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Small Louisville craft show combines artisan work with community feel

People mill around a backyard. There are white tents with different handmade goods for sell.
Ryan Durbin
The aptly named Backyard Craft Show takes place in the backyard of founder Ryan Durbin's parents. It's a small event with around 10 crafters.

The Backyard Craft Show aims to create an environment where crafters can connect with each other and patrons in an intimate space.

It all started back in the summer of 2020.

Ceramics artist Ryan Durbin had just gotten word that the craft show had been canceled due to COVID-19.

He had already made plans to come down to Louisville for the show when he got word that the larger market was a no-go.

“So I'm like, maybe we could do something smaller, just so that we have an opportunity to do something,” Durbin said.

He lives in northern Kentucky, so he pitched his parents on an idea: He would host a craft show in the backyard of their east Louisville home. And they agreed.

That first year, Durbin said there were nearly 10 crafters, and the show has remained small in the following years.

Many of the participating crafters are friends of Durbin’s.

Like artist and candle maker, Amruta Parmar. She’s been participating in the Backyard Craft Show since its inception.

“I think it did more for friendship and I was expecting nothing out of it,” Parmar said.

She said selling her wares is always nice, but this particular event is also about connection And now, the Backyard Craft Show has become an annual tradition.

“You're building friendships and relationships through this. So I think it was just fun,” Parmar said. “So now, it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, it's the weekend with [the] Durbins.”

This year’s festival is June 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Durbin’s parents home at 3503 Colonial Springs Road.

Matt Hartlage and his wife Sara, run Tobacco Barn Craftsman, which offers wood art pieces.

Hartlage said that compared to other big craft shows, the Backyard Craft Show offers a more artists-focused, community environment.

For example, some bigger art fairs could charge artists hundreds of dollars to participate. The Backyard Craft Show asks for $40 from each participant.

“I think it's more intimate. And I kind of like doing those shows more,” Hartlage said. “I just think it's more you get to talk to the people that are actually wanting to look at it. And it's not just people walking past your booth that either don't want to look at your stuff or don't care.”

With a smaller setting and number of artists selling items, the people who attend the Backyard Craft Show are also different.

“They're really interested in supporting the local people,” Parmar said. “They might not buy, but at least they will get to know something or they can buy gifts for someone or suggest it to someone.”

Durbin hopes the Backyard Art Show continues with artists cycling through.

“I’m always interested in hearing from other artists that are local that bring a different set of work with them that's not something we already do and gives us the option to spread the love a little bit and reach different audiences that they might already have locally,” Durbin said.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.

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