Supporting Local, Shopping Local: An event that combines crafts, bands & local businesses to showcase the rad people that make Milwaukee.

11 December 2014

Thank you to everyone who came out on Sunday to make Hover Craft possible.  This was by far the best year yet and we are all so excited to be able to continue to connect the makers and shakers of Milwaukee to your fans.  We will be back again next year and we can't wait!

If you are interested in vending, we usually send out our call for applications in August.  We do not accept early applications.  We announce this call through our Instagram account, Facebook and Twitter.  If you would like to receive an email notification, you can sign up to receive a newsletter with information on vending opportunities in the Milwaukee area through

If you are interested in shopping again, mark your calendar!  Hover Craft will be on Sunday, December 6th, 2015 location TBD.

Happy Holidays everyone!  Thank you again.  Seriously.  Best year yet!

06 December 2014

Vendor Spotlight: Jess Goehner of Directive!

These gorgeous bags are the handiwork of Jess Goehner, the mastermind behind the label Directive, a line of bags and accessories for men and women - each made with unique, hand painted canvas and faux leather.  

Jess has been sewing since she was a little girl and she had always thought she would go to school for fashion design.  In high school, she changed directions and headed toward fine art.  A few years later, her black army surplus messenger bag was on its last legs and Hover Craft's deadline for call for vendors was nearing -- she became inspired, bought fabric and made the two samples she submitted to Hover Craft. 

Hover Craft, of course, accepted her.  Those bags were amazing.  This was in 2012.

Jess is one of the artists we are insanely happy to have back consecutive years.  Her ability to diversify her product line, while acquiring new skills in order to consistently offer a higher quality item is pretty great.  She is one of the makers in Milwaukee Hover Craft was able to witness the birth of her line and then watch it as she continues to develop it. 

Jess explains, "From the beginning Directive was fully hands-on for me.  I draft all of my bag designs by hand and I hand paint all of the canvas as well.  My hope is for Directive goods to be special to someone because of the personal, wabi-sabi of each item.  In a dream world I would make all my own hardware - though I am currently talking to some local metal smiths about producing custom hardware designs with them.  Directive is also constantly moving forward, as a self-taught maker I've had a lot of mistakes, but the feedback I get from customers and the pep-talks I get from other makers and friends really keep me going."

Lately Directive has been expanding into furniture as a collaboration with Hounds Tooth Wood Werk, who will also be at Hover Craft tomorrow. 

"I see mass consumption slowly dwindling - anyone can find a candle, some earrings, a scarf, or a bag from a chain store.  But the originality and quality of these items is also dwindling.  I think the world is growing keener on durable, handmade goods again especially if we know the source of these items.  To me this means that all of the makers in Hover Craft are in a perfect situation to appeal to the public and help us move away from mass produced items and get involved in our community again," says Jess.

The four ladies who put on Hover Craft couldn't agree more.  See you all tomorrow for the 5th annual Hover Craft.  Thank you for following along these past few weeks - we are excited to show you all what we have in store.

05 December 2014

Vendor Spotlight: Christina Ward of Kick out the Jams

I met up with Chris this fall during apple season.  I called to see if I could follow her around and take her photo while she harvested apples.  I was picturing hauling off to the country, picturesque images of an apple orchard, my fingers were crossed for horses -- but when the call came the apple tree was just a couple blocks from my house behind a church.

The apple tree was beautiful and hanging heavy with fruit.  Chris was visibly excited.  She had come across the tree on a dog walk through the neighborhood and went through all of the proper channels of asking permission to pick the fruit.  After calls to the parish and finding out who exactly to talk to and waiting to see -- finally she had been granted permission and the apples were perfectly ready.  Then as she picked, she talked about the way the tree had been espaliered and how someone must have really loved it.  She filled her baskets up with apples, skillfully inspecting them as she pulled them down and giggled and made jokes as she did it. 

I loved that she found that tree.  Being able to utilize what goes unacknowledged is a great skill many people lack.  Or are completely skeptical about it - If the apples sit and rot every year, there must be something wrong with them, right?  Actually, the answer is probably not. 

