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From our buddies at Edgewater Workbench:

Edgewater Workbench is looking for local artisans interested in selling their work. We are getting ready to open our doors and need to stock a small retail area of the shop. Please send a link to your online store/portfolio or 3 photos of work you’d like to sell at our shop to

Edgewater Workbench is a new community workshop and 3D print center located at Broadway and Thorndale Ave. We will offer rentable workspace for woodworking, metalworking, and any other projects you’ve got, WiFi, coffee, and a collaborative environment. We’ll also have 3D printers and a laser cutter available to make prints to order, and designers on staff to help bring your ideas into reality.


Why did I apply and become a member of the Chicago Craft Mafia?  I wanted to network with other creative entrepreneurs.  I wanted a forum to ask business questions and get a range of answers.  While there are scores of business groups across the Chicago region, the Chicago Craft Mafia is unique in that we are all involved in the craft industry. Many of us have full-time or part-time jobs on the side, but our craft and our business is our primary focus.

I joined the Chicago Craft Mafia in 2009.  While my intention was to develop my little Etsy shop, I was also developing a growing interest in project designing – designing patterns and products for craft magazines, books, and companies.   Everyone in the Chicago Craft Mafia has been incredibly supportive of this dual path and have offered invaluable advice and connections along the way.

The other week I had the opportunity to submit a project design to a large media organization, but I needed stellar photos.  I’ve been getting along fine with my little digital point-and-shoot, but it had recently died.  I had this fancy DSLR camera, but I didn’t have a clue as how to use it.  I didn’t even have the manual as the camera was used.  So, what to do?  I called upon fellow Chicago Craft Mafia member Michelle Kaffko of Organic Headshots and Snarky Sleeves for a tutorial.  Yep, that’s me in the photo practicing what I had learned (photo by Michelle).

My time commitment to the organization has ebbed and flowed over the years.  We each participate in committees related to our interests and skill sets which in the past included organizing the DIY Trunk Show. I’ve especially enjoyed developing the Craft Rackets which will resume in the fall.  As a trained teacher, it’s a natural fit for me to develop educational programming.  I also like attending the Rackets and meeting other business owners.

Every month the members meet for a few hours to discuss Mafia-related matters, share upcoming show deadlines and discuss what’s new for each of us.  It’s a great way to set personal and professional goals and feel that there is some sort of accountability.  As a full-time professor, artist, project and knitwear designer, as well as mother, I find the balance to be more than a tad challenging.  It’s incredibly easy for me to let things slide and remain static, so these meetings have been an immensely valuable format for me to keep myself moving in a forward direction.

If any of this seems like it would be a good fit for you and your business, then take a moment to fill in the application.  The deadline is June 30th.

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The Chicago Craft Mafia is looking for new members, and you just might have what it takes.

After almost 10 years as a craft-based business collaborative organization, The Chicago Craft Mafia recently handed over the hugely successful DIY Trunk Show to another organization to keep the yearly show going strong.  Now, the Mafia can focus all of its efforts on our founding mission of supporting arts and crafts entrepreneurship in our community.

We’re opening the doors for new members, who will have a significant say in where the group goes in the future and what new programs, opportunities, and successes we’ll have on the horizon.

As a part of the Mafia, you can affect Chicago culture by promoting handcrafted goods, educating communities about the importance of artisan commerce, and helping new crafters take their hobbies and businesses to the next level.

Members benefit from increased media exposure, national networking opportunities, and a support of like-minded individuals.  Mafia members promote and support each other and other growing and emerging businesses, foster entrepreneurial relationships, gain professional development, business info from your peers, new skills, alliances with other arts-based groups, and more.

To be considered for the Chicago Craft Mafia, complete the application here.

Our Mission:

The Chicago Craft Mafia is a collaborative and non-competitive organization of independent crafting business owners.  We work together to both foster our own individual entrepreneurship and support the greater crafting community.  Members of the group pride ourselves on the design, integrity and workmanship of our products and the ethics of our business practices.

