Peer-to-peer e-commerce website Etsy has revolutionized the way we buy, make and perceive crafting. It transformed the industry and gave a worldwide audience to some of the crafting world’s most creative yet overlooked members. However, one thing that many people miss with online consumption is the inability to engage with the product and its maker. Which is why Etsy conceived its annual Etsy: Made in Canada market.
The event organized by a collaborative team of Etsy team captains and volunteers, saw the Rocky Mountaineer transformed into a marketplace bursting with unique handcrafted goods and vintage treasures. The market housed an impressive array of 150 local sellers and was a great chance for people to get a head start on their gifting for the season and with half of the proceeds from the event were donated to Atira Women’s Resource Society attendees were doing good just being there.
To celebrate the event Etsy held a sneak peek session at Nourish Café & Cooking School, where VIPs and media got a chance to meet and make with a few of Vancouver’s top crafters. BLUSH’s roving reporter Bracken Hanke was on hand to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty.
As soon as I walked into Nourish Café & Cooking School for the Etsy event I felt the bubbles in my belly start. The warm and intimate environment together with the thought of getting hands-on with a whole lot of crafts was a little dizzying.
Nourish was set up with five small work tables each one showing a different local craft design with the designer. I immediately jumped to the nearest station where I sat down with Leslie Kuny of West Coast Leslie Designs. Leslie is a wickedly talented crochet artist whose designs include everything from scarves to toques and even boot liners! She had me and the other guests make funky three strand crochet bracelets. Teaching seemed to come very easy to Leslie which is not surprising when you learn she also teaches dance when she is not crocheting her beautiful designs.
Then on to Amara Blue Designs and designer Kassandra Taylor, with her I made an elegant pendant keychain, by hammer stamping my initials onto a slip of metal. I really loved Kassandra’s dainty pieces which are all hand stamped by her. I also must acknowledge her bravery as she held the stamp while I hammered away (even after I slightly missed and almost hit her hand!)
At the next table artist Nicky Kumar of Nicky Kumar Art she had me doing Mandala art, which is a form of meditation done by creating repetitive patterns in a circle, it was so calming and it allows you to relax and shut out your mind, but also get creative and let your imagination flow.
Gabe Mundstock’s business is called Westcoast Stencils. Gabe was showing off her stylish and fun stencils with a little cookie decorating demonstration. It was so simple: pop down the cookie put on a stenciled airbrush over with a little food colouring and voila a perfectly professional cookie … well, I might need a little more practice with the airbrush, but it was a good first attempt.
Last stop was with incredible watercolour artist Elena Markelova. She had guests making simple yet striking bookmarks using some basic watercolor techniques. It also was great to see some of her own pieces, created with animals and their surroundings in a modern and unique way. With all the crafters eager to share their advice and knowledge with me it was a such a fun event, and It gave me a better understanding and huge respect for what goes into making and creating these unique pieces of art.
If you missed out on this year’s Etsy: Made in Canada market, make sure you connect with Etsy to keep up to date on all their latest news and events.