5 Samples of Booths to Appear at This Week’s 42nd Annual Christmas Craft Fair

If you can't get a ton of your Christmas shopping done here this week, you're doing something wrong.

The Craft Council’s annual Christmas Craft Fair does you the biggest favour every November: it piles well over 50 fabulous local artists, craftmakers, food makers, publishers and more under one roof, for several days. Quite frankly, if you can’t get a ton of your Christmas shopping done here this week, you’re doing something wrong.  

This year, the fair is changing locations: you’ll find it at the Jack Byrne Arena, just past Stavanger Drive, on Torbay Road. Admission is $5, free for kids, and the hours are: 10 am to 9 pm on the 12th, 134th, and 14th + 10am – 5pm on the 15th.

There will be an opening ceremony on the 11th, from 7-9. DJ Krystle Hayden will be performing, and Andy Jones will be signing his award-winning, beautifully illsutrated and bound children’s books (from Running the Goat Press). It’s common knowledge to go on opening night for the first jump on one-of-a-kind pieces.

What makes the fair so special, or better put, so reliably high quality, is that every booth there had to meet a jury’s standards to be deemed worthy of being there. Parking is free and ample, and you’ll see artists at work, sample some goods/foods, there’ll be raffles, and even a best new product award.

With ~75 vendors present, you’ll find more than just gifts here; you’re bound to also with an appreciation for the breadth of creative products coming out of Newfoundland & Labrador.

Meet Five Booths at Random … 

Brindy Linens

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Quality made linens + fresh design work = someone on your list wants these funky’n’functional products, right? Brindy Linens make “one of a kind, handprinted textiles made from hemp and organic cotton. Images are hand carved in linoleum, and block printed onto fabric. We offer an array of products that includes tea towels, napkins, aprons, tote bags, reusable vegetable bags, sachets, and pillows. We are continuously expanding our line of products.”

Maaike Charron’s Pottery Work

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Would you or someone you know like a nice mug with a robot on one side, and “Robot Wears Its heart Out” on the other? Probably. Charron is a “self-taught potter with a thing for robots. Also, dinosaurs. You can generally think of my pots as single panel comics.” You’ll find tea pots, mugs, bowls and more at Charron’s booth. “I like the idea of art you can interact with day to day,” Charorn says.

Constantine Designs

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After nearly a decade of working and travelling overseas, Lynda Constantine returned to Canada to become a goldsmith and pursue her passion for jewellery design. Her inspiration comes from the cultural experiences she had while in Asia, Africa, and Europe, which “instilled a deep appreciation for the freedom Canadians have to define themselves and design their own lives.” As a photographer and practitioner of shodo (Japanese calligraphy), she is aware of how beauty can be “expressed with one intentional stroke of a brush or a simple strike of light,” and she incorporates this “beauty of simplicity” in her jewellery.

Paradise Farms Inc.’s Bee Natural Prodcuts

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Their lip, hand, and foot balms are considered god sends from many people who can find no product but Paradise Farms’ for their ailments. Also, few candles can hold a candle to their beeswax candles. As for the honey itself, sold by the jar, they say “the island of Newfoundland is one of the few areas in the world that does not have the tracheal or varroa mite. Therefore, pesticide applications for this destructive insect are not necessary. Furthermore, Paradise Farms Inc. uses zero drugs or chemical treatments on its bees.” In other words, there’s much buzz about their honey: it’s some of the best, most natural stuff around.

Northeastern Folk Art

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Raku pottery, known for its striking glazes, was traditionally a Japanese technique, and is the medium in which artists Mike Gillan and  Erin McArthur dwell. They draw their inspiration from the rugged coastlines and  wild natural beauty surrounding them. Their kiln is made out of recycled oil drums and fire brick. Work is removed from the kiln while it’s still red-hot, and thrown in a bucket lined with sawdust, then quickly covered to smother the flames. The process lets the smoke, and lack of air, create an unusual finish featuring a striking and crackled colouration of copper, aqua, and white. “This kind of firing is hot, intense, and exciting,” they say. “We usually have friends and others who happen by to help. There’s always food, and a scattered bit of wine once the firing is done.”

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