The opportunity to shop the works of local artisans is no longer limited to just the holiday bazaar; the growing movement away from mass production and anonymous consumerism is leading more people to shop and connect with local artisans.
Part of the appeal of handmade markets is meeting the makers and learning about their process, says Stephanie Finn, founder of Burlington MADE and fellow maker. “Rather than (people) filling their homes with cheap items that get replaced year after year, it’s so much more rewarding to adopt pieces or give gifts that were made with care, that have a story to tell.” She embraces and celebrates crafters who are pushing the boundaries of traditional craft and incorporating their own voice. “Being a professional crafter is not the most lucrative profession, so you really need to have a passion and a belief that you can make something better,” she admits. “As a soap maker, I want control over every ingredient that goes into my skincare products and to make them beautiful, to bring joy to your morning routine.”
The markets serve as a way for people to satisfy their need for connection rather than mere consumerism. “Customers no longer only want information about a product; instead, they want to connect with the people behind the product and the brand,” explains Jacqueline Hunter, show director for Craftadian. “Since small businesses and handmade makers generally follow the rule of being genuine and open, they can potentially stay relevant by focusing on what their customers’ value the most: connection and transparency.” This is a positive trend, but she adds that it also means that in order for small businesses to appeal to their customers they need to have a genuine, open presence both online and off-line, and a place to interact with their customersand potential customers, like at a handmade market.
Furthermore, with people craving those connections, the markets can provide an opportunity for the makers to share their creativity with others. Craftadian has recently introduced workshops to some shows. “Not only does it fulfill our need for connection, it’s a tactile activity, a throwback if you will to the slow movement of crafting with our hands,” says Hunter.
The following makers’ markets are the perfect venue for you to connect with your community and hunt for the pieces you’ve been searching for, whether for your home or as a gift for your loved ones.
Meet more than 60 of the best local makers. Come and meet many new vendors! Some of the new ones include: Ellemairco, Loose Leaves Paper Goods, Token Gold, Hatchet Made, and Small Hours Workshop. Plus take a break and buy something from the gourmet food trucks, snacks, desserts and wine by the glass.
Ron Joyce Centre, 4350 South Service Road, Burlington
Kerr Village Handmade & Vintage Market
June 9, July 18 & August 11
Shop three separate curated outdoor markets in Kerr Village (Oakville), rain or shine! You’ll find handmade products including jewellery, pottery, stationary, home décor, soaps, wellness products and cool vintage items such as comic books, clothing, collectibles and more. Free admission.
10am – 3pm
Kerr Street & Westside Drive, Oakville
Held during Ancaster Heritage Days, this event will include more than 40 artists, crafters and specialty food vendors. The Tea Room offers a place to relax with a scone and cuppa while listening to some live jazz music. A portion of the sales from the tearoom will go towards fundraising for Ancaster’s Fieldcote Museum. Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. John’s Parish Hall & Grounds, 37 Halson Street, Ancaster
Burlington MADE Artisan Market will be in downtown Burlington during the Sound of Music StreetFest. Free admission.
10am – 5pm
Corner of Brant & Caroline Streets, Burlington
The Artisan Bazaar
Starting June 23
An opportunity to buy unique handmade wares directly from makers! Support the arts, and get the coolest stuff in town. This brand new weekly outdoor market in the heart of downtown Hamilton will showcase local artisans and their original wares. Shop every Saturday, all summer!
10am – 5pm
King Street East, (west of) Walnut Street South, Hamilton
Craftadian made in Hamilton
Craftadian’s third Annual Made in Hamilton Summer
Market celebrates makers from the Hamilton – Wentworth Region. There will be 60 local makers as well as food trucks and entertainment. Admission is $5 per person.
10am – 4pm,
McMaster Innovation Park
175 Longwood Road South, Hamilton
by Becky Dumais