by Hani Yassine
The Lance – Arts Editor
The keyword of the weekend was variety.
Hundreds of local vendors as well as artisans across Ontario set up shop at the third annual Handmade Spring Extravaganza at the WFCU Centre from Mar. 21 through 22. Whether they were figurines, paintings, woodworking or scented candles, there was truly something for everyone and it was all homegrown.
“Everything is handmade, so it’s all one of a kind,” said organizer Chelsey Carr.
Admission for the event was free, but donations to the Windsor Essex Ice Bullets Sledge Hockey Organization were encouraged. Each item crafted was done so on a personal level and hundreds of people attended the weekend event to purchase a wide range of unique items and emphasize the importance of local goods.
“I just like how there’s a lot of handmade, very unique crafts,” said attendee Carrie Noade. “I also like how they donate the foods and the donations that go to whatever group they’re supporting. I really think that’s advantageous and it makes you want to comeback because you’re supporting a good event.”
A chunk of the vendors came from a local organization known as From Our Hands to Yours, which is a local store featuring work from over 75 local artists. Stephen Poulrot was among those from the store along with his wife. As someone who mainly does construction work, his burly demeanour was offset by the range of cutesy toys and stuffed animals made from household items such as tissue paper and diapers.
“You got this cutesy stuff and then you have this big burly guy sitting in the back, and explaining to them this stuff and actually know everything about it,” Poulrot said. “We don’t make the parts, we just put them together. We try to accommodate for as many people as we can.”
Carr said organizing the event consumed a lot of time and consisted of a lot of trial and error. Beyond presenting locals with plentiful choices, she wanted the event to emphasize the talent which goes into handmade crafts.
“I just want them to know that handmade and crafts don’t just mean pipe cleaners, glue and sparkles,” said Carr. “It’s art, it’s love, it’s someone’s passion and they really put a lot into it.”