Our goal is to increase these businesses’ retail and/or wholesale exposure, by abiding by a Do-It-Yourself code of ethics.

The CCM is a local chapter of the national Craft Mafia.

The revolution will be crafted.

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The Craft Emergency Relief Fund is an organization that provides a safety net for artists / craftspersons in the event they experience a disaster.  They also provide great information to help prevent or minimize potential disasters.

To better serve our community they are looking for feedback.  Please take 5 minutes to fill in this important survey.

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Applications for the Bloomington Handmade Market are open now through September 15! Visit to get more info and to apply.

The fall event will take place on Saturday, November 10 from 10am-5pm at the Bloomington Convention Center, located downtown at 3rd and College in Indiana.

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Just 9 more days to apply to the DIY Trunk Show! Click HERE for the application. Once you’re done, you should definitely check out the folks at Ravenswood Remix!

This is a unique event aimed to unite and connect forward thinking individuals while promoting the sale of re-purposed arts, furniture, jewlery and anything else under the sun.

To display and sell your art and goods at Ravenswood Remix™, you must use recycled, found or re-purposed materials in the creation of your goods.

BOOTH PRICING: $225 for 10′x10′

Plus $25 City of Chicago Vending License which includes both Saturday & Sunday. There are also a limited number of premium space upgrades available for an additional $100.

To apply, register for a free account with Zapplication and submit your application, five images of your work and a $20 application fee by July 29, 2012.

Paper applications are available upon request by sending an email to

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We at the Mafia understand what a wonderful thing it is to purchase locally made goods, and how beneficial to the economy it is. Which is why we were saddened to receive this email from Local First Chicago:

On the heels of getting approval for a number of supercenter Wal-Marts in Chicago, Wal-Mart is preparing to roll out dozens of smaller “Neighborhood Markets”. A Wal-Mart has already been announced at Presidential Towers. Now there is a proposal to locate a store on the property known as “Broadway at Surf” in Lakeview.

Local First Chicago feels that neighborhoods need to understand all of the impacts of developments such as this and that citizens need to make their voices heard. Two meetings have been scheduled and if you would like to learn more about this issue, we encourage you to participate.

Wal-Mart will meet with the Lakeview Community
Hosted by Southeast Lakeview Neighbors
Monday, April 11, 2011 – 7:00 pm
Wellington Church
615 W. Wellington
Parking located at 3030 N. Broadway

A Community Discussion of the Proposed Wal-Mart
Hosted by Belmont Harbor Neighbors
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 – 7:30 pm
Mt. Carmel’s Casey Hall
728 W. Belmont

Learn more about this issue and take action:

Read about the Impact of Big Box Retailers

Sign a petition regarding the Lakeview/Lincoln Park Wal-Mart

Join the Facebook page: Stop Lakeview/Lincoln Park Wal-Mart

We hope you’ll take a moment to find out how damaging big box retailers can be (if you don’t already know) and will take action to say NO to Walmart, thereby helping keep handmade alive in Chicago!

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I love the TED talks!  Here is one from MAKE Magazine publisher Dale Dougherty entitled “We Are Makers.”  What great inspiration!

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What’s a Swap-O-Rama-Rama? Well, it’s a longish story, but the short version is that it’s a one-day event where you can learn hands-on how to recycle and upcycle clothing. Volunteers with expertise in screen printing, sewing, jewelry-making, knitting, crocheting and more are there to help you learn or you can go solo, making use of provided sewing machines and other supplies.


Swap-O-Rama-Rama screen printing demo

This year, SORR Chicago will be held at the Waldorf School in Roger’s Park (1300 W. Loyola) on Saturday, Feb 12 from 9am to 5pm.

The catch? You have to bring a bag of usable clothing and make a donation (suggested amount is $20)… But you get to leave with as many creations as you can carry.

Get full details at the website.

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Applications for Renegade Brooklyn are now open and only up until March 4th so apply early!  You can apply here

Renegade Craft FairBrooklyn

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