By Mat Wilush
The Halifax Crafters, a volunteer-run organization that connects independent crafters in the city, will be holding its annual Spring Show from April 5-6 at the Olympic Centre on Hunter Street.
Typically, around 80 artisans book booths each year to showcase their wide variety of creative fares, from handmade ceramics to cosmetics, food and textile prints.
Alison Kloet is a Halifax Crafters staff volunteer and crafts custom housewares emblazoned with unique silk-screen prints. “I’m strangely passionate about this,” she says. “I like how awesome objects can be if they mean something to you. You could go to Wal Mart and get a bowl, but if you get a bowl that means something, every time you eat, you’ll love your life.”
This will be Mariko Paterson’s second year participating with the Halifax Crafters. Paterson is a ceramic artist who creates with a group called Forage Studios. Based out of Lunenburg, she says she “combines narratives and ceramics.”
“Because this is really the only show of its kind in town,” says Paterson, “you find that people repeatedly show up.”
Halifax Crafters reduces the cost of a table for first-timers – they charge first-timers $60, rather than the usual fee, which can range from 100 and up – aiming to encourage as many independent and local artists to get involved as possible. There are currently eight crafters registered with their “New Catch” tagline.
Each fair’s poster is hand-printed by a different crafter, which allows for crafters to get involved with the promotion of the event. The upcoming spring fair’s poster was designed by Halifax-based Double Dare Studio.
“I grew up in Toronto, where there are so many resources available for artists,” says Kloet. “There just isn’t quite as much available in Halifax.”
“When I started, it was just a hobby for me,” says Geordan Moore, a printmaker who has been working with the Halifax Crafters since 2009. “I was just making posters. I went to one of their first shows and I thought that it was such a great experience that now I never want to miss it. I love it.”
Moore currently sells his hand-printed work, from his studio Quarrelsome Yeti, at the Seaport Farmers’ Market each Saturday, and has only missed a single craft fair since attending that first one. He has been since been commissioned to illustrate for publications like The Coast and The Globe and Mail.
“Crafting is a big part of me being able to be self-employed,” he explains. “When I started, I didn’t have any venues to sell my work on my own time. But once I did the Crafters show, I found a way to start making money and it really kind of gave me a push to leave my job and realize that I could be successful.”
“I think it’s great to be able to see what everyone’s up to and to see people and their businesses grow,” says Kloet. “Whenever one crafter has a victory, whatever it is, I feel like it’s one for all of us.”