Thursday, December 6, 2018

Vendor Profile #15 - Wild Blue Yonder

I began crafting jewelry from wood back in 2014 - simply because I wanted a wood pendant and couldn't find anything I liked. So I began experimenting with found wood, lichens, and epoxy resin. As I wore my handmade pieces, friends and family began asking for similar ones, so I happily obliged. Pushing my craft and expanding my networks has allowed my to begin my own company, Wild Blue Yonder, in the spring of 2016. Based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, my jewelry is available in several stores, and is displayed regularly at events throughout the region.

WBY jewelry is created using reclaimed materials, unused lumber scraps, or fragments of wood, bark, and lichen found on hikes and travels through the forest. Little details, often unnoticed in nature, are readily on display in my pieces. My jewelry is designed to inspire its wearer with a love for nature, and all the intricacies that lie therein. 

Amber, founder of Wild Blue Yonder.

Vendor Profile #14 - Frances Ward Ceramics

 Frances Ward (visual artist, poet, editor/publisher) was born in Manchester, U.K. but has spent most of her adult years in Hamilton area (Ontario, Canada) where as a mixed and multi-media artist she has created 2 & 3 dimensional works with paint, collage, assemblage, printmaking, photography and, most recently, clay. 

She has participated in many solo and group exhibitions over the years and her work is included in numerous private and corporate collections. In addition to being awarded several Ontario Arts Council grants, she is also winner of the 2015 Emerging Ceramic Artist (Kaleidoscope, Art Gallery of Burlington 2015), 2014 Fusion Award for Best in show (Kaleidoscope, AGB 2014), Agnes Tassie Award for Sculpture (2012, DVSA Annual Juried Show, Dundas), First Prize Winner in the Wegway International Juried Show (2005, Fran Hill Gallery, Toronto), and a Purchase Prize winner for Scarfone Hawkins Law Firm (2004, Hamilton). 

The author of three solo collections of poetry, she was also publisher/editor of “Hammered Out” (a literary journal, 2003 to 2008), “road work ahead” (an anthology of poetry & images, 2010) and “Travelling Light” (haiku & paintings, 2012).

Vendor Profile #13 - Frayed Knot Fibre

Tell us about your work and what we can expect to see at this years Handmade Hamilton?

        Frayed Knot Fibre is all about fibre, some of which is from our own alpacas. We love colour and yarn and the fibre arts. We will have a big range of handpainted luxury yarns and spinning and felting fibres as well as our new focus on unique handspun yarns that are easy for you to use to create one of a kind items.

What are your inspirations?

           My colour inspirations come from everywhere, nature astounds me, so do the little things and it all comes together in the way colour and texture can convey emotion, identity and comfort. I am also a visual artist and I use my         studies and finished work as inspiration for colourways as well. I am also inspired by potential, and I find that creating these things which are intended for creations themselves, inspiring and a good reminder of my own         potential. 

What are your favourite books? Movies? Music?

        I have a thing for good Sci Fi books and the occasional mystery. Some of my favorite authors are John Scalzi and Lois McMaster Bujold. I love music that takes me somewhere new, like Kishi Bashi and Andrew Bird, or bands that remind me of good times like Throwing Muses or Forest for the Trees.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Vendor Profile #12: ALTR Soaps

ALTR creates hand-made bar soap with local, wildcrafted botanicals.  We seek to change popular soap culture by offering products that showcase only local plants, and, in this way, elevate the seemingly mundane task of washing oneself into a ritual reconnection to the land that sustains us all. 

All of the main botanical elements are wildcrafted by us from local wild areas and are then brewed into a nourishing infusion that acts as a base for each bar. 
Our soap is 100% natural, made with organic ingredients, palm oil free and vegan. We make each product with great care and hope that our soap will inspire people to take care of themselves and reincorporate the natural world back into their daily rituals. 

Vendor Profile #11 : Little Love Birds

 Tell us about your creative work and what we can expect to see at Handmade Hamilton. 

I take vintage and thrifted fabrics and notions (buttons, trim etc) and turn them into timeless children’s goods. This year I will be bringing children’s coats made from classic wool blankets, holiday and cozy winter outfits made from reclaimed fabrics, and vintage inspired jumpers, pants and vests made from 100% wool suiting materials sourced from antique vendors and tailors. 

What does your creative process look like?

I spend a lot of time searching vintage/thrift stores and Etsy for vintage children’s patterns to get inspiration .  Then I let my fabric finds and the seasons dictate where I go from there. In the summer I had light floral dresses, bloomers and reversible rompers. For the fall I transformed vintage flannel and wool blankets into cozy bonnets, pants, and coats. Currently I’m creating holiday dresses with accents of vintage lace, and wool separates from a cache of suiting materials that were reclaimed from a tailor. I do all my sewing on industrial machines in my home studio while my 3 kids (aged 4.5, 2 and 2) are sleeping.

