DIY gets decadent at Make It! The Handmade Revolution craft fair
Sarah Karst is not an easy interview. Don’t get me wrong; as a person, the sparkling Saskatchewan native is awesome. She could light up the darkest of dens with her smile alone. But when I sat down with her at a West Side café to talk about her jewellery line Sweet Harriet—which she’ll be selling at Make It! The Handmade Revolution craft fair at the Croatian Culture Centre Friday to Sunday (April 15 to 17) (more on that later)—I could barely get a question in without someone coming up to our table to inquire about her modest sample display. Ergo our little Q & A sesh was a series of stops and starts.
Of course, I can’t blame the passersby for wanting to check out Karst’s wares. There’s something really honest and simple about her jewellery, which is made from reworked vintage as well as new and found materials. This is especially true of her more Canadiana pieces. I suggest that it might be the farm girl in her coming out in her work.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” she says with a laugh. “I just didn’t really realize that till this conversation. I’ve been fighting my whole life to be a city girl.”
Well, clearly it’s a losing battle. Right now, her signature pieces are made from shed deer antlers that her father finds on and around his prairie farm.
“Then he just sends them to me,” says the Point Grey resident. “But first he does all the cutting and drilling for me. It has a really horrible smell when you cut it—it smells like you’re at the dentist. So he does it all for me, so I don’t have to deal with all that in my little apartment.”
After that, she takes the thinner discs and attaches them to rustic-looking earring hooks ($20)—very chic in a grungy Great White North kind of way. She uses the tube-shaped antler pieces he sends as pendants on vintage-inspired necklace chains ($20 to 25)—very rock 'n’ roll.
Speaking of which, she has a long vintage locket with a Keith Richards image transferred on top of it and then coated with resin. Other highlights from this series ($22 to $30) are Karst’s Frida Kahlo pendant and Chief Sitting Bull cameos. And then there are her Alley Cat drawer-pull pendants ($30), which are made with pieces that Karst herself pillaged from an abandoned dresser she found in an alleyway.
“I see jewellery in everything,” says Karst. “I realized that I’ve been doing it my whole life. I don’t know what it means. And now that I’ve started this business, it’s even worse—it’s all I see.”
Assuming there are any of her hot-selling products left by the time this article is published, you can check out Karst's exhibitor stand. It will sit alongside other notable Make It! vendors, including Ruby Star Designs, which is a line of handmade leather cuffs ($24 to $32) decked out with printed original and vintage illustrations.
There’s also Fuchsia Factory’s reversible buckle bags with vintage clasps ($45). In the beauty department, there’s Element Botanicals, a White Lake, B.C., line of bath and skin-care products made from organically grown ingredients ($4 and up).
In the sexy category, there’s Creampuff by gg, a line of super cute, pinup-inspired lacy bloomers. Va-voom.
This year will be Karst’s first time as a vendor at Make It!, but the lighthearted jewellery designer is already a big fan of the three-day event.
“It’s just got a really wicked vibe to it because it’s licensed and there’s the DJ,” says Karst, who also sells online at Sweetharriet.ca. “It’s just got a wide range [of clientele], so you see a lot more men go there that aren’t like dragged there."