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Handmade Market rocks the Yarralumla Woolshed

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?


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Handmade Market rocks the Yarralumla Woolshed
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byt2007 12:48 am 14 Sep 09

This weekend I went to both Friday and Saturday Handmade markets, wandered around Floriade, had a loooong late lunch at Du Jour in New Acton and managed to work a full Sunday retail shift. It was a beautiful weekend with lovely weather!

I spent over $600 at Handmade — breaking it down:

$130 on a necklace — credit card on Friday night. I thought this was very expensive as I could have bought a very similar handmade necklace from Etsy.com for about $50. However, I like supporting local craftspeople and the market. The vendor was friendly and sweet, but really needed two or three more people helping her out. Her stall was at a really bad point for congestion, and the design of her stall meant she couldn’t make eye contact with people looking at her stuff. Also it was very difficult for more than two or three people to actually see her stuff at a time.

$260 on two necklaces and two pairs of earrings from another vendor — credit card on Friday night. This jewellery was stunningly good value, one of the necklaces alone has hours of labour in it and masses of sterling silver. I think this vendor underpriced herself.

$12 on nuts from the nut guy who is usually at the Bus Depot markets — cash on Saturday. I like this guy, he’s friendly and gives good patter and lots of samples. The nuts also smell totally delicious. Sadly I have eaten all mine up already!

$130 on 6 bottles of wine from Mt Majura — cash on Saturday. I feel the winery was really short-sighted in not offering EFTPOS. But they make lovely reds, and as I’d just run out it was a good opportunity for me to stock up. Lovely, friendly and knowledgeable vendors offering plentiful tastings. I would have bought some of the “Fizz” too, but lacked hands to carry things.

$25 on 3 jars of curry chutney from the chilli guy who is usually at the Bus Depot markets — cash on Saturday. I like this guy too, and his samples are always tasty and plentiful. He obviously loves his product, which is very important. I can’t make it out to the Bus Depot markets anymore as I work Sundays, so it was a great opportunity for me to stock up.

$5 on sunflower seed mix — cash on Saturday. Impulse purchase, the vendor was friendly and chatty.

$35 on Real Chai — cash on both Friday and Saturday. Absolutely delicious! Lovely friendly vendors. Great lidded paper cups, too. It’s funny the small things that you appreciate, but the (I assume reasonably expensive) cup made wandering around the market and sipping warm creamy chai a real pleasure.

$10 on a crepe for a friend — cash on Saturday. Apparently this was not particularly tasty.

$3.50 (??) on a chicken drumstick — cash on Saturday. This was a perfect and delicious snack!

I completely disagree with Genie’s assessment of many things being factory-made: the lady with the felt products also displays at the Gorman House markets, and the way it works is that she designs the products, and they are made as a fair-trade enterprise in Nepal. The impression I have got from past conversations with her is that they aren’t made in a factory at all, but in a village. I’ve bought some lovely things from her in the past for my nieces.

In my opinion the major issues with the market were:

a) The lumpy carpeting in the aisles was a real tripping hazard. Or maybe I’m just clumsy!

b) Lack of an ATM is just shooting themselves in the foot. I must admit that cash only enterprises are extremely frustrating to me.

c) Stall holders need to understand that it’s intimidating for a potential customer to enter a stall (particularly with the set up of the stalls where you actually had to enter them rather than just drift past) when the stall holder is chatting exclusively with friends. Vendors are there to sell things — they can chat with their friends at any time! There was way too much of this going on — in my opinion a lot of sales were lost.

d) Shy vendors should probably enlist the help of an outgoing friend for the market — a couple of stalls were totally dead, in my opinion because the vendors sat at the back of the stall quietly, eyes down, and did not greet passers-by with friendly smiles or warm greetings.

Altogether the market had a great atmosphere; even when it was crowded, people were friendly and kind to each other. Luckily I didn’t need to use the toilets so I can’t remark on that.

The outdoor stalls were far easier to navigate and I preferred the set up. But they were lucky the day was so fine!

It’s a shame Zieholz didn’t have some of their food on offer as well — I did feel like a sausage sizzle would have added something to the atmosphere.

Genie 12:18 am 14 Sep 09

I never said I thought things were expensive, I said I constantly overheard people complaining about prices.

As for items that aren’t handmade… selling something “Made in Nepal” umm clearly isn’t handmade by the seller. I know of stallholders that have photo albums of how they make their items – I actually find this fascinating, as I have a curious mind of how things are made.

How can you expect anyone to work around the clock on a market for three months and not pay themselves a wage? Would you prefer that there was no Handmade markets?

I have brought this up before after the first market.. Having previously organised and run markets in the past – it doesn’t take as much time and effort as you make out.

