Four decades and still only One Of A Kind | Winter Show 2018

Maker Bean Cafe - Caira Christopher

By: Sherri Telenko

One Of A Kind 2018 Winter artisan show and sale is the Comic-con for craft lovers. Every year for decades–literally decades–I’ve looked forward to the annual holiday show jam packed with 800 professional artisans from across the country and sometimes beyond.

I even remember when the annual event became bi-annual by adding Spring One Of A Kind (March 27 to 31, 2019 next year) right before my birthday. A small part of me believes that’s no coincidence.

Yes, it’s a market place–hours and hours of shopping–but there’s something remarkably charming, even cultured, about carefully selecting products from those who created them, and in this case, vendor entry to the show is curated so standards are high.

Trends of Christmas Past and Present

Like anything, even crafting has trends. Early years of One Of A Kind saw marketplace rows dominated by potters. Years later you had your choice of hand-painted floor mats and braided rugs, and even puppets had their moment.

Today, pottery is still a staple, though not to the extent it once was. Floor mats, however, are nowhere to be found.

What’s in now? Pet products, beaded jewelry and the big one: recycled, reclaimed and repurposed everything and anything. Here’s a sample:
cross-body bags, accessories and dog collars made from former fire fighting uniforms and hoses by Past Into New.

Travel bags and carry-ons with seatbelt buckles made from vintage luxury car interiors such as Porsche and Mercedes seat leather (the more expensive the car, the pricier the bag). There’s a more affordable line made from Air Canada airplane seats –all designed by Montreal’s Mari Cla Ro.

“Creative journaling” notebooks from Margi Laurin made from real books, including classic Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series.

Used sweaters transform into mittens at Northern Smittens and kitten toys at RoRo Art, and even dog coats from RePaws Apparel & Accessories.

Design Contest

After 40 years, the event is “celebrating the culture of craft with a renewed vision” according to organizers. First, the word ‘winter’ replaces ‘Christmas’ in the show title. Second, DIY workshops and demonstrations replace the popular fashion show. And third, a Wi-Fi lounge replaces spending an afternoon away from your phone.

My favourite addition is the One Of A Kind Candy Competition that asked artisans to create unique products celebrating their favorite holiday sweet – all displayed around a ceiling-high Christmas Tree because embracing the season isn’t totally off the table.

One Af A Kind 2018 Winter Show continues at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place in Toronto until December 2, 2018. Spring One Of A Kind is March 27 to 31, 2019. Visit www.oneofakindshow.com for more details.

Sherri Telenko is an art-loving dog enthusiast who blogs at www.dogtrotting.net.

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