Midwest Living Review
The Detroit Urban Craft Fair is not your grandmother's craft fair. There's no crocheted afghans or beaded stickpins to be found. Actually, if there are, they're made of locally sourced yarn culled from free-range sheep, and the stick pins would have been made from Petoskey stones and metals from the Detroit River. Rather, the DUCF is a juried event for a new era of artists who are both creative and, a key phrase for Detroiters, affordable. Stated simply, the DUCF's mission is to "elevate small craft business as an alternative to mass-produced wares during the holiday season." Sponsored by Handmade Detroit, an avid group of artists dedicated to supporting regional crafts people, the six-year-old fair is typically housed in entertainment venues around the city, most recently in the downtown Masonic Temple. The temple's dark wood paneling and creaky floors provide an atmospheric backdrop to the 85 vendors crowded into a 1940-style ballroom. Hordes of shoppers clamored to buy items like mitten-shaped Michigan potholders; whimsical, delicate earrings; or tequila-scented soap. There are dresses, hats, scarves and necklaces, each made with attention to detail and an edgy flair. And, most importantly, everything is made by hand. Entry is only $1 and the area offers plenty of free parking. For those who forgot to eat lunch, plenty of artisanal dining options like big crusty scones and individually brewed teas are available. Collectively, artists and organizers alike possess an independent joie de vivre that's a pleasing counterpoint to Detroit's oft-grim exterior.