"I'm making a direct statement as to how we prepare and consume foods.  When I pick a neglected apple tree that looks 'pretty' and make apple butter, apple pie jam, etc; I've given that tree a value where the owners find no value at all. Hopefully, these small acts of making and teaching will help people connect with their own place, history, and sense of what their neighborhood is," explains Chris.

I find constant inspiration from Chris Ward.  I find that her experience is deep in aspects of the creative community where I am just scratching the surface.  She is a source of information, encouragement and I love that she shares her knowledge with others.  Basically, I could write a book on all that she has taught me and if she wrote a book on everything she knows, I would be first in line to buy it.

Her business, Kick Out the Jams, is an extension of all of this.  When you see her at Hover Craft, you will find a woman up on her feet offering samples of her jams and jellies while explaining exactly what you are tasting, how she made it, where she found the fruit and any other little interesting tidbit she encountered while finding, harvesting, cleaning, cooking and finally putting up the preserves she makes.  You might think that she is talkative, but more than that she is conscious of her craft and the story of her food is much different than what you will find on your supermarket shelf.  The best way for Chris to communicate this, is to tell you why it is all so unique.

Kick Out the Jams is Chris' full time business and her market season is more diversified than anyone else I know.  I asked her what her answer was to being able to make money through her craft - the main reason why many makers hesitate before leaving their full time jobs, and sometimes never do - and she candidly answered:
"Making money is totally separate from my thinking.  Money becomes a currency of criticism; if people get value from what I make...they'll pay for it.  My goal is to create real and tangible value. To create something that either they can't conceive/execute themselves or something so unique as to be a product of my own self. I think as a maker, we all struggle on the 'getting paid' portion of the program.  I do think that accessibility is critically important.  How can we ask people to support creative works with their hard earned money if we put up barriers? Those barriers can be simple access to viewing art/craft/handmade to high prices. Its my job to communicate the value, more importantly, its my job to create the value."
It is in that value I am in awe of her business.  You really won't be able to find what she makes anywhere else.

Chris was originally taught to put up food by her grandmother on a farm outside of Black River Falls, Wisconsin.  She went on to further her knowledge through training at the UW-Agriculture Extension.  She uses a combination of American and European techniques.  "Because I've studied the chemistry and food biology of preservation, I can take these historic techniques and update them for modern food safety practices.  I work with local and seasonal fruits and vegetables.  This often means that if I make a jam and it produces 12 jars; that's it.  I can't make more until next year's harvest." 


Featured Vendor: Anja Notanja Sieger

Anja Notanja Sieger is a performance writer who composes letters and poetry for people, sometimes with drawings and other art. She comes to it by asking people what they want and promises to fulfill their dreams.

Growing up in Milwaukee, Anja moved to Kansas City in 2005 for college. She says that by 2010 she was broke, ill and missed the world's only freshwater inland sea. So she came back and have been here ever since.

As a writer, she has found success here in Milwaukee. Most notably, she was chosen as the 7th Pfister narrator where records the story of the hotel, the workers and its clientele. Anja is more than a writer. She straddles the line between writing and art and is interested in exploring even more.

"I'm not interested in being one thing and I am also not interested in only making stuff in isolation. I want to serve as many people as possible. Collaboration always strengthens the artist by introcuding them to other people' imagination. Also, you can see where people's imagination is stopped up. I am an imagination doctor, people pay me to get an adjustment. When healing live on the spot, I let people name their own price because I'm one of those nice doctors."

Come and find Anja at Hover Craft this Sunday. Fill out a form, answer any extra questions Anja may have for you and come back after a few minutes to receive your personal request granted. Inspired by the customer first and then also other writers like Roald Dahl, David Sedaris, Dr. Suess and Maira Kalman, Anja will come up with something so special and so unique you'll be paying her again to try to top it. And then again. And she will. Because she is really, very good at what she does.

