Photo courtesy of Makers Collective
A decade ago, BJU grads Jen Moreau, Erin Godbey and Lib Ramos noticed that many talented artists in the Greenville area weren’t gaining traction, so they decided to do something about it.
“We wanted to draw some of this talent out into the spotlight and gather makers from all mediums under one roof,” says Ramos.
The result is one of the most anticipated festivals in the Upstate—the Indie Craft Parade. The juried art show and sale includes makers from across the country bringing their hand-crafted clothing, housewares, jewelry, furniture and food.
See Also: Around Greenville: Festivals and Events
Outgrowing their Space but not their Goals
Until two years ago, those who attended the Parade will remember lines that wrapped around the Huguenot Mill building. Last year’s event moved to the new Southern Bleachery development in Taylors Mill. The line to get in wasn’t as bad, but it still existed.
To accommodate the growing crowd, the 10th Indie Craft Parade will be held in Timmons Arena at Furman University. While the founders are thrilled with the event’s popularity, they don’t want the Parade to outgrow its usefulness.
Says Ramos: “A few years ago, we traveled to attend a show that had several hundred makers and it was eye-opening. It’s hard to process that much in one sitting, and it diminishes both the experience and the value of the work that is present. Our 2019 festival is larger than ever at 116 artists. While we have room to add more vendors in our new space, our primary goal is always the success of our artists. We never want to grow to a point that would jeopardize their success.”
The Indie Craft Parade doesn’t just bring to light new artists. Ramos says it also “helps us educate our community about the value of items crafted by hand. It brings to the forefront skilled trades and traditional arts that aren’t often part of our everyday interactions.”
The maker community is tight knit, and the Indie Craft Parade is no exception. “Over the past 10 years, we’ve met and worked with some amazing people,” says Ramos. “We have sponsors, participating artists and individuals who volunteer and support our event who are now an integral part of our community. We couldn’t hold the Indie Craft Parade without the support of the people around us.”
Finding BJU Connections
In the 2019 Indie Craft Parade, a dozen vendors are BJU alumni:
- Karen Schipper
- Jen Moreau — Dapper Ink
- Matt Moreau — Dapper Ink; The Landmark Project
- Calvin Hall — Filament Co.
- Julie Riffel — Spectrum Handcrafted
- Annie Koelle
- Chris Koelle
- Erin Godbey
- Lewis Carl (also BJU faculty)
- Mark and Kristen Studdard — Makari Designs
- Rebecca Hughes — The Fibery
Another connection to BJU is through Bellis Copy Center. According to Ramos, signs, posters and other collateral for the Indie Craft Parade have been printed at Bellis on the BJU campus since the beginning. “This time of year, they see a lot of us, and I think they still have a thank you note up that we wrote to them a few years back,” Ramos says.
The Parade is open for shoppers and browsers 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Sept. 14 and 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sept. 15. General admission is $6 at the door.