Oh. My. God. If you’ve been to Handmade Market this weekend, you probably have sore feet, an empty wallet, and the warm inner glow that comes from retail therapy supporting local crafters.
I should state at the outset that I’m a very bad consumer. I don’t buy much stuff (compared to my female friends), and when I do buy it’s generally at the cheap end of the market. But Handmade got me using my calico shopping bags to take home a few goodies. Here’s some of the great stuff that I spotted at last night’s twilight market:
- Jackson & Kerr organic cotton t-shirts for men and women. The ones I saw were priced at $50. Lovely soft feel, nice designs. Looks like it’s a collaboration between Amy Kerr from Moyou and Megan Jackson.
- Anthony Hill – Canberra author of books for little kids, teenagers, and adults. He signed a beautiful picture book for my daughter’s birthday.
- Polbymade had the most stunning dark green silk dress with wide white neckline and waist sash. I think I need one of these dresses.
- Redmag had the most gorgeous handmade soft toys, with button eyes and pretty cotton fabrics.
- Little Angel Little Devil is one I hadn’t seen before – handmade baby clothes, hairclips, wraps etc. Quite reasonably priced, and because it’s handmade using whatever fabrics inspire Rachel, you won’t see another toddler in the same outfit as yours.
- Kemarre Arts had things more suited to gifts for older women – handmade glassware, screenprinted scarves and shawls, and wall hangings. Made by indigenous artists living in Canberra.
- Rebecca Vavic, another local artist, was there with her baby sleeping in her arms – a beautiful thing to see. Her smaller affirmation pieces are my favourite. The whole mixed media, collage style really fits with the mish-mash of things that make up life.
- Sydney crafters Born Again Books had a great selection of journals made from the covers of vintage classics. The journals made from grown-up titles were filled with pages made from 100% recycled paper, while the kids journals had Little Golden Book covers and eco-friendly bagasse (sugarcane pulp) paper. I got a notebook for the resident IT worker at our house, with a cover made from an old 5.45″ floppy disk.
- Rockstars and Royalty have got to be the coolest couture designers in Canberra. I want one of their dresses, and I don’t even like weddings! Actually, what I really want is a tiara. To wear while vacuuming.
- RedInstead had quite a large stall, with pretty handcrafts (some made by Jen herself, others from places like Larkmade), and craft kits so the inspired shopper could go home and make their own.
I’ve forgotten her name, but there was a busker there playing guitar and with a beautiful voice. Right in front of the Lindsay & Edmunds fair trade organic chocolate stall – a very nice place to stand indeed 😉
There was also wine tasting, Real Chai were there, and Cranky Pants catering for those who can’t shop on an empty stomach.
I had a great time bumping into nearly every woman in Canberra (well, all the nice ones anyway). And I wanted to go back again today, if only to check out what was on offer from Tango & James (Canberra’s Got Style). But when I got out there at 11:30am, there were cars parked all the way up Cotter Road, and I knew it would be elbow-to-elbow shopping inside.
Let’s hope that the huge numbers of visitors to the market today mean they can move to holding them more often. Clearly a quarterly market with this level of quality and value for money (yes, more expensive than Target – value is not the same as cheap imported crap) is not enough to meet demand in Canberra.
Oh, and I LOVED the new venue! Sure, Albert Hall is convenient for catching the bus. Maybe ACTION should put on a special Handmade Market bus service next time? But walking through the woolshed with the smell of lanolin and well-aged fertiliser really made me feel at home (I grew up on a sheep farm), and appreciate that the people selling their wares really do work hard to produce something that is a joy to use and to look at.
So who else wants to see Handmade happen more often in future?