THE RISE OF THE MAKERS

There’s a new brand of influencer in town- the maker. And there’s a whole new culture forming around these entrepreneurial creatives. From the success of e-commerce platform etsy to the growing number of makerspaces popping up all over the world from Berlin to Sydney, an ecosystem is forming that’s allowing craftsmen and craftswomen to create and present their work to consumers in an unprecedented way.

One of the key cogs in this ecosystem is the makers market. Although the market place continues to be highly globalized, there’s a growing type of discerning consumer that wants to “buy local”. As a result, makers markets are popping up across North America, from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.

I recently heard about a makers market in my home town, Ottawa, Canada, through my good friend Joel Stairs who is a purveyor of antiques. He told me about these two talented young ladies who decided to put some wind in the sails of a group of people who have much to offer our city in regards to creativity and practical and useful products. They now meet as a community once a month displaying their amassed treasures.

Having arrived the day of the market somewhat early I started by walking about, looking for quality and connecting with the artists behind the pieces I saw. With a certain reverence I inquired about the works and took pleasure through what I heard. What struck me was the quality of the materials and workmanship used in their products. They ranged from beautifully-shaped colourful clay bowls and mugs to gourmet ice cream, fairtrade coffee and teas, tables crafted and treated with homemade natural sealants, and portraits drawn with both detail and precision.

I saw jewellery designs that I’ve never seen before next to the nostalgic displays from decades past. Some of the experienced makers offer classes and training while others will hire out their skills to produce custom works of art. The diversity of what was available took me by surprise. I even found beard oils, shampoos and bath salts.

The people were kind and understanding when answering questions and sharing their passions. I was impressed by the care and passion from each of the vendors I spoke to.

Jenna Hutcheson and Jessica Vermette, who together founded the Ottawa Makers Market as well as a company by the name of L’Orangerie Ottawa, are managing both so well. I look forward to witnessing the rise of maker culture and local artisanry in the nation’s capital.

I would challenge those reading my review to invest a few hours visiting your local makers market. You’re bound to find things you’ll fall in love with among your local community of artisans.

For more information about the Ottawa Makers Market visit http://www.instagram.com/OttawaMakersMarket.

By Mikael Monfils

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