About the Crafts Fair

What is The Crafts Fair Online?

The Crafts Fair online is the oldest and largest directory of crafts oriented sites on the web. We offer organized links to thousands of individual crafter's web sites as well as craft web malls, crafts organizations, supplies, listings of real world shows, craft publications, instruction, software and more. In The Crafter's Web Development Center we offer all the information and resources crafts people need to create their own independent web sites.

A Little History

The Crafts Fair Online began with a post I made on the Crafts Marketing boards of America Online back in July of 1994. I was new to computers and the online world at the time, but as I browsed around the Crafts area of AOL, it seemed to me that there should be some way for crafts people like myself to show their work online. So, I made the suggestion that AOL should open "A Crafts Fair Online" in their shopping area. I got a lot of positive feedback from other crafts people but couldn't seem to get AOL behind the idea.

Then in the early part of 1995 I happened to go to a computer conference where a lecturer mentioned the World Wide Web, this little known part of the internet where you could include pictures in documents. I was still pretty new to computers and didn't really know much about the internet, all of my online experience was with AOL. So I went to a book store and asked if they had any books about the web, they didn't know what I was talking about. (How quickly things change!)

It took a bit of learning for me just to get a regular internet connection and finally actually *see* the web for myself. It looked the perfect place for selling crafts online. So, I started studying HTML and learning all I could about the web. My thought was that I could set up the crafts fair online my self and then charge crafts people for space. I worked on the idea for several months but one of the big problems was that at that time, if I wanted to set up the site I would have to run my own web server, and that was both beyond my budget and beyond my computer knowledge. So, discouraged, I nearly gave up on the idea.

Then in October of 1995 AOL began to offer 10MB of web space to members. I had all the graphics for the site done and all the HTML written so, I went ahead and Launched the Crafts Fair Online. Since crafts people could get the free web space from AOL it didn't seem right to charge people, so I made it a free service. The idea was to be a directory of all arts and crafts on the web. At first, that wasn't too hard to do, there was only a small handful of craft related sites on the web. Every now and then someone would email me with their URL and I would add it and gradually the list grew, and the Web grew!

By the beginning of 1997 reading Emails and adding sites to the crafts fair was becoming a major job. Luckily for me my friend Anne Beal offered to take over that part, checking out new sites and adding them to the lists. This helped free me to focus on the design and content of the site and to work at promoting it. With a move to a new hosting service and our own Domain I was able to add a bulletin board system, a crafts quiz, a crafts survey and other interactive elements to the Crafts Fair, as well as opening The Crafter's Web Development Center to help crafts people develop and maintain their own independent web sites.

The Crafts Fair continues to grow and vistorship steadily grows with it. It's a great feeling to hear many sites report that a majority of their traffic comes from their link here. Throughout our history we have tried to keep all the services of the Crafts Fair Online free, however, as of February 2001 we have begun charging a small, one time fee for newly submitted sites. We hope this will allow us to add new sites more promptly and to further promote the Crafts Fair to bring more traffic to the sites we list.

I am Steve Robinson, creator and webmaster of the Crafts Fair. I am a fine artist and craftsmen with a background in graphic design. I have at least dabbled in just about every craft there is, working in glass, wood, metal, leather, ceramics, fiber, plaster and plastics.

You can Email me at-


[The Crafts Fair Online]
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