Home News and Features More than a Craft Fair: Queer Creativity as Liberation

More than a Craft Fair: Queer Creativity as Liberation

Poster art courtesy of Heri Crown.
By Marten Theriault and Lily Baker

As organizers of the first annual Central Vermont Queer Craft Fair, we want a world with more queer joy, community, and celebration. We want a world where queer people can gather freely and without fear. We want to foster a vibrant culture of creativity, which is an integral part of building the world we dream of. That is exactly what we’re hoping to create with the Queer Craft Fair. 

Like everything, this craft fair exists within a context of time and place. In the spring of this year, a beloved member of our community, Fern Feather, was stabbed to death on the roadside, just miles from where some of our event organizers live. In a rising climate of fear and hatred toward transgender children, queer and trans youths in the state of Vermont have recently become the explicit targets of nationally organized hate groups. In 2022 alone, 23 states in the U.S. have introduced laws that infringe upon or attack outright the safety, freedom, and dignity of people who identify as LGBTQ+. Thirteen states have signed these bills into law. Systemic racism, misogyny, and homophobia have laid the groundwork for countless acts of hate-fueled violence against our bodies and our psyches. After Nov. 19 of this year, some part of each of our hearts will forever dwell in the (high) heel of the trans woman who helped to subdue and disarm the shooter responsible for this most recent massacre in a queer nightclub in Colorado Springs.

We feel deeply the grief and the recently heightened threats of violence and attack against our bodies and our hearts. It is our deep love for this world, for each other, and for ourselves that motivates us to keep showing up, to keep holding space for one another, and to continue creating beauty and joy in the face of sometimes agonizing truths. We believe that this deep love potentiates the freedom and beauty of the whole world. We build resilience when we connect with one another, when we celebrate each other, when we play, and when we honor and support each other’s creative powers in this world. 

Whether or not you identify as LGBTQ+, this is an invitation to you to show up with and for us. Revel with us. Buy art from us. Honor the courage and vulnerability it takes for us to gather so publicly. Build culture. Share in our joy, and encourage it. 

This event is a love note to all people who dwell in the margins. We honor the lives of queer people throughout history who have existed both loudly and subtly, and who have helped to weave the cultural and political fabric that allows us to exist authentically and joyfully as our queer selves in this world today. 

The fair will be held Saturday, Dec. 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the historic Old Labor Hall in Barre, and everyone is welcome to attend. There is no admission fee. The space is wheelchair accessible and the event will be fully masked (we will have masks available if you need one). More than 35 local artists and makers will be selling a wide variety of work, including prints, pottery, jewelry, clothing, leather work, paintings, photography, zines, herbal goods, and more. There will also be live music and hot food.

The authors are organizers of the Queer Craft Fair. They thank the organizing team for support in writing this piece. For more information, check out @vt_queer_crafts on Instagram or email vtqueercraft@gmail.com.