It is that time of year again, winter is around the corner and the Circle Craft Holiday Market has returned to help get you in the festive mood.
This year the Vancouver Convention Centre welcomes 291 artisans from all across Canada, to its largest exhibition hall, and I was there for the opening day. Those familiar with the market and those new are sure to find plenty to take pause at.
2023’s showing boasts new talent, longtime artists, and an overall focus on sustainability, inclusivity, and originality in craft.
Running from November 8th to the 12th, 2023 guests are invited to get their season’s shopping in early while being able to connect with the artisans behind them. There will also be demonstrations and samples to enjoy.
As taken from the press release, Circle Craft Holiday Market is a “beloved Vancouver tradition since 1974”. It draws in artists, makers and craftspeople from as far as Halifax and Nova Scotia, spread out over 135,000 square feet of Convention Centre space. Featured arts range from ceramics, glass, metals and wood to jewellery, textiles and paper.”
“The 2023 market exhibitors comprise of 24 “Budding Artists”, 87 new vendors, and 42 members of the Circle Craft Co-op, an artist-run endeavour with its flagship store located on Granville Island year round.”
The Convention floor is divided into sub categories like budding artist and food artisans. There is even a lounge for parents and exhibitors, plus a parcel check in and cafe to grab a bite and rest at.
If you can make it and sell it, they have it here. Truly great place to find the missing piece to your decorating dreams, or something special for a loved one.
There is wooden kitchen ware, novelty knitted hats, artsy pillows, decorative glass baubles, and whimsical stuffed creatures right when you enter.
I found myself being amazed at every turn and having something appeal to my interest at every booth. Naturally I cannot list or describe them all, but the following are some highlights.
For the spirit lover, there is a take home kit where you can add woodsy and spirit driven aromas into cocktails, soups, sauces, cheeses, etc.
There are gourmet cooking product like this Infused Soy Sauce that is gluten-free and low in sodium, flavoured with ginger, garlic, sriracha, or Japanese wasabi imported from Japan.
Stoke the Fire boasted the hottest chilli sauce, best paired with their garlic syrup finishing drizzle. This and their entire product line of small batches sauces and spreads are from the crops they grow on their own farm.
Fume-oh is a line of smoked olives and smoked tapenade inspired from a trip to San Fran. There, the owner and originator discovered her love of smoked olives and proceeded to purchase her own smoker to do the same.
I was mesmerized by the take home and make your own cheese kits. Amazed that it would only take 1 hour to make your own mozzarella or ricotta cheese, and that all you need is to add in dairy. They also have options like feta and goat cheese where you can mix in your own seasonings. The poutine kit comes with gravy. And there was a vegan option where you used nut milk.
I have had mousse, terrine, and rillettes in a can before, but Les Canardises’ foie gras was a new one for me. For that reason alone I wanted to try it. Not like the cooked to order version, but a great spread in a giftable tin.
As a self proclaimed mushroom forager, I was highly interested in Untamed Feast’s selection of foraged the dried mushrooms, plus mushroom meal kits and functional products.
And everyone’s favourite lemon square was on location offering samples. A little cube of tart and tangy lemon curd, over a buttery graham and coconut base was all you needed to want to purchase your own full bar. Otherwise, they are only available for purchase online or in select cafes.
Apparently a fan favourite at the market is Coach House Shortbread Company. During my time there, they were constantly busy selling and sampling their popular short breads in a bevy of flavours, each wrapped like a log.
Blink had a literal wall of giftable chocolate bark with flavours like ginger, sour cherry, and cayenne. Plus vegan and dairy-free options too.
Outside of food there are so many trinkets, knickknacks, and giftables to peruse through. The most unusual finds were the hand stitched stuffed animals dressed in shakespearean garb.
Jewelry and accessories crafted from recycled broken skateboards.
A life sized version of a crochet rabbit, seated next to and looking like its creator.
There were plenty of art prints, ceramics, crochet and felt pieces, fine leather goods, skincare, an even real furs. No amount of detailed description could do it justice, so here are some additional photos. I highly suggest visiting this weekend for yourself. My head was on a swivel, there’s so much to see.
For a full list of vendors, visit signatures.ca/circle-craft-artisans
Tickets are available (with a free readmission pass) at ticketme.ca/event/circle-craft-2023/