Shop. Sip. Savour.
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 11:09
When most people think of fall, good things come to mind. Though saddened to see the summer go, the many perks of the fall season make it rather easy for us to adjust to the changes that September brings about.
The unbearable heat subsides and permits sweaters to be worn, the leaves outside form colourful mosaics on the ground as they fall, pumpkin spice is a flavour you can pretty much order anywhere, comfort foods like soup and apple pie make more frequent appearances during meal time and there are numerous outdoor activities and events to enjoy.
If shopping for unique products, enjoying live musical entertainment, tasting delicious food and sipping wine sounds great to you, then attending the second Annual Fall Handmade Market should be on your list of things to do this season.
This year, the Fall Handmade Market will be held at 13th Street Winery in St. Catharines on Friday, Sept. 21st from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Handmade Market is an upscale artisan market event featuring one-of-a-kind handmade products by local artisans. The Handmade Market is a traveling boutique shopping experience that promotes the handmade arts, the talent of artists close to home and commodities made in a sweat-shop-free environment.
Though this is only the second year that the Fall Handmade Market is being held, the traveling boutique shopping experience has come to Niagara for the past three years in the spring and for the past four years in November for a special Christmas Handmade Market. With numerous artisans, entertainment and new faces making an appearance, each Handmade Market is just as unique as the featured products themselves.
Husband and wife team Mark and Jennifer Elliotson both stem from an artistically expressive background and have allowed their creative experience to help them organize and produce The Handmade Market.
Mark is a graphic designer and Jennifer is the owner of Mimosa Flower Studio in Jordan, Ontario. Having lived in Niagara all of their lives, both Mark and Jennifer felt it necessary to provide more exposure for local artisans and others with an artistic eye like themselves.
Eventually, the Elliotsons partnered with The Good Earth Food and Wine Company in Niagara to help make their ideas a reality.
The Good Earth Food and Wine Company is a haven for food lovers, offering cooking demos, culinary events and catered affairs with their winery and bistro. The Good Earth Food and Wine Company is another firm believer in the importance of keeping things local, which is why they were as equally eager to build on the idea of The Handmade Market.
“There are plenty of arts and craft shows held throughout the year, but it becomes disheartening when local artisans are overlooked or overshadowed by corporations and businesses. It was important to us that we step away from commercialization and do our own thing,” said Mark Elliotson. “And not to mention that we understand the challenges that accompany entrepreneurial work, so running something like The Handmade Market is great for those involved.”
Last year, the Fall Handmade Market featured 35 artisans and drew a crowd of approximately 1300-1500 people. Though the Elliotsons do not believe that success is measured in numbers — but rather — by the experience itself, this year’s Fall Handmade Market is expecting around 3000 attendees and has a grown list of 57 local artisans who will be showcased.
“We have to use the word ‘local’ loosely when it comes to the artisans because some are from Southern Ontario. However, even the Toronto-based ones are close enough to home so that the sense of community is prominent nonetheless,” said Elliotson.
Some of the artisans that are to be expected this year include A Knot Above, Big Village, Chapel Street Designs, Fired Earth Tiles, Fullin’ Woolens, Greg Voisin Pottery, Infusion Organic Tea, Karmacloth, Mad Cap Hats, Rogue Goat, Shed Pottery, Soulful Soap, Wicked Shortbread, White Feather Designs and many more.
Jewelry, pottery, hand-sewn bags and accessories, preserves, natural bath and body products, original art, clothing, home décor, hand-spun fibres, wood products, time pieces, leather goods and hand bound books are just some of the products that can be purchased and all are one-of-a-kind.
“We are extremely fortunate to have the kinds of partnerships that we do with so many talented individuals. Much of the Handmade Market’s success comes from the wide-range of products for sale because no two artisans are the same,” said Elliotson.
Just as no two artisans are the same, the location varies as well. While the Christmas Handmade Market takes place across two locations: the Fielding Estate Winery and Good Earth Food and Wine Company; the Fall Handmade Market takes place on the beautiful grounds of 13th Street Winery on Fourth Avenue in St. Catharines.
“It’s the perfect venue for the fall time with all of the colors and rustic appeal, which makes for great ambience,” said Elliotson. “Between the surrounding forested areas, the contemporary farmhouse, numerous outdoor art installations on the grounds and the vineyards, what better place to kick off the fall season than here?”
In the fall of 2009, 13th Street Winery saw the beginning of its new retail facility here in St. Catharines. The main vision for the location was to provide visitors with a unique experience that stimulated all of the senses, not just taste. This became the driving force behind the renovation of the old farmhouse and the construction of the Gallery Room, which features floor to ceiling windows on two sides and a rotating art exhibit on the others. Though the renovations created a more contemporary look, 13th Street Winery still possesses the wholesome and rustic feel that it began with.