What inspires you to create the work that you do?

As a lover of all things vintage I’ve always been inspired by the well made, tailored pieces that stand the test of time. I want to create heirloom clothing that will be passed on to friends and family members for ages. By using reclaimed fabrics we can divert textile waste from landfills as well as reduce the heavy burden that creating new textiles have on the environment. 

What are some of your favourite podcasts or music to listen to when you create?

I find podcasts and most music too distracting to listen to while working, so I will often have Netflix playing in the background. Usually something that I’ve watched a million times, like The Office or Star Trek

What are your favourite books?

I’m a big fan of classic science fiction and fantasy novels like Dune, but since I have 3 small children at home I’m currently reading a lot of Dr. Seuss.

What are your favourite films?

I love campy classic movies and musicals. White Christmas and Meet Me in St. Louis are in heavy rotation right now!

Do you have a quote that keeps you going when you get discouraged?

My favourite quote is a lyric from Astrud Gilberto’s classic Samba hit StayFor time is running, take everything life can give you. You know it's there so take it, even fake it 'til it comes true.”

If you have any advice for any emerging artisans what would it be?

Soak up every piece of advice you can, don’t let your ego get in your own way, plan for your successes, and take your failures in stride.

Vendor Profile #10: La Villa Goods

We are an ethical brand that aims to create positive social impact in El Salvador by partnering with artisans and connecting them to international markets through thoughtfully designed and curated hand-made goods, all produced under ethical standards. We are deeply involved in the production process of every piece that has been designed by our team.  

Our coconut collection includes earrings, bracelets, bangles, chokers, and necklaces, all made in partnership with Callotl Artisans, an environmental project that targets sea turtle conservation, responsible fishing and sustainable development. Thanks to Callotl, coastal communities in violence ridden areas have found new hope through work and commerce using local renewable resources that would otherwise go to waste. La Villa’s exclusive coconut collection is hand made in Costa del Sol, whose locals have limited fair employment opportunities.

Our textiles are hand-woven on traditional wooden foot looms by master artisans thus conserving cultural heritage and promoting productive activities in an at risk rural area. They include, scarves, kimonos, throws, blankets, tea-towels and placemats.  It is our goal to grow together with our partners in an on-going, fair manner.

Vendor Profile #9: Laura K Watson

Tell us about your creative work and what we can expect to see at Handmade Hamilton. 
    I am a drawer, writer, embroiderer, and printmaker. At Handmade Hamilton, I’ll be selling cards, postcards, zines, paper dolls, and prints, made with digital printing as well as more traditional forms of printmaking like silkscreen. In my writing, drawings, and prints, I tend to focus on the minutia of my daily life, but I like to mix it with elements of folklore or magic.

What are some of your favourite podcasts or music to listen to when you create?
    If I’m struggling to get through a print run when I’m screen-printing, I like to put on Kate Bush’s album, The Dreaming. It has so much wild energy and I love picturing Kate Bush making that when she was so young with this incredible level of confidence.

What are your favourite books?
    I couldn’t choose just one or two so I made a list of ten.

1. We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson
2. Here - Wislawa Szymborska
3. Everything by Jane Austen
4. Everything by Kazuo Ishiguro
5. Tess of the D’Ubervilles - Thomas Hardy
6. The Gorgeous Nothings - Emily Dickinson (a beautiful collection of her handwritten poems on envelopes and scrap papers)
7. The Witch’s Handbook - Malcolm Bird (a children’s book from 1984 with no narrative or real information but amazing, amazing illustrations)
8. All the Harry Potter books
9. Everything illustrated by Arthur Rackham
10. The Colossus - Sylvia Plath

If you have any advice for any emerging artisans what would it be?
    I think that if you want to be able to make things as your full-time or part-time job, you need to treat it like a job. Keep a regular work schedule. Have a designated work space. Set deadlines for yourself. But I also think this has to be balanced with a certain level of flexibility that allows you to be creative. You don’t want to become a production line. You want to make things that are exciting to you. Sometimes this means getting an idea at midnight, working on it all night, and throwing off your whole schedule.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Vendor Profile #8: Island Joy

Island Joy is an artisanal green skincare line that captures the essence of the Caribbean. A collection of luxurious sugar scrubs handcrafted in small batches using natures's finest ingredients and backed by science. 

Founded by a mother-daughter duo, that believes skin care is a ritual through which to indulge, Island Joy creates a sensory experience reminiscent of family memories and life by the beach. Born from the philosophy that exfoliation is key to achieving and maintaining healthy skin ,Island Joy is specially formulated to gently exfoliate and nourish the skin, leaving it glowing and incredibly soft and smooth.

Based on the principle of being kind to your skin, Island Joy uses carefully sourced ingredients and does not contain any fillers, petrochemicals,, toxic chemicals,, phthalates, or dyes.  Mindfully made in Canada, products are formulated with respect to the environment and through methods that are cruelty free.