Most Around the House readers will never have occasion to walk the CanGift Market, held biannually in Toronto. Unless of course they’re part of Canada’s $10 billion giftware industry. In that case, they likely would have been stocking shelves of their home, art, craft, and gift stores from the over 600 exhibitors who attended. I was invited to do a media tour of the show, and since I had not been in several years, I accepted. I am glad I did. What really stood out for me was the number of notable Canadian suppliers I found in the aisles. Since you did not get to go (see above), here’s a sneak peek at what you missed:
Bowls by All for Knot Gallery made by Angela Worsley, who carries on the Maritime tradition of making decorative and functional pieces out of nautical rope. In an eco-friendly twist, some of it would otherwise be destined for either burial or burning.
Hides in Hand crafts beautiful handbags, tablet holders, coffee sleeves, laptop covers, and slippers out of buttery, sustainably-made leather from a factory in Rockwood, ON, an area well known in 50s for its glovers and tanneries. It’s all exceptionally fine, but what really caught my eye was a line owner Teresa Paul – herself a designer — commissioned to Eric Parnell, a member of the Eagle clan of the Haida Nation. If you are one of the Cool Kids, you’ll know that Parnell had a hand in the design of Skwachàys Lodge, an Indigenous arts hotel in Vancouver gaining notice for both its good looks and advocacy of Indigenous art.
Keep an eye out for interesting pottery made by Zacharie Quin, who with wife Adrienne Gradauer runs Smiling Cow Studio in Maple Creek, SK. I’m still thinking about the quirky texture and slightly translucent quality of his work, and the tiny touches of gold on many pieces.
Lots to love from Burlington, ON-based manufacturer of made-to-order framed print art Celadon Art. Perhaps most memorable for me are coal-toned, abstract landscapes in ink wash by Taylor Y. Kim.
Pretty and practicable recyclable paper placements with well-drawn designs to suit all kinds of entertaining are what made me stop at the booth for Quebec-based Maison Lorrain. The 50-pacement books are just one of a huge range of table and kitchen linens and accessories.
Also loved the Inuit sculptures from La Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec From artists in 14 communities on the Hudson and Ungava coasts of Nunavik, the pieces have striking lines and a wonderful sense of movement. Some are decorated with etched lines, and some have hand-written notes by the maker that tell their story.