Craft fairs, to my mind, are really a small scale look into the future of micro-manufacturing. There are people there with a genuine flair and talent, turning material into products to be sold at a local level (and everyone should make more local purchases, not just food) and becoming an entrepreneur in the process. These are the sort of people who will be making designs and generating fans who buy their work in the future. The fact that they have to make the products is not where their value lies.
At the other end there are a lot of people who have made things from patterns picked up online (knitted beards as an example) and generic bead jewellery. These sort of people I don’t see taking their craft beyond a hobby and, as micro-manufacturing becomes more and more something available in the household, their commodity as a manufacturer becomes less valuable.
I’m not suggesting 3D printers are going to be printing wool or knitting any time soon but sites giving away standard patterns for crafts already exist, sites like Folksy and Etsy make hand crafted items easy to get and new sites like Ponoko are springing up for printable items.
For some reason there was also a very nature-y theme running throughout everyone’s products, with foxes and badgers taking center stage on a lot of products and all having a very ‘craft fair-y’ feel. This brought up thoughts which covered by part of the Future Human talk about copyright and piracy. If you’re interested it may be worth having a read of the full debrief especially this white paper [PDF].
Before leaving the market I decided I might as well buy something, though with no shopping agenda nothing particularly grabbed me, so I decided on just getting a couple of drinks coasters from Superfumi as seen in the image above.
I’m keeping the beer one (despite not currently drinking beer because of my diet) and sending the other to my coffee drinking friend in Germany.
I finished the night at a nearby Thai place where I had a couple of vegetarian dishes that were both very, very tasty. I’d recommend the Krew Krob.