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With over 300 vendors gathering at Vancouver’s Convention Center, Circle Craft is Canada’s largest artisan market. Organizer Paul Yard founded Circle Craft in 1973 as a craftsmen cooperative.
For five days in November, starry-eyed crowds flock to Vancouver’s annual Circle Craft market, immersing themselves in the legacy and beauty of fine craft. Over 300 vendors exhibit their gorgeous wares at Vancouver’s 135,000-square-foot Convention Centre West — quite a departure from the show’s beginnings as an artisan co-op at Vancouver East Cultural Centre in 1973.
“These original shows were warm intimate affairs,” founder and organizer Paul Yard tells us. Today, Circle Craft still operates as a cooperative of BC craftspeople, whose specialties range from woodwork and metals to fashion and food. A jury reviews vendor submissions, selecting artisans with a strong personal style and exceptional quality.
“In many ways, the up-and-coming artists of today are very similar to their counterparts of 40 years ago,” says Yard. “They are passionate idealists making things with their hands.”
As always, the 2016 show brings fresh new talent — this year, we can look forward to retro industrial-style lighting creations, colourful glass gem-studded serveware, and exquisite handmade collectible dolls, to name a few. Among other returning exhibitors, there were four “veterans” whom Taste of Life had a chance to chat up: history-savvy potter Gordon Hutchens, Italian-Canadian jeweller Roberto Fioravanti, chocolate connoisseur Paul Dincer of Koko Monk Chocolates, and milliner Karyn Gingras of Toronto’s Lilliput Hats. We delve behind the booths to uncover their creative paths, inspirations, and stories.
Interviewed and English Text by Kate Missine Translated by Zhao Wen