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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71 Responses to Handmade Market rocks the Yarralumla Woolshed
I-filed I-filed 9:47 am 19 Sep 09

Granny said :

This forum has been supportive of Handmade Markets from Day 1, myself included. I think Market Girl has handled this badly and the rest of you are just making it worse for her.

Do you really think that insulting the 60,000 Canberrans that like this forum and don’t consider it ‘poisonous’ is the best way to help your friend and her business?

Some courteous explanations and reassurances were all that was required. The rest was both unnecessary and unwise.

Absolutely. I’ve spent money at both markets and it would have been good to have known whether it was a commercial venture from the beginning, and that the “fair trade” aspect may not have been checked out thoroughly. “Better than the bad ones” the standard Gungahlin Al has endorsed at #59, doth not corporate social responsibilty make.

rottweiler rottweiler 9:34 am 21 Sep 09

Sorry to all you people who seem to be a little blinded sided by I’m with genie and I-filed …. handmade how can you say the market is running at a loss I to who love to see figures if a market of that size is running at a loss maybe you need to have a hard look at where all the money is going and how to decrease running costs, as for supporting locals I believe there were quiet a few stall holders from interstate sorry but that’s not local, unfortunately I was unable to attend this market as I was away but have heard it was a great market on a down side I do very much agree with if you advertise HANDMADE it should be HANDMADE, Tags on items saying “made in nepal” well it is handmade maybe but at a village in nepal, is response to gunganlin al ” Well Ms GA is organising a big conference, and has just ordered 50 lamps from Handmade marketeer Electric Firefly.” Electric Firefly is a small franchise Australia wide and hong kong according to their website not HANDMADE yes they are beautiful but again not HANDMADE I will be attending the next HANDMADE markets to see for myself what else may not be HANDMADE, in closing I’m all for a market of this class here in canberra but if even two stall holders don’t make products themselves how many others don’t either and if that is the case may they need to remove the HANDMADE tag form the market and just have it as X market.

Genie Genie 3:42 pm 21 Sep 09

handmade how can you say the market is running at a loss I to who love to see figures if a market of that size is running at a loss maybe you need to have a hard look at where all the money is going and how to decrease running costs


My point all along….

sepi sepi 5:19 pm 21 Sep 09

Honestly I don’t think most of the thousands of customers turned up because they had heard a year ago that the market ran at a loss and all profits went to MND. They turned up to buy lovely and unusual handmade items that you can’t buy at the canberra centre.

This was only the third Handmade market, and the concept has proved to be incredibly popular. The model has evolved, and MND is now supported via a raffle, which is made public.

I just can’t see the huge conspiracy.

So one stall had items made in Nepal – if they are labelled as such and it bothers you, don’t buy them. In general the stall holders are the makers, so you can just ask them how they make their work and where they are from.

So the person who dreamed up the markets and manages them pays herself a wage – shock horror – perhaps the markets will be an ongoing thing then.

The sellers seem to be very pleased to have an outlet for their creative work, and the buyers seem to be turning up in droves. It is a pity not to support people who make things like this happen.

Clown Killer Clown Killer 7:31 pm 21 Sep 09

Handmade is handmade, whether it’s some schmuk in the suburbs doing their own craft or a six year old somewhere in southeast Asia it’s irrelevant unless you’re some hair-shirt wearing hippy (who probably deserves to be duded anyway for being a hypocrite).

On the issue of profit vs salary: They’re completely different. If you don’t understand the difference by the time you’re an adult you a sure fire bet for job as a fence-post somewhere. Don’t even start on the logistics of successfully running a company at a loss …

LaLa LaLa 9:55 pm 21 Sep 09

Agreed Sepi.

Personally I have a friend that worked making jewellery for months leading up to this market and it saddens me to read your comments.

Since moving here in October the Canberra crafting scene has been one of the things that gave this city some personality.

Get a life and stop being so negative about everything.

josh909 josh909 11:26 pm 07 Nov 09

rottweiler said :

Electric Firefly is a small franchise Australia wide and hong kong according to their website not HANDMADE yes they are beautiful but again not HANDMADE I will be attending the next HANDMADE markets to see for myself what else may not be HANDMADE…

Admittedly I am a good 2 months late to this delightful little debate you’ve been having, however, having only just now stumbled across this thread and more specifically rottweiler’s comments regarding Electric Firefly Design & Creation, I felt the need to set the facts straight. Allow me to introduce myself – my name is Josh, comprising one half of Electric Firefly – in fact you may have seen or spoken to me as I worked our stall on the Saturday at Yarralumla.

I’m thinking that you didn’t actually read our website, suggesting that perhaps it was more of a glance? In my opinion the navigation tab entitled ‘About’ (linking to our bio) is fairly obvious, as is the ‘Contact’ tab (on the off chance you had wanted to actually speak to either Simon or myself before posting your opinion that you professed to be fact).

Apparently however you were either unable or unwilling to locate either of these sections, instead forming your opinion and subsequent comments, based solely upon the content of our ‘Stockists’ page. However contrary to your post, that’s precisely all it is – a listing of retail shops that Electric Firefly regularly supplies with our lamps. Nowhere on our entire website is the word ‘franchise’ mentioned. Furthermore, nowhere in Australia (or overseas for that matter) does an Electric Firefly franchise exist.

For the record, Simon (the other half of the business) was personally responsible for creating our entire range of lamp designs. Following completion of high school (incidentally that we attended together), he founded the company – with me joining a few years ago, being primarily responsible for marketing and graphic/online design not to mention manning the stall when required. Electric Firefly only use Australian manufactured materials, and that goes for everything from the recycled plastic lamps pieces, the recycled paper stock used for packaging, right down to the stickers we use to brand our bags and boxes.

Lastly, regarding your comment that our lamps are not handmade, I’m fairly certain that any of the thousands of people that watched as we put together our lamps would disagree with you. What’s that I hear you say? That in your opinion the action of building a lamp does not qualify as ‘handmade’? OK, I understand where you’re coming from, however can you not understand that if asked, a dozen different people would have a dozen differing opinions as to what ‘handmade’ means to them? Perhaps for my benefit you could clarify what you feel qualifies a product as ‘handmade’? If someone uses a guillotine to cut cardboard down to size, do you still classify that product as being ‘handmade’? How about if it’s an electric guillotine as opposed to a manually operated guillotine? Just where does one draw the line?

My opinion if you’re interested, is that in this case the word ‘Handmade’ represents a common way of thinking, shared by the promoter, stallholders and (the majority of) the general public alike. I feel it both encompasses and represents Australian small businesses that use Australian manufactured materials and where the owner is directly involved with the daily running of the business.

rottweiler, I anticipate your response with bated breath. With the next Handmade looming down upon us, i would invite you to come and introduce yourself to either Simon or myself as you add us to your dossier of stallholders that you feel do not qualify as ‘handmade’.

I-filed I-filed 10:07 am 08 Nov 09

Yes but Josh, where are they made (as opposed to designed and managed) and by whom?

el el 5:37 pm 08 Nov 09

How about if it’s an electric guillotine as opposed to a manually operated guillotine?

Wait, there’s electric guillotines now?

josh909 josh909 10:18 pm 08 Nov 09

I-filed said :

Yes but Josh, where are they made (as opposed to designed and managed) and by whom?

Hi I-filed,

To answer your question, the recycled plastic is manufactured by a local Sydney based company. Our shapes/designs are then punched out by Simon and/or myself. The pieces are then hand counted, bundled and packaged again either by Simon or myself.

Is this information specific enough?

LaLa LaLa 10:26 pm 08 Nov 09

Muhahaha. Go Josh!

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