Once upon a time in Atlanta, Shannon and Christy were vendors at a monthly craft market called Kraftwork at Young Blood Gallery in Grant Park. It was the first time they'd ever met, but by the end of the evening they had decided to make a trade, a necklace made by Christy for a shirt by Shannon, and to keep in touch. A few weeks later they ran into each other at Sevananda, the local natural foods store in Little Five Points. During this chance encounter they decided to set up their booths next to each other at Chomp N Stomp in Cabbagetown, where they were both selling their handcrafted creations the following weekend. By the end of the festival, they were most definitely friends ready to make some big things happen the following year.
In January 2005, they set out to organize an indie craft market in Atlanta with their friend Susan (she later moved to Brooklyn). Inspired by the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago and Stitch in Austin, Shannon and Christy wanted a market where they could sell their creations in their hometown. On the patio of Elmyr in Little Five Points, they came up with the name, Indie Craft Experience (ICE). The first event was in June at Eyedrum and drew 800+ attendees. And so it began.
Today, the Indie Craft Experience produces events throughout the year: Summer ICE (June), ICE Holiday Shopping Spectacular (November), Salvage (April and September), ICE Weekly (various times throughout the year), Craft Escape (coming in early 2015) and the ICE Pop-Up Shop (November and December). Advocates for handcrafted, in 2012 ICE adopted vintage as the other part of its mission with the launch of Salvage vintage market.
ICE's mission is to provide opportunity to craft and vintage sellers. Educating shoppers on why they should buy handcrafted is a big component as well (Why? Because you are using your money to directly support someone using their talents to make a living, instead of a big box store and a chain of middle-men. What you buy will be unique instead of contributing to the sameness threatening to dominate society today). Encouraging people to craft is another important aspect of ICE's mission through hands-on activities at our events, ICE Summer Camp for Kids, Craft Escape and bringing Make N Takes to other events such as Art on the BeltLine, Maiedae Mixer, Maker Faire Atlanta and the Decatur Book Fest. While their original goal was to create a market where they could sell their own creations, ICE has grown so much that Shannon and Christy barely have time to craft anymore, let alone sell at events. That's ok though. They like what ICE has become.
ICE takes place twice a year: Summer ICE in June and the ICE Holiday Shopping Spectacular is the weekend before Thanksgiving in November. We feature very talented crafters, artists and makers from all over the country with an emphasis on the Southeast. Because of our love of vintage, we always have a great sampling of vintage vendors at ICE as well. A wonderful selection of local food vendors, DJ Zano and swag bags for the first 250 attendees each day round out the event!
Photography on the site is by LeahAndMark.com, Bonnie J. Heath, Step Right Up Photo, Isadora Pennington and ICE, unless otherwise noted. Video is by Hyper 9 Media.