The One of a Kind Show is something that you’ve likely heard of, and possibly have been to, since it’s been happening in Toronto since 1975. It started as the brainchild of Steven Levy, Martin Rumack and June Bibby, when Bibby couldn’t find anywhere to sell her work. They created the craft show and it’s since grown to represent more than 800 artisans, designers and craftspeople, and is the largest consumer craft show in North America.
And big it is – luckily it runs for more than a week (from Thursday, November 22 to Sunday, December 2), which is great because there’s no way you can visit each booth in just a day. We recently took a trip to the Direct Energy Centre to check it out and were blown away by the talent and creativity in the room (we were a bit skeptical that it was going to resemble a church basement craft sale, if we’re honest). There were literally hundreds of things we could have snapped up from handmade flavoured peanut butters, to uniquely-flavoured shortbread, to the cutest little baby outfits and toys, funky jewellery and a ton of art.
Here are some of the great items that we saw (and sampled):
Diane Stewart from Blind River, Ontario, creates “paintings” out of layered strips of fabric. Love this brand-new lace piece showing a waterfall cascading down a series of rocks. Gorgeous (Diane doesn’t have a website but you can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested).
Fidoodle creates really funky baby toys, that will still appeal to a young parent’s aesthetic. We particularly loved this little doll in primary colours that flips upside down to reveal a butterfly girl.
Kino Guerin creates hanging chalkboards with his signature curved wood pieces, and the slate salvaged from old house rooftops. They sell for about $300-500 depending on the size, and are worth every penny.
Another creative lighting option was found in the Wine Planks booth, where Cathy Davison deconstructs used wine barrels into awesome pieces for your home. Everyone was going crazy for the wooden strips turned into candle holders, but we loved the garden balls made from the metal hoops that hold the barrels together. They’re meant for outside, but we picked one up for our dining room (for the low, low price of $50).
We Beet Everything makes killer beet-based dips, including our favourite, Sassy Horseradish (because, obviously we’ll buy anything that incorporates sassiness). Beets + horseradish = the best new flavour combo.
One of the best young artists we saw was Patrick Lajoie, who created original woodprints from photographs that he took. They were Canadiana at it’s best, and solidified our commitment to collecting Canadian art. The affordable price tags also helped – each bigger print was about $300-600, making it easy for us to envision a few hanging on the walls.
There you have it! Not just a show for crafty moms and wrinkled old ladies. Get there before it ends – you will love it.