-block windows, cozy booths and a wooden bar. Cocktails are cheap, the mac-and-cheese is a must, and in warmer weather, take the fun times to the backyard patio.

Apteka
4606 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Vegan restaurants don’t need to be bland salads and blocks of tofu. Apteka transforms traditional Eastern European comfort food, like pierogies, into unique and tasty vegan fare. Add in an inventive cocktail program with housemade shrubs and syrups, and it’s a great evening out.

Need to take a road trip to check out Pittsburgh for yourself? Time your trip to a local indie craft show and make a whole weekend of it! 

News · Resources

2017 Fall + Holiday Craft Shows around the Midwest

Midwest Craft Con comes just once a year, but we are deeply rooted in the DIY craft show scene all year round. This list of 2017 Midwest craft shows and fairs is for makers who want to branch out to new markets, but also for shoppers who are up for a road trip! If we missed any events, add them in the comments section.

And don’t forget to save the date for Midwest Craft Con, returning Feb. 16-18, 2018, featuring Kathy Cano Murillo, Gemma Correll and Kelley Deal! Tickets are on sale now!

us midwest, vintage map, craft shows

News · Resources

Spring + Summer 2017 Midwest Craft Shows

Midwest Craft Con comes just once a year, but we are deeply rooted in the DIY craft show scene. This list of Midwest craft shows (and shows within driving distance) is for makers who want to branch out to new markets, but also for shoppers who are up for a road trip! We’ll also put together a list of fall and holiday craft shows in August. If we missed any events, add them in the comments section.

Vendor applications for our three affiliated craft shows are now open: Craftin’ Outlaws, Crafty Mart and Crafty Supermarket!

News

Al Hoff of Handmade Arcade on Drinking with Martha Stewart

Handmade Arcade (HA), founded in 2004, is Pittsburgh’s first and largest independent craft fair. Now in its 12th year, HA brings innovative crafters and progressive do-it-yourself designers to sell, their handmade, locally produced and offbeat wares at a bustling marketplace. HA is highly anticipated event that attracts more than 9,000 attendees in one day, providing craftspeople and artists working outside mainstream fine arts sectors with a grassroots, high-visibility venue to sell wares, build community, network and share their artistic practice. Handmade Arcade is run by a collective of creative Pittsburghers who have helped to shape and bolster Pittsburgh’s independent craft scene over the past twelve years. The group’s founders — who, along with new volunteers, still run the event today — were inspired to organize a craft fair of Pittsburgh’s own that would tap into a national movement and provide a welcoming venue for artists and shoppers to come together.

At Midwest Craft Con, Handmade Arcade members will be giving a Craft Show Booth Critiques workshop — email Tricia a picture of your booth to be considered for a live critique during the session! We asked founding HA member Al Hoff (bottom left in the photo above) a few questions:

Why do you do what you do?

​Honestly, I watch a lot of bad TV and I like to also DO something while I’m destroying my mind. So, I do little self-amusing crafty things.​

What’s your earliest crafty memory?

​Free-form, free-range childhood in late 1960s, early 1970s San Francisco. We did a lot of whatever, hippie-dippie stuff — finger-painting, nailing things to boards, gluing macaroni on paper, god’s eyes, sand candles, decoupaged bottles and cans, and turning six-pack rings into Christmas wreaths. ​

What crafty personality would you most like to get a drink with?

​Martha Stewart, just to see whether or not she’d pick up the tab. ​

What’s your favorite craft/business book?

​I’ll have to go way back, and cite random books I had as a kid — books that encouraged kids to do crafts, especially things with ordinary household objects or trash. Turn a toilet-paper roll into a dog! Make a necklace from pull-tabs. Fold paper into a battleship. I didn’t do any of those things so much as I enjoyed seeing all the potential.

What are your goals for 2016?

​I’m getting organized. No, really — this is the year.​