Circle Craft Christmas Market ready to bloom

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People go to craft fairs mainly for two reasons.

One is the chance to find unique, high-quality products at shows such as the Circle Craft Christmas Market, which takes place at the Vancouver Convention Center West (1055 Canada Place) from November 10-14.

“The excitement is you don’t walk into Walmart or the Gap or most of the big box stores where you buy whatever everyone else is buying,” Peter Harbic told the Law during a telephone interview.

Harbic describes himself as a producer of shows with Signatures Shows Ltd. His company took over management of the annual Christmas Fair through a licensing agreement with Circle Craft Co-operative, an artist-run organization in Vancouver.

“You are buying something really cool and nobody else has it,” Harbic said of the appeal of shows featuring handmade items.

The second reason people go to these fairs is the chance to meet the artisans who create distinctive products.

“They have a story about where they come from and what inspired them to do their creative work, whether it be, you know, fine art or fashion or whatever,” Harbic said.

He noted that such a person could be “the eclectic artist who lives in Salt Spring. [Island] or Gabrielle [Island] or Courtenay or more in Tofino or Prince George or in the middle of Saskatchewan ”.

“They come out of their caves once a year to sell their stuff. They go on tour for two months, and they spend the year preparing for it, ”Harbic said.

Cosman & Webb’s organic maple syrup from the Townships comes straight from Quebec.

The first Circle Craft Christmas market was held at The Cultch in East Vancouver

in 1973. It has since become a tradition in the city, kicking off shopping for the holiday season.

The fair had a hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19. Harbic noted that the economic impact of the pandemic on artisans has been “horrific”.

With its return this year, the Circle Craft Christmas Market will offer manufacturers across Canada the opportunity to showcase their products. “It has been a quiet and dark time and we are thriving again,” said Harbic.

This year’s show will feature 200 artisans, including 40 new exhibitors. As Harbic noted, artisans come in many different forms, from clothing designers, potters, jewelers, carpenters and metallurgists, glassblowers, candle and soap makers. or culinary artists.
Speaking of artisanal cuisine, the Christmas market will include a so-called gourmet alley. Harbic said visitors can find everything from salsas and sauces, to chocolates and pâté.

A Taste of the Okanagan gourmet condiments and savory spreads are available at Circle Craft.

The Circle Craft Co-operative says on its website that it has made the decision in 2020 to focus on its member artists and the group’s boutique on Granville Island.

The organization sought a partner to manage its Christmas market and founded Signatures Shows, a Canadian company founded in 1980 by glassblower John Ladouceur and jeweler Casey Sadaka.

Many members of the Circle Craft Co-operative participate in the show, including potters Gordon Hutchens and Cathi Jefferson, both of whom will be doing demonstrations on the potter’s wheel.

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is required for visitors.

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