The One of Kind Show is a multi-city craft fair that features high quality handmade goods. It is usually held during the holiday shopping season, from the end of November to mid December. Vancouver’s One of a Kind Show (December 9th -12th) is being held at the Vancouver Convention Centre (1055 Canada Place). Other cities include New York, Chicago, and Toronto.
Inside the Vancouver Convention Centre.
The One of a Kind Show had all the elements of a perfect shopping environment: aisles of unique, quality items, good lighting, thoughtful displays and leisurely spaced booths. I went on the first day and the number of shoppers was just right, enough for a bustle but not enough to be jostled. Most shoppers were women in their late forties and fifties.
There was a wide range of wearable goods, art and food for sale. And, of course, there were things that defy categories, such as the wooden spoon (as instrument), tea and herbs seed kit, and puppet stall.
In general, I’d say that this year’s show was marked by an “elven influence,” or more specifically, what I call goods that look as though they belong to elves. I’ll keep this simple and start you off with two basic types of “elven goods” :
1) things that belong to forest elves, such as those from Lord of the Rings
2) things that belong to worker elves of the North Pole
If you find these star burst inspired rings appealing, it is a sign that you lean towards forest elf aesthetics. There were many, many other jewelry stalls of elven bling. Some pieces included images of nature on tiny tiles of glass, worn as pendants or made into rings. You must go see for yourself.
Display by Lindsey Bayne of A Bird in The Hair Adornments. This stall was in the Rising Star section, an open space area for first time artisans with less than 3 years of professional experience. The space in this section is sold by the square foot with a minimum rental of 9 square feet, which at $55 a square foot comes to $495. This is a great starting point for new artisans, considering regular booth prices range from $1,050 (5′ x 10′) to $3,225 (10′ x 20′).
I really liked the A Bird in the Hair display. Lindsey hung her feathered headbands and hairpins from the branches of an arbutus tree. I suspect that these fine nature inspired accessories would be coveted by youngling forest elves aged 200 years or so.
Felt tree ornaments by Shima Itabashi of Him Creations. I’ve seen work by Shima before and recognized her style immediately. These little balls of joy are most appropriate decor in the dorm rooms and mess halls of the North Pole elves.
The above is a wetbag by Sandra and Lori, the sister duo behind The Sling Sisters, a company that makes baby slings and baby gear. The larger sized wetbag and smaller snack bag (below) have industrial waterproof liners. Wetbags are used to keep wet clothes and snack bags keep food. Forget about using these bags for baby things, these would be great for travel. Perfect for transporting wet bathing suits, damp clothes or toiletries.
These items don’t fit neatly with my elven theme but if pressed, I’d say the intricate snowflake print above suits the sensibilities of the forest elf while the apple print below suits the North Pole elf.
The SWFDS sewing salon is a booth offering free sewing tutorials to shoppers. You must register in advance and can choose one of four projects: infinity scarf, tote bag, baby bib, and wearable flower. I spent an hour at the SWFDS sewing salon making two infinity scarves.
Laying out fabric to cut.
All pinned and ready to sew!
The lovely Sheila Wong of Sheila Wong Fashion Design Studio (SWFDS) modeling my finished infinity scarf. Sheila’s sewing studio is very close to Woodward’s, it is in the basement of 319 West Pender Street. The studio is fully equipped with sewing machines and tools, and can be rented by the hour ($12/hr) for sewing projects. The studio also offers sewing classes.
The three other projects offered by the salon:
Go to The One of a Kind Show. If you’ve missed it, then mark it for next year. This is THE winter craft fair to buy unique, handmade gifts. The only thing is, I don’t know if it will be elven inspired next year, one can only hope.