Perhaps your dear grandmother used to crochet mittens and scarves for you and your siblings. Maybe your Uncle Jack labored for weeks in his woodworking shop to build a special toy chest, just for you. Tapping into that same sense of meticulous care and attention to detail, Make It Vancouver filled the PNE Forum this past weekend with nearly 200 artisan vendors selling a grand variety of handmade goods.
Many local artists made it out to the show, including several that I had seen before through the the Got Craft series, as well as many more with which I am not as familiar.
I recognized the distinct art style of Leanne Spanza, for example, with her bold geometric depictions of Canada’s west coast. Her art was available in a variety of sizes, including larger canvas prints. The creepy yet striking Paverpol sculptures by Empurpled Wares immediately caught my eye. The figures are made from a variety of recovered materials and are completely weatherproof, so you can leave them outside without a worry. Similarly, Bowen Island Glass rescues glass bottles from the recycle depot and transforms them into unique glassware and art. “Upcycling” is far better for the environment and it can beautify the home too.
It’s a common misconception that “craft fairs” like Make It Vancouver are only for women. While it is certainly true that you’ll find lots of jewelry, skin care and “cute” items for sale, more male-oriented vendors are also in attendance.
A good example of this is Vancouver Pipe Company, which will put together a custom order of pipes and wooden planks to create a completely unique shelving solution in your home (or garage). They’re super strong and offer a different take on the country cottage look. Kerf Accessories offers wooden bow-ties in your choice of rosewood, walnut, maple or cherry for more distinguished hipsters, whereas the ingeniously-named Simply Neglectable sells a range of succulents that require minimal care. A little green thing in the home office could be a very welcome, low maintenance companion.
I like to eat (and drink), so it should come as little surprise that I was drawn to the more gastronomically-inclined vendors too.
The traditional masala chai from Trudy Ann’s Chai was delicious, though some tea lovers may prefer some of the more fruit-infused options like the apple pie chai or the maple cranberry chai. Made with an apple cider vinegar, the fruity shrubs from Thirsty Whale would be perfectly accompanied with some soda water and a splash of your favorite spirit. If you want a more direct route to the alcohol, Dragon Mist Distillery based out of South Surrey has some tremendous baiju (56% alcohol), gin and vodka. I particularly liked the coffee liqueur, made with dark roast coffee, vodka and sugar syrup.
If you’re tired of the mass produced retail environment and want to support your local small business community, shows like Make It Vancouver are a great place to start. You can find many of these vendors through their own websites or through online marketplaces like Etsy, but it’s so much better when you can see the goods in real life and meet the people behind the products.
Check out the image slideshow below for more pictures. Make It Vancouver will return for a holiday show this December.
Created with flickr slideshow
Disclosure: I was provided complimentary media access to the show, but all purchases and opinions are my own.