These photographs are just a handful of what I shot while visiting the brick-and-mortar home of Indie South Fair, a curated market that has been based in Athens for over a decade, beginning in 2006. Serra Branyon launched ISF after traveling the country as a vendor herself, learning about events of this magnitude, and has since hosted a remarkable number of successful events, not only in Athens but across the Southeast. Taken from the ISF site, here is how Serra communicates her work in the handmade community:
Indie South Fair is a traveling curated market that brings together artists, designers, and creative entrepreneurs to showcase their work in a festive atmosphere that includes music, artisanal food and drink, kids craft activities, photo booths and fun times! We not only foster budding small businesses, but their community of supporters as well. We believe strongly that face to face interaction between makers and their patrons is key to doing good business and building solid connections. Our goal is to knit together a network of makers, small businesses, and creatives across the Southeast. We want to bring their work to diverse markets while showcasing to the broader audience we have built after nearly a decade.
What We Do:
No matter what your schedule or budget, there’s an opportunity for everyone to be part of what we do. Applications are hand selected based on quality, innovation, and originality. Each event is a new experience with a different mix of artists and vintage dealers. Fine, folk and functional pieces can all be found here, as well as inspiration and opportunities to meet personally with the makers themselves.
Why we’re here:
Indie South Fair has earned a reputation for being the largest and most diverse market of its kind in the area, and one of the first to expand to multiple locations across state lines. Simply the best for lovers of the handmade, vintage collectors, and those looking to engage in their creative community. We welcome people from all walks of life to come together around a fundamentally human trait: artistic expression.
Serra and ISF have become a mainstay of the Athens creative scene, which itself is one of the most vibrant and quickly growing throughout the Southeastern region. I came to know Serra when I was a vendor in 2010. I moved to Athens in 2009 from Portland, Oregon, when my oldest daughter was still an infant. Before becoming a freelance photographer, I was a seamstress and had my own line of bags. I often think about that work and how much I enjoyed the methodical, solitary craft of sewing. I still sew - mostly making clothes for myself, hemming my husband's pants, making pillows and decor for our home. My interest in the fabric and fiber arts has been growing increasingly, thanks mostly to Instagram and the many talented fiber artists that I have discovered and been inspired by. John and I built a simple tapestry loom, and I am in the process of restoring a Schacht Spindle 4 harness tabletop loom, which will allow me to do the more fine-gauged, detailed work that I am drawn to. If I am able to grow in that art form and make a profit from it, I plan to move on to the Schacht Mighty Wolf in the next three years or so. I'm getting ahead of myself, as usual. While these children of mine are young, I find that being able to work at home while caring for them is not only productive and efficient, but expands my home environment into a creative space where they can also observe, participate, and learn, and their creative impulses are nurtured and encouraged. It also helps preserve my sanity.
On another note related to personal life, I have spoken openly about how difficult 2016 was for me personally and our family as a whole, while there were also many, many beautiful and important moments for us. One unfortunate ongoing issue that I continue to struggle with to this day resulted from a tooth extraction in May of 2016 that created an opening into my maxillary sinus cavity that was 1 cm in width. That mat not sound very large, but by oroantral fistula standards, it was quite large. The dentist performing the extraction did not pack and suture the opening, and as a result, I have had two surgeries, countless doses of antibiotics, chronic sinusitis and facial/tooth pain, and further dental work that cannot be finished until the problems with my sinus are resolved. However, I was fortunate to finally find an ENT here in Athens that was able to identify some of these problems and refer me to a specialist in Atlanta who works as part of the Emory University healthcare system. I am desperately hoping to find a solution to these issues. I'm thankful for the continued support, prayers, encouragement and help from my Athens community, as well as family. That appointment takes place next month and cannot come soon enough.
Friends, thank you, as always, for reading along and following my work. Looking back over my portfolio, I've found that my favorite shoots have been those in collaboration with other artists, and also enjoying the friendships that frequently result from that time spent creating together. I plan to do a lot more of that work in 2017. I already have a few artists/makers in mind that I am in conversation with, as well as my ongoing collaborations with The Seed & Plate and my dear friend Eve Nettles. I am also open to working with others with whom I may not yet be familiar, so if you are reading this and would like to talk about the possibility of working together, please get in touch! I would love to hear from you and learn about your process and work!