More than 100 vendors may provide one-stop shopping this holiday season as the Detroit Urban Craft Fair returns to the Masonic Temple Friday-Sunday.
Founded by Carey Gustafson in 2005, the Detroit Urban Craft Fair serves as a central hub for the craft and “maker” community in metro Detroit.
“There was a handful of us gals… and a lot of us started bonding on old school crafting and kind of adapting it into a new spin for a new (modern) structure,” Gustafson said. “Several other big craft movements were happening around the country… so we thought let’s start one here.”
Gustafson said it wasn’t hard to find the “creative crafting” community she was looking for, and after a short MySpace campaign they pulled together enough vendors for a first show.
“That first one had about 50 (vendors). From the success from that first year of just the excitement and the draw, we couldn’t wait to build upon it…,” she said.
After spending its first years bouncing around large theatre venues that include the Filmore and Majestic theaters, Gustafson said she officially called the Masonic Temple home in 2010.
“… We loved the size. We love the gorgeous building and the community there,” she said. “Once we landed in the drill hall at the Masonic it all just clicked.”
The Masonic Temple recently celebrated the 100-year anniversary of its 1922 cornerstone ceremony, which was the largest public gathering in the city’s history.
Shayla Johnson is the founder of textile and print design business Scarlet Crane Creations, moved from Chicago nine years ago and became a vendor with Detroit Urban Art Fair shortly after.
“I knew that there were a lot of artist communities sort of growing, thriving, in Detroit at the time and I found a lot of makers…they are very much a part of the ecosystem in Detroit,” Johnson said.
Gustafson said the craft fair currently has a cap of just over 100 vendors, with 30% allocated to new vendor slots each year.
“We decided to keep it at just around 100 plus vendors and to not expand. We like that size and we like that our vendors all do very well at this show,” she said.
Bailey Brown is a first-time vendor at this year’s fair and said she’s been a patron of the event for years.
“I always knew I wanted to start a shop that had an educational focus…,” Brown said.
A graduate of Detroit’s College for Create Studies, Brown is a freelance scientific illustrator focusing on nature and animals.
“My online shop… officially launched in late 2019 and has been an ever-evolving passion project since,” she said. “… my main goal with my store is to inspire others to start curious.”
Of the 100 vendors, Gustafson said at least 80% of them are Michigan-based craft businesses with a small percentage coming from out-of-state.
Gustafson said Detroit Urban Craft Fair was forced into a virtual format during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a new website format that’s been made permanent.
“Now people can shop all of our vendors every year on our website…there is a vendor list and a sponsor list people can scroll through…,” she said. “(You) can see what they’re going to be bringing to the show and what they’re doing in the coming year.”
Detroit Urban Craft Fair 2022
500 Temple St., Detroit
6-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $10 Friday; $2-$5 Saturday-Sunday