by Amanda DelaCruz
Culture Toronto once again perused the aisles of the One of a Kind Christmas Show at the Enercare Centre. It's a hugely successful convention that brings makers and buyers together twice a year to celebrate all that is unique and handmade. You're bound to find something you love.
Because it's so big of an event it can take you hours to see every aisle. Here are a few of our favourites that you should look out for when you visit:
BOOTH A11 / PIP ROBIN ACCESSORIES
I loved the idea of Overdue where old books are made into new journals. Her booth was packed with people trying to find some beloved book from their childhood to turn into a new place to jot down their thoughts or sketch their ideas. I know I was.
BOOTH C56 / DES ENFANTILLAGES
This Montreal based duo are part of the Rising Stars in the One of a Kind Show this year. They're strong believers in "slow design," the handmade, and quality over quantity. My team member was drawn to the slingshots. I was drawn to the colours and whimsy. If only my childhood toys looked this good.
BOOTH E05 / SWELL FELLOW
This mother son team from Quebec had us lingering in their booth the longest. Erik designs, she sews. Every tie, bow tie, or pocket square is a unique and creative work of art. Swell Fellow takes accessorizing to a new level. Ties are sewn with funky fabrics, scrabble pieces, zippers, monopoly houses, comic strips, toy cars, mesh pockets, maps and more. Talk about a conversation starter! It would be hard to decide on just one.
BOOTH L47 / UPPDOO
I am seriously picky about my purses. They need to be well made in leather. They need to be both sturdy and cute. Uppdoo makes beautiful and classic looking bags that are almost unbelievably hand made and hand stitched in small batches. I was sold when I saw the structured hinged lid on their Wonder Bags. The tan one I picked up is my absolute new favourite.
BOOTH Q34 / Identity Apparel
At Culture Toronto we're pretty proud to be Canadian. To see pro Toronto wear done in an edgy kind of way would naturally draw us into Meghan Irish's Identity Apparel booth. That geometric beaver - awesome. We loved the antlers and the patterns. All Meghan had was great gear for us northerners.
Sherif presents a funny: When I stepped into the booth, I tried complimenting the designer's unique beaver shirt design by saying that "I've never been so excited about a beaver." All the women in the booth laughed. It took me a few minutes before realizing these girls weren't equally excited about polygon beavers.
BOOTH T43 / ÉRIC SÉGUIN
My team member is really into knives. What guy isn't really? But I studied both Jewellery Design and Dental Technology so obviously this black bear jaw blade is going to appeal to me keenly and not just because of the obvious skill of its maker. He does damascus steel blades too! Look at that detail.
BOOTH Y33 / DEMO SOAP
We loved Thomas Tam's soap booth. Everything was fresh, colourful, and delicious looking. One of the girls working there told us that they're actually soap bakers and that was a perfect way to describe the soap donuts, macaroons and gingerbread men that caught our eye. Thomas' store and studio in Liberty Village lets you see how the soaps are made or you can even participate in soap making classes on site!
BOOTH Y33 / NOELLE HAMLYN
I'm biased here. I am obsessed with books. I love this idea of a framed bookshelf. Especially because I use an e-reader now and always miss the tactility of a well designed book cover. I don't love the idea of a book being gutted even though these ones were upcycled, but I still would love to have a framed representation of the books I hold dear on my own wall. Noelle is one of the few artists that I know of that consistently creates brand new bodies of work for almost every show she does and wins awards for them constantly. Her work is always so intricate and beautiful. Over the years I've seen her insanely time consuming woven pieces, salt encrusted sculptural works, embroidery, and garments. I never know it's her booth until I'm really in it but I appreciate it every time.
BOOTH X13 / VELVET MOUSTACHE
These large cushions stuck out to me far before I was actually at the booth. Using recovered fabrics, old buttons and recycled sweaters, this Montreal duo are creating super soft cushions with the sleepiest eyes I've ever seen. When the kids snuggle up to one of these I think they'll be snoozing in no time.
The One of a Kind Christmas Show runs until December 6th. Go before the good things are gone!