GALLERY: The top 10 booths from the holiday One of a Kind Show
The One of a Kind Show gives Canadian artisans the chance to sell their lovingly crafted wares, and panicked holiday shoppers the chance to power-shop at hundreds of different booths in a single shopping session. If you’ve been to the Direct Energy Centre for one of the semi-annual shows, however, you’ll know the array of kiosks inside the sprawling convention hall can quickly get overwhelming. To help, we perused all the goods and narrowed it all down to our 10 favourite booths, which you can visit until the show closes on December 2.
The gracefully curving pieces by this Québécois artisan are made of several thin layers of wood glued one over the other, which allows him to bend them. The natural slate blackboards ($39 to $500) would fit into both contemporary and more whimsical decor schemes. Most showstopping, though, is a gorgeous wood bench, one end of which curves into an intricate knot.
Rustichella is a One of a Kind Show mainstay (the booth has been around since 1999). The infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars are only sold twice a year at the show, though fans wish they were more widely available. At $15 a bottle, they make great hostess gifts.
Shari Woods and her adult daughter Sarah design and sew these bright and shiny costumes for children ($17-$70), and it’s clear they get kids. Superheroes, dragons, knights, fairies and rainbow tutus—essentially every child’s dream come to life. For those parents who haven’t banned toy weapons, there are some cool foam swords and toy bow-and-arrows for would-be Katniss Everdeens.
Our favourite of the show’s many lovely-smelling booths, this Calgary-based company’s offers bath fizzers ($4.50), lotions ($14.95) and body butters ($7.95), the latter intelligently packaged in deodorant-like cases rather than tubs. We liked the citrus scents, but cocktail lovers may want to bathe in pina colada-scented waters.
We <a href="http://www.torontolife.com/daily/style/buyers-market-style/2011/11/25/one-of-a-kind-show-holiday-2011/attachment/p1013098/">still love</a> this Montreal brand’s felted wool and leather bags, which range from $20 for a cardholder to $385 for a double-pocketed work bag. The leather’s recycled or vegetable-tanned; the designs are elegant and modern. The iPad cases would make great gifts.
The show always has plenty of pottery, and this year we’re lusting after Filipa Pimentel’s sea creature-like pieces. Pimentel, who studied ceramics at OCADU, creates intriguing textures by building layers of clay slip and glaze, or by painstakingly carving her pieces with a tiny scoop. Cups and mugs start at $30, while a spectacular tubular vase goes for $429.
These handmade plush toys ($22-$50) each come with a name and a personality quirk. For instance, a wee fellow named Lewis “dedicates himself to ‘bulking up’ in the off-season and is a surprisingly accomplished guitar player,” and “Lois can't catch or throw but this has ABSOLUTELY no effect on her performance as a superhero.”
These traditional glass-blowers based in Tory Hill, Ontario, make cool glasses ($29-$45) from repurposed beer bottles, which means each one is guaranteed to hold a full beer. They’re dishwasher-safe and definitely guy-friendly. We also like the decanters made from the skull-shaped glass bottles used by Crystal Head Vodka.
Although Andrea Ford studied fashion at Ryerson, she found her niche making custom furniture. In her studio at Dovercourt and Dupont, she creates new pieces, makes over antiques and teaches people how to reupholster. Ottomans range from $300 to $400 and chairs from $300 to $3,000. Our favourite: a soft blue dip-dyed armchair inspired by the hair in a recent Prada collection.
Textile-based artist Noelle Hamlyn makes wallets and bags ($75 to $185) from the covers of vintage books she finds at book fairs and used bookstores, plus recycled fabric and belts. Our favourites: totes made from early 20th-century fashion magazines (the Dr. Seuss handbags are cute, too). Hamlyn also makes use of the books’ insides in her whimsical shadowboxes ($90-$165).