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Showing up for hand-made home goods

If I am perfectly honest, consumer home shows are not my thing. Admittedly, they have improved over the time I have been attending (about 30 years) — the bikini-ed young women in hot tubs are gone, for example. But there are still an awful lot of mops and brooms to wade through and the flogging of stuff — and personalities —  is too relentless for me. The lighting is usually pretty awful and the carpet is never expensive enough that your feet don’t feel like ground beef after walking on it for a few hours. The food kinda stinks (well, it does!) – and it’s expensive. I have managed, then, for the last six or seven years, to avoid them entirely.

(Of course, the success of home shows is poof that many others don’t share Sanderson’s view that they are not an enjoyable way to look at materials, furniture, art, and accessories – editor)

Somehow, though, I was lured out to the One of a Kind (OOAK) show held before Christmas of last year.  I can’t think  how exactly; I vaguely remember feeling sorry for the plucky junior PR person who’d been made to call and pitch it to me. In any case, she got me down there. At 9 a.m., for goodness sake, which meant I even traveled through rush hour to get there.

So, Auntie Vicky, you ask,  was it worth it? Well, yes, in fact. It was a quick, fun romp through a bunch of cosy stalls filled with interesting hand-made things to look at, and the interesting people who made them. Also both the lighting and the carpet were decent. The food? (See shortbread and mustard below.)

What stood out? For me, linens (table, kitchen, and fashion), ceramics, and art. Also shortbread and mustard, if I am continuing to be honest.

Yolanda Fernandes will be showing at OOAK 2019.

I liked the experience well enough that I plan to go down to the OOAK spring show next week. There will be  over 500 artisans,  but I’ll also search out the Québec créatif section — just named a permanent show fixture with 12 new artisans showing from Québec. A Futurpreneur Corner boosts young businesses, and a marketplace will feature over 40 emerging artisans.

What do I think I might like this time? Based on a quick flip-through of the media kit, possibly pieces by Yolanda Fernandes –  like the coasters shown in the featured pic above and bowl at right. And ceramics from   Atelier Marie-Hélène Robillard and Grace Lee’s Eikham-Ceramics (see both below.)

OOAK  runs Wednesday, March 27 to Sunday the 31st in Toronto’s Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place. Follow it all on Insta, especially on #SundayFunday and on Twitter

For those of you who don’t live in the centre of the universe (like d’uh, Toronto, Canada), you know you can shop OOAK all year  online now, right?

ceramic vases with dots from Grace Lee Vancouver artist

Grace Lee’s Eikham-Ceramic




From Atelier-Marie-Helene-Robillard

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Sharon Cranston
    March 22, 2019 at 5:16 pm

    Handmade is where it’s at in my opinion. Nothing is similar, in fact it’s all one of a kind. Bespoke or go home.

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