Vendor Spotlight: Mara & Gloria of Artery Ink

Artery Ink has been making waves in the creative community in Milwaukee since Mara and Gloria joined forces and started campaigning for healthier lifestyles through their art.  Together they make greeting cards, prints and tshirts inspired by their choices to live a healthier lifestyle.

"We have been artists for a long time, but it was only in the past few years that we really got into food, health and wellness.  We changed the way we ate and the way we lived and the results were amazing.  We were so inspired by this that we HAD to combine it with with our artwork in SOME way!  All of our cards and prints are wellness, health, and human body themed and they all have some fun wellness/nutritional facts on the back.  It's our way to spread wellness and share what we've learned about healthy food and the human body.  Our goal is to encourage other people to live healthier and become happier," explains Mara.

Artery Ink will have all sorts of new holiday cards just in time for Hover Craft!  They want to add something fun and different to the regular holiday shopping routine while encouraging people to stay healthy around the holidays! 

04 December 2014

Vendor Spotlight: Ellen Wagner of Eldenwa Designs

Meet one of Milwaukee's newest designers, Ellen Wagner of Eldenwa Designs.  Hailing from New York City, she has been building her accessory brand since 2010.  She specializes in creating fabric accessories and statement neckpieces from UPcycled jersey cotton tshirts.

"I started by making a piece for myself a few summers back.  I wanted something to wear over my bathing suit that wasn't the typical cover up.  I wore it out at the Mermaid Parade on Coney Island and got such a great response that I couldn't pass up the opportunity... plus I have a BA in Fashion Design and Merchandising and I always wanted to come up with a new product to sell," Ellen explains.

Since she has moved to Milwaukee, Ellen has been participating in markets all over the city.  "So far I have found that Milwaukee has a great little creative community once you get out there and connect with someone.  Once you connect with one person you quickly learn that the connection overlaps which makes it pretty easy to get involved and grow your network.  Everyone has welcomed me with open arms."

Ellen will have a variety of new designs for both men and women.  Make sure to stop by to welcome her to the city when you come to Hover Craft on Sunday!

Vendor Spotlight: Jenna Valoe of Rain and the River

Jenna Valoe has lived in Milwaukee her entire life surrounded by family.  And like much of Milwaukee, has witnessed the tradition of making do as it has been handed down. 

"I think the creative community here is founded on generations of people who were creative through their resourcefulness in daily living.  For example, as a child my grandpa would collect rocks from the shores of Lake Michigan, bring them home and make paint from them.  He'd use the paint to whitewash the neighbors fences and make a little money.  That sort of deep creative work ethic is inherent to the city, maybe the Midwest, and it's paved the way for all sorts of prosperous makers.  The current community has a genuine nostalgia and pride for Milwaukee as their home and use their craft as a way to reach out to the city and strengthen it.  It contains a lot of dreamers and talent, and people are being innovative in how they make a living," Jenna explains.

Her shop, Rain and the River reflects this time honored tradition of waste not, want not.  Her focus is on textiles for the home.  Every piece is constructed by her two hands in her home studio with an aim to create heirloom quality items that are durable, lasting and unique.

She says, "I’ve always been a little obsessed with home decor, specifically textiles. As a child, we moved a lot and the process of turning a new house into a our home was very magical to me. That
these things could bring so much comfort and familiarity to a space was pretty amazing.  When I made my first quilt a few years ago, it was like worlds colliding! It made so much sense to me to utilize my sewing skills in making home textiles. That passion combined with the realization that there was actually a market for handmade home decor really gave me the encouragement to start Rain and the River."
Jenna has been with Hover Craft from the very beginning.  She was a vendor at our very first show five years ago and then coming to shop and check it out.  This year, we are welcoming her back with her new business that isn't quite a year old.  
"I love Hover Craft’s emphasis on local Milwaukeeans and mix of first time
vendors with established makers. It’s a great event to visit to get a sense of the creative
community in Milwaukee. Supporting local artists and small businesses is incredibly important
and Hover Craft offers a unique platform for all of us to interact and flourish in the city."