Canadian makers get gifty at Circle Craft
Urban Living Lucy Lau
Vancouver’s busy craft-fair season kicks off with the Circle Craft Christmas Market on November 8, when over 300 artisans will touch down in the city with all sorts of handcrafted apparel, jewellery, homewares, and other goods in tow.
Arguably the granddaddy of holiday markets, the 44th annual event will feature 50-plus newcomers from across Canada, all of whom are making it their personal goal to have every name on your shopping list crossed off well before December. Below, a guide to a couple of our favourite new Circle Craft–ers and the old-fashioned pillows and chic pet items they’ll be sharing during the five-day fair.
VINTAGE MAP CO. Maps are typically displayed in minimalist frames, plastered directly onto walls, or, in the case of serious collectors, stored in steel cabinets designed to protect such pieces from damage. Torontobased textile artist Helen Hawkett, however, prefers them emblazed across plush pillows and cushions.
“It grew from a homemade Christmas exchange that we did with family,” Hawkett tells the Straight by phone. “My husband and I had this idea of putting this cool old map that we had of Prince Edward County onto fabric and making pillows out of it.”
Seven years later, Hawkett has produced hundreds of square and rectangular cushions—and linen tea towels—digitally printed with vintage maps depicting Canadian regions such as Montreal, Nova Scotia, and Calgary, the originals of which she sources from ebay and various antique shops. The maps date as far back as the 1800s and, in many instances, exhibit railways, post offices, and the wards, boroughs, or parks that made up an area at one time. “I don’t do any old map,” explains Hawkett. “I want it to be unique and beautiful and evoke some history.”
At Circle Craft, Hawkett will be showcasing her West Coast–oriented pillows, which are adorned with maps of the North Shore, Vancouver Island, the Okanagan, and more. Her Vancouver cushion illustrates the city in 1906, when the area was marked and connected by gridlike railroad tracks. Crafted from a linen-cotton canvas, all Vintage Map Co. pillows are filled with down or a synthetic fibre by request.
HOWL & HOME When Tina Ng and Jérémie Laguette adopted their first pet—an adorable German shepherd– Husky mix named Cypress—they didn’t find many pet supplies and furnishings that fit their aesthetic. So they decided to create their own. “We like things to be pretty minimalist and low-profile,” says Ng, “and we really like sturdy design.”
With Ng, a full-time graphic designer, taking on the design duties, and Laguette, the sign-maker behind Woodtype, tackling the building side, the Halfmoon Bay–based duo crafted a pared-down dog-bowl stand— equipped with locally made earthenware bowls—that was soon drawing the attention of family and friends.
Constructed using pine plywood offcuts from Laguette’s sign biz and coated in an eco-friendly, food-safe finish, the feeding stations come in two different heights that allow your four-legged pals to more comfortably reach for food and water. (The “short” is ideal for Frenchies and pugs, for example, while the “tall” is great for larger-sized breeds.) “We wanted the items to a) not be an eyesore,” explains Ng, “and b) look obviously like something for dogs or for pets.”
At Circle Craft, the pair, known collectively as Howl & Home, will have samples of their feeders on deck, which shoppers can customize with punches of peach, lilac, and other hues. “The idea is we’re going to allow people to choose the colour,” says Ng. There’ll also be poop-bag storage boxes and, if attendees are lucky, a sneak peek at Howl & Home’s soonto-be-released pet beds.
The Circle Craft Christmas Market takes place from November 8 to 12 at the Vancouver Convention Centre’s West building.