Vancouver craft markets ramp up for the holiday season

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Halloween’s over, and that means it’s time for the handmade revolution to swing into full force, with the holiday-craft-market season taking centre stage. Circle Craft kicks off the shopping festivities this week, followed by others as we work through to Christmas. So beat the mall madness and support local and national artists who put the loving, handmade attention into creations that show you care. Here are a few not to miss:

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Circle Craft Market

(From Thursday to Monday [November 7 to 11 at the Vancouver Convention Centre])

More than 300 artisans from across the country converge on the oldest, biggest granddaddy of all the craft fairs. Look for live fashion shows and a plethora of new exhibitors.

Style finds: We are loving Susan Harris Design’s legwarmers, crafted from a pretty patchwork of salvaged and recycled materials and Montreal-based Noujica’s blends of coolly ethereal screenprints with organic materials on scarves, toques, and more. Jewellery-wise, oladesigns puts artist Olga Cuttell’s whimsical bird and animal paintings in vintage brass pendants.

What’s New: Search out first-timers to the event like Vancouver’s Johnathan Designz, whose architectural-organic lockets blend metals like brushed silver or copper with such wood as teak or bamboo. Kitchener, Ontario designer Laura Rivera’s Re-Handbags come in reversible leather to go with different outfits.

Info: circlecraft.net/.

Make It Vancouver

(November 28 to December 1 at the PNE Forum)

The 10th fair ups the ante with 250 exhibitors and a small army of food trucks surrounding the event, ready to give you extra fuel for more shopping. Of course, the beer garden keeps this hipster holiday affair rocking too.

Style Finds: Our hands-down-favourite accessories are the handsewn, felt Brooch Boyfriends, little pins that let you choose from the beardo Mountain Man to the stubbly Scruffy Boyfriend With Glasses. There are also screen-print “bib bandanas”, by Vonbon, aimed at babies who are too cool for the old plastic, yellow-duck-emblazoned versions.

What’s New: Did you notice the new locale? Make It has quadrupled its size since debuting at the much tinier Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre five years ago.

Info: makeitvancouver.com/.

Portobello West

(December 7 and 8 at Creekside Community Recreation Centre)

The yearlong market pulls out all the stops for its pre-Christmas fair.

Style Finds: Cozy Vancouver-made johnwear long johns; OhKuol’s sparkly but artful gemstone jewellery; and Bee and Bear’s ultranatural lip balms and soaps.

What’s New: Live music, food trucks, and a Shop Local punchcard lets you enter a draw for a gift once you make four purchases.

Info: portobellowest.com/.

Shiny Fuzzy Muddy

(December 14 and 15 at Heritage Hall)

Well-edited, high-quality gifts on non–mall-like Main Street.

Style Finds: Check out the old Canadiana feel of Identity Apparel Co.’s printed woolly plaid scarves and moose-theme tees, or Flightpath Designs’ funky retro-printed belt buckles.

What’s New: The real draw is what hasn’t changed. The SFM artists maintain a small, calm shopping atmosphere, with just 20 or so talents on display.

Info: shinyfuzzymuddy.com/.

Got Craft?

(December 14 and 15 at the Maritime Labour Centre)

The indie-minded DIY fest has more than 75 juried artisans showing their offbeat wares this year.

Style Finds: The handmade hound on your list will go batty for the buttons by Make and Mercantile Products, which allow you to put a personal touch on any outfit. Locomotive Clothing Co. also stands out in the screen-print world, referencing history, transportation, and nature in its minimalistic designs.

What’s New: Take home your own creation with the event’s do-it-yourself workshops.

Info: gotcraft.com/.

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BCcraftFairs.com
Great roundup of events -- so much local talent!
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