The Hare Wine Co. hosted an intimate Niagara Handmade Market Saturday, with just six local artisans displaying their wares in the winery courtyard.
In this new COVID era, it was much reduced from the previous two years, which attracted more than 30 vendors and hundreds of patrons from across Ontario.
The original event scheduled for early April was cancelled and rescheduled, says The Hare’s event coordinator, Alex Godin. Saturday’s event was set up outside the winery to ensure safety, physical distancing and traffic flow.
Katelyn MacIntyre, of 7 C Salts, was happy for the change. “It’s nice to get outside,” she says. She commended the winery for the set-up and the flow of patrons through the space. As she restocked her table, she explained she had to adapt her usual display due to COVID, but the show has been successful for her, almost selling out of product, and enjoying the people who stopped by.
7 C Salts is a line of handcrafted bath salts and shower steamers, developed her in response to her own experience with anxiety and depression. As she began to take care of herself, she learned more about meditation, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy and chakras, she says. Her goal is to educate people to make self-care more intentional. Each bag of salts or shower steamer comes with an affirmation, designed “to think about or to focus on during your bath or shower,” and to leave you “relaxed, reconnected and realigned.”
Another artisan that has a personal story is Cheryl from Coconut Quartz. She explains she has always been attracted to crystals, and started making crystal and gemstone bracelets about five years ago. Making jewelry became a therapeutic way to calm her anxiety when her mother was diagnosed with dementia, she says, and she with an autoimmune disease. It was a much-needed creative outlet which eventually became a business.
Her creations are a unique combination of vintage upcycling. She gathers stones and materials from her travels in Canada and abroad, although, she has not been able to travel too far at the moment. She likes to scour unlikely sources for vintage pieces, which becomes a treasure hunt and a labour of love as she combines cast-off bits of metal with semi-precious stones and crystals to create her unique, one-of-a-kind pieces.
Kevin McClelland from Butlersburg Woodworking began his business about three years ago. He learned his skills from his father, a woodworking teacher at Stamford Collegiate in Niagara Falls. The idea of starting the business developed after his friend asked him to make a live edge charcuterie board. McClelland made the board, and then made some more to sell. The Niagara Handmade Market was his first show of the year, and he was happy to be invited to participate.
Catherine Seburn from Sew Good and Beyond says her business took off after the shutdown. She sews various items such as head bands, scrunchies, reflective dog bandanas and aromatherapy heat packs, and has sold more than 2.000 head bands, as a remedy to what she calls “isolation hair.”
“It is nice to see people again, instead of talking to people through your phone or on a screen,” she says, explaining she works at a dental office, is “up on infection control” and understands the need for precautions. She sells untouched items from her supply behind the table, rather than the items on display. However, she believes that interacting with people is also important. “We need it for our mental health.”
Carrie Houle from Paper & Sunshine was also happy to attend the show, a “wonderful reprieve,” and “nice to feel safe and engaged with friends.” Her whimsical signs and decor can be custom-made, and she endeavours to source all of her products from local or at least Canadian suppliers, including wood, paint, stain and stencils. “It may be difficult to promote local. but it’s worth it,” she says, encouraging people to buy local, and “look for things in your own backyard.”