Entering the Vancouver Convention Centre on last Wednesday night, my plus one and I noted how many people were leaving carrying multiple bags and boxes. As someone who does a lot of shopping, I can’t remember the last time that I have seen such consistency in a crowds’ evidence of purchasing. Good sign, I thought! I was not about to be disappointed.
Circle Craft is a British Colombia Artist co-operative founded in 1972. Their first Christmas Craft Market 39 years ago was housed at The Cultch (one of my favourite venues!) This year over three hundred artists from across the country have brought their textiles, pottery, jewellery and more to sell to eager holiday shoppers in the comfort of the convention centre. The collection of artists and crafters showing their beautiful creations was truly outstanding. Circle Craft should be applauded for excellent curation; top marks for quality, uniqueness and a balance of craft categories.
British Columbia’s local talent is well represented at the show with more than fifty vendors as members of the Circle Craft co-op. I was very pleased to see a number of my favourite artists who have tables at Granville Market at the craft fair.
Favorites: Shima Itabashi of Him Creations with her adorable felted creatures, Wedding Cake Toppers and robots. Minori Takagi lamp work glass jewellery and Yellow Chick necklace.
The Market has a section of small free standing booths available to new exhibitors only. This year more than a quarter of the participants are at the Christmas Market for the first time. The woman from Ulat sold out of handmade wool dryer balls on day one!
Favorites: Felt Factory’s artist created mounted animal heads, in particular the llama. Hot Toddy Aprons with their adorable retro feeling booth of multi-layered ruffled aprons, in particular the chickadee print!
Twenty six vendors featured gourmet food. Everything from candy and chocolate, to vinegars and specialty foods. These displays in particular were positively swamped with guests trying samples.
Favorites: Blink chocolate bark, four nut free varieties available. Vancouver’s Bad Girl Chocolates, and the hot chocolate dipping sticks from Hot Nana’s Cakes Confections and Quilts- coconut crème white chocolate! Yes, please!
Dads: Gorgeous glass and metal insect sculptures by Anvil Island Design.
Moms: Sheep skin slippers from Garneau Slippers.
Children: My plus one and I were jointly charmed by Pantouche’s seamlessly sophisticated and playful toddler bonnets with animal ears.
(Favorites: Grey plaid with rhino ears. Red tweed with fox ears.)
I also had to pick up a few things for myself! Spectacular winter hats with long tassels from Genevieve Dostaler. Twig silver bangle from Caroline Miller
What you should know before attending next years’ Circle Craft Christmas Market!
1. Take public transit or pay for the maximum allowable time at the parking meter. The show is *huge* and to do all the fascinating vendors justice you may like to spend at least three or four hours wandering around.
2. Bring some cash. Most exhibitors took debit and credit, but there were some treasures that were cash only.
3. Go early in the week. Your admission on any day will get you back in to the show for more shopping on any day of the four day event!