Club shows and coffee shops have been where you’d find the intricate, whimsical work of Asheville’s indie crafters.
Now they’re getting together for The Big Crafty, the community’s big coming out party.
“The difference between indie craft and the wider world of craft is that indie craft is more accessible,” said Brandy Bourne, who refashions jewelry out of vintage pieces and creates the hipster “Ladies of Punk” coloring books.
“I heard someone describe indie crafters as people that spend a lot of time on computers,” she said. “There’s a desire to connect more with things without having to be a career crafts person. For me, it’s more of a fun outlet than a primary source of income.”
Indie craft, the subterranean cousin of the fine craft industry, is emerging nationally as a recognized art form, much like “outsider art” became mainstream decades ago in the fine arts world.
But The Big Crafty isn’t just jumping on the indie craft bandwagon, organizers contend.
Asheville has craft and indie “cred” in its bones (there are more than 100 Asheville-based sellers on etsy.com, an indie craft Web site).
The Big Crafty’s soul mates are the craft fetes Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn and San Francisco, the Bazaar Bizarre in Boston and Los Angeles and the Indie Craft Experience in Atlanta.
The Big Crafty includes established artists such as Suzie Millions, a Fairview resident whose book “The Complete Book of Retro Crafts” (Sterling Publishing, $14.95) was released in January. Also showing work is the Knoxville, Tenn., letterpress print shop Yee-Haw Industries.
“It’s really hard to pigeonhole what indie craft is, but you know it when you see it. There’s a certain edge to it,” said crafter Justin Rabuck (painting and woodcuts). “Some of it will be familiar to people knee deep in that art scene. Hopefully to the rest of Asheville and the world, it will be an eye-opening big surprise that will leave everyone with a big smile.”