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Handmade Market rocks the Yarralumla Woolshed

By emd - 12 September 2009 71

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?

What’s Your opinion?

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71 Responses to
Handmade Market rocks the Yarralumla Woolshed
Clown Killer 6:02 pm 13 Sep 09

Profit and remuneration are two completely different things. It only seems reasonable for the organiser to be paid for their time.

I-filed 5:05 pm 13 Sep 09

Genie said :

Sorry to sour the mood, but as amazing and high quality as the goods are at Handmade Markets, I was disgusted to find alot of it is actually made in factories or overseas.

And for the organiser making money out of this ? That’s just disappointing too, considering she advertises all profits go to charity.

That’s a real worry on both counts. I too understood that “handmade” means made by the stallholders. And yes, wasn’t the market given a lot of PR based on the “profits to charity”? If what you say is correct, I’m both disillusioned and disgusted. That won’t wash, though, if there was just a profit motive all along. They may as well move to Epic and join the fake label sunglass stalls, hey.

Igglepiggle 5:03 pm 13 Sep 09

Granny said :

Why don’t they move it to Gungahlin where everybody wants it? I think we should start a petition.

I don’t want it in Gunghalin! and nor do any of the other attendees from Tuggers I would think. At least Yarralumla is central. EPIC would be bad for the same reason. Depends on if they want to eliminate part of the purchasers (although that may solve the crowding!)

What did you see from overseas factories Genie?

Woody Mann-Caruso 2:46 pm 13 Sep 09

Why didn’t you just throw a bunch of stuff in a garbage bag and offer them 50c for the lot, Genie? 😉

sepi 2:28 pm 13 Sep 09

Surely the organiser is entitled to make some moeny – otherwise why would she organise it more than once. I’m sure a heap of the money goes to motor neurone disease. I dont’ know anything about that side of it though.

On the other hand I have met several sellersand seen them actually making stuffh, and many others have blogs, where t ey show photos of works in progress – so plenty of the stuff is hand sewn in Canberra sewing rooms.

Perhaps you mean things like the (bought) lamps, which people have covered in new fabric – or bags that they have screen printed onto?

anyway – it seems the market is so popular they will be able to screen out unsuitable stalls in future if they wish to.

Gungahlin – the first proposal was to have this in linear park at gungahlin – govt took forever to ‘approve’ the proposal, so it went elsewhere.

Genie 11:33 am 13 Sep 09

Sorry to sour the mood, but as amazing and high quality as the goods are at Handmade Markets, I was disgusted to find alot of it is actually made in factories or overseas. Handmade to me is someone setting up shop in the back room of their house or garage and making it THEMSELVES. I don’t understand how you can advertise a market as being “handmade” when clearly alot of it isn’t made this way.

I was there at probably the busiest time of the morning and all I regularly heard was everything is too expensive.

As for moving a market out to Epic, the market wouldn’t succeed as Epic don’t allow any food vendors.

And for the organiser making money out of this ? That’s just disappointing too, considering she advertises all profits go to charity.

grunge_hippy 10:11 am 13 Sep 09

if the opening weekend of floriade was competing with it this time, on a very nice spring day, what’s a baby sale going to do next time? nada. and just before christmas, when people could be out looking for presents? its going to be just as bad i feel, if not worse.

EPIC, while I agree with your point somewhat, is much more suitable for parking for one. They could set up the marquees on the showground, it would still have that outdoor market feel, especially in november when its warmer.

I like the idea of over 3 days though… its obviously very popular, they’d be mad to restrict themselves given people are willing to go out and spend their money.

astrojax 9:41 am 13 Sep 09

we went yesterday and there was, as emd noted, lots of traders in marquees outside, so we found the shopping relatively relaxed and were able to see pretty well everything fairly easily – bought some soft toys, paper products and got cards from other traders in whose products we were interested but not wanting to purchase right then. the woodfired pizzas had sold out by about 2pm even though the queues to the food stalls were pretty solid – bet they were happy/kicking themselves in equal measure… the traffic in and out was fairly chaotic but we managed and very pregnant astress managed the walk fine as we got a park not too far away.

i’d also be keen to see this open a little longer – a sunday would be handy – as three opportunities would thin the crowds perhaps and also allow that marquee effect to work better, too. must remember to take more cash next time!

as a novice to this discussion, why is gunghalin the preferred site? and where in that swathe of earth they call gunghalin would it be held?

Granny 1:01 am 13 Sep 09

Why don’t they move it to Gungahlin where everybody wants it? I think we should start a petition.

emd 11:33 pm 12 Sep 09

For people planning to go to the next one in November, definitely take cash. Some vendors have mobile EFTPOS and credit card facilities, but many of them only take cash, and there’s no on-site ATM.

They were going to have lots of vendors in outdoor sites (eg in marquees) on Saturday, which would make it easier to have more stalls.

As for moving to EPIC, I’m glad they didn’t go there. It just wouldn’t feel right to go shopping for handmade quality local stuff at the same place that has the cheap bras and ski gear sales. I reckon a more frequent market would help them balance consumer demand without having to lose the nice feel/atmosphere.

The other thing is that November might be a bit quieter. There’s a Baby & Kids Market on the same day as the next Handmade. The weekend before there’s also a Mathilda’s Market (locally handmade baby & kids gear), and two weeks before is a special jewellery day at Old Bus Depot Markets. Hopefully that might also take some of the pressure off carparking at Handmade, if people have already spent their money elsewhere.

grunge_hippy 9:45 pm 12 Sep 09

damn, I was hoping it was on tomorrow too. So it was still stupid busy and crowded despite the change of venue? why don’t they move it to EPIC?

katahandmade 9:30 pm 12 Sep 09

oh yes definately more often so it isnt so busy! I feel like I can never really see anything properly because there are too many people in the way and they just wont budge!

Gungahlin Al 9:21 pm 12 Sep 09

We went Friday night. Was v busy then too. Hard to know how double the vendors were going to fit. We bought one of the electric firefly lamps. Some beautiful silk scarves, photo prints, glass work and woodcrafts.

The pens made natural vendor boundaries. Eau de sheep urine was pretty strong – even for someone who’s spent a lot of time around shearing sheds. Was funny watching women tarted to the nines trying to avoid breaking their stilettos between the slatted floorboards! Clearly never been in a woolshed before…

This market should be in Gungahlin, where it was intended to be. Shame on TAMS and ACTPLA for thwarting Julie’s application. Why? Just because she makes some money out of it.

Igglepiggle 6:51 pm 12 Sep 09

I loved it. Will make sure to take $ with me next time!

GnT 4:45 pm 12 Sep 09

I reckon half of Canberra were at the Handmade Markets this morning, while the other half were at Floriade!

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