I can tell you that most of the markets have been run at a loss for her (she put money into advertising and hiring the venues), but still making thousands for a charity – who up until this market, had no publicity or presence in the ACT.

I find hard to believe this market is run at a loss. Stallholder fees alone would be 10k. If a market costs more than this to run – your doing it wrong. If it is run at a loss, prove it and I won’t bring it up again.

it is difficult to understand what planet s/he is on?

I am on planet Earth, aren’t you ? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and feedback. If you don’t listen to the negative feedback how are you meant to learn how to improve things?

The organiser, Julie (and her expansive band of volunteer helpers), are tirelessly dedicated to constantly improving, beyond all other markets I have ever attended, to creating a viable market for handmade articles in the Canberra region.

Exactly… you want to improve your market… Instead of paying me out why don’t you all shut up and listen to your criticism. You might learn something.

Genie 9:34 pm 13 Sep 09

Igglepiggle said :

Granny said :

What did you see from overseas factories Genie?

There was someone selling felt items, clearly marked “Made in Nepal”. She claimed to designed everything herself and send the designs to Nepal to be made – however today I was in Woden Westfield and there was a Tibetian Stall set up outside Big W selling almost the exact same items.

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

I didn’t actually look at the lamps, as I stated I was there at the busiest time. It was hard to get into some stalls. I believe the sticker lady and one of the name plaque people said they order everything from overseas.

thesideline 9:18 pm 13 Sep 09

Great post EMD, fantastic review of a brilliant market. Well done to the organisers and the stall holders, this Handmade Market was a great success, in a magical location – both on Friday night and Saturday. Much more space than the Albert Hall and a great ‘rustic’ atmosphere.

Whilst congestion inside and in the car park made the day a little longer for some, those who came early – or later – enjoyed easy access and a fantastic visit. I was there (accompanying a stall holder) for both Friday and most of Saturday (leaving early arvo and returning in the car-crush), and spoke with hundreds of visitors – even some from interstate, for Floriade and to visit the National Gallery.

Everyone I spoke with loved the site, the atmosphere and the precious goods on display. I even prompted people to ask about how they coped with the dust (windy, sunny day on Saturday), but most people seemed unfazed by the walk from their car an d the dust along the way- gotta love that Canberra ‘shall persevere’ attitude.

I must note though that I’m saddened, and disappointed, by the comments of ‘Genie’ concerning the excessive price of stall sales items and their origin being non-handmade. Without citing examples of her discontent, (it is a stipulation of the organiser that products be handmade), it is difficult to understand what planet s/he is on?

Allegations of criminal offences under the ‘non-handmade (therefore must be punitively and summarily punished) Act 2009’ really should be directed to the Handmade organiser care of their site – http://www.handmade.com.au they’d be keen to commence a prosecution against their errant stall holders.

It is sad that over a hundred hard-working stall holders, producers, ‘creative types’ in our midst and ‘designers extraordinaire’ have been abused and maligned by such posts.

I can not wait for the November installment of this brilliant concept. Canberra needs this market, it seems at home in the shed!

I say NO to a move to the (not at all) EPIC grounds, or to Gungahlin – centrality is the key to the success of the market – I think it must be near to the Parkes / Yarralumla area, to bring people in from all areas of the city and from the wider region.

Well done Handmade!

thesideline.

h2obubbles 9:11 pm 13 Sep 09

The new venue, the Yarralumla Woolshed, was a fantastic success!

Never at any point was the venue ‘packed’ to the point where elbowing was required, and prams freely moved around even at the busiest periods! (unlike in the Albert Hall previously).

I’m one of the makers, and am very aware of when something is not handmade, as it directly affects me – in terms of competition (the price). I find it very hurtful that anyone suggests these items are not handmade.

Genie:
can you please specify which pieces you thought were not handmade, and where the prices were ‘too’ high, because these items were actually handmade and peoples’ time and effort was involved.

As for having a go at the organiser,

I can tell you that most of the markets have been run at a loss for her (she put money into advertising and hiring the venues), but still making thousands for a charity – who up until this market, had no publicity or presence in the ACT.

The organiser, Julie (and her expansive band of volunteer helpers), are tirelessly dedicated to constantly improving, beyond all other markets I have ever attended, to creating a viable market for handmade articles in the Canberra region.

How can you expect anyone to work around the clock on a market for three months and not pay themselves a wage? Would you prefer that there was no Handmade markets?

Many of the markets elsewhere force makers to lower their prices, to less than wholesale costs, because there are many cheap imports competing on price at the market.. no ‘hand made’ stipulation in the terms of running a stall, or not enforced.

Handmade market creates a place where people can find unique handmade items, and help keep creative people making them!

Congratulations Julie on an amazing effort, you are a true supporter of design and making Canberra the Style Capital!

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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