I’ve been a member of Depart-ment for over two years, and even designed the flyer for their last show.
They are closing down shop. It’s the end of an era. You will still see me at pitchfork this year, but read the press release for more details.
From their press release:
“After six years and nearly twenty shows we are giving DEPART-ment
a big kiss goodbye.
DEPART-ment has been an interesting learning experience for
all of those involved from organizers to makers to buyers.
We envisioned, created, and ran an innovative model (together
for new economy) for an arts and crafts fair heralding in a
new era of makers across the US and further. We are proud to
have been a part of the beginnings of new generations of indie
DIYers that include slews of other arts and crafts fairs,
organizations, magazines, and web presences such as DIY
Trunkshow, Renegade, Constructor, Handmade Detroit, MAKE,
Craft, Readymade, Etsy and so forth.
The short of it is that although DEPART-ment’s model was
innovative, it was also an incredible amount of work and time
particularly for the organizers. For the most part we have
broken even but sometimes we have even lost money on shows.
All of our work was on a volunteer basis. Still we stayed
committed to our original intent of creating an arts & crafts
fair that was low risk for new makers to be involved, that
didn’t necessarily require the same time commitment for the
maker to participate in, and was set up like an actual store
with departments. As a result we have had well over 1000
makers involved and we have seen folks go from not being a
maker to having a successful business as a maker.
Since 2003, lots of things have changed in all of our lives.
We now live in Indiana, Ohio, Belize, Oak Park & Chicago.
We all have our own businesses, some of us are back in grad
school. Though we all have been committed to the DEPART-ment
model, none of us really have the time, effort, or finances
currently to continue and hence we kiss DEPART-ment goodbye.
That said, we would like to thank everyone who has stepped up
to participate by helping us run shows, by participating as a
new maker, a seasoned maker, a shopper or otherwise has
supported a coming together for new economy. We have met and
worked closely with literally hundreds of area, national and
some international makers. We have drawn much inspiration and
friendship from it. We wish you all well in your pursuit of
creating, making, re-purposing, and inventing your own goods,
businesses and lives as we continue to do so in our own lives.
This year the arts and crafts fair at Pitchfork Music Festival
(in the tennis courts by Chirp Record Fair) will be run by a
new entity, Coterie Chicago. Coterie Chicago will be a bit
more in the traditional arts and crafts fair mode (not set up
like a store as DEPART-ment was). See the website for more
information and to sign up for Coterie’s email list:
Take care and may health and happiness follow…
from the organizers of DEPART-ment”