ORK Goes Global!

I wrote about Ork Posters in a previous post and was excited to see they’ll be making a trip across the pond in October to attend the first Renegade Craft Fair in London! It’s fun following the progress of this small company that stays away from selling out to larger companies and sustains itself on just a few excellent designs.

The craft fair will take place at the Old Truman Brewery, a place in East London I visited a few times during my semester there. The indoor showcase will feature the best indie-craft and DIY artisans from around the world. Shoppers can anticipate an array of independently designed jewelry, clothing, paper goods, home and garden goods, posters, artwork, plush objects, and bath and body products.

Oh, how I miss London…

The Old Truman Brewery, taken on a visit to Brick Lane

The Renegade Craft Fair differs from traditional arts and craft fairs by focusing on DIY and indie-craft culture. Each individual fair is juried from hundreds of applications to feature a range of emergent designers producing original and handmade goods in a wide variety of media. Fairs take place each year in Austin, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.

You can check out their blog here.

From London to Toledo

Credit: Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Above: Madison Avenue, Toledo, OH, circa 1918.

I’m spending the summer working for the Toledo Blade in Toledo, Ohio as a reporting intern. Friends and family keep asking me, “From London to Toledo–why?” and I can honestly say that although Toledo’s no London, no New York, I like it here. I get to write every day and work with amazing people. I’m getting solid reporting experience, and am finding out a lot about the city while doing it.

It was Memorial Day Weekend when my parents helped me move in to my new apartment (which is HUGE, by  the way). When we drove up to the parking lot in our Target-stuffed Suburban, dusk just starting to fall, I had mixed feelings about the whole thing. The building didn’t look all that nice from the outside. And there was absolutely nothing going on, absolutely no one on the streets, which was kind of eerie. The city is somewhat of a ghost town– when business people leave at 6 p.m., the downtown empties out. After work hours, it becomes nearly impossible to find a place to eat, except for a handful of scattered restaurants and bars. Sundays are just a lost cause.

There’s not much socially going on in Toledo, but there is always news.

Toledo is a depressed city. Once bustling and prosperous, the decline of the automotive industry and the white flight epidemic left it deflated. But everywhere, still, you see remnants of the past– beautiful Victorian houses from the 1900s, a grand theater, even hot dog joints that were opened in the 20s and haven’t changed much since. It’s interesting seeing the juxtaposition of majestic architecture and spreading urban decay, and I’m intrigued by this idea of what Toledo used to be.

I’ve been scrolling through the Toledo Library‘s archives of old photos just to get a sense of it. Pictured above is a street right in the downtown, Madison Avenue. It’s hard to imagine so many people once crowded these streets, because today they’re almost always empty.

I’ll be posting more “then and now” pictures later.

This is the same street pictured above, Madison Avenue, today.