One of a Kind Spring show

One of a Kind Toronto Spring show opened today at Exhibition Place and will run for five days until Sunday March 31.

The 3D printers and a glimpse of the jewellery at the Hot Pop Factory booth at OOAK

3D printers and a glimpse of the jewellery at the Hot Pop Factory booth at OOAK

OOAK has been running for many years and is one of the largest shows of handmade objects, art and crafts in Toronto. It’s huge. You likely know all about it, so I won’t go into too much detail.

A couple of interesting new things that are worth looking out for when you visit:

3D Printing Shop
The most delightful thing I stumbled upon at the Spring OOAK was Hot Pop Factory, a 3D printing shop with a very stylish jewellery collection. They also make custom 3D portraits, scanning your head on-site and producing a miniature custom bust within a few days. There’s a 3D printer operating in their booth and it’s great to watch it in action.

I love the new directions that are opening up to artists and makers and it’s great to see 3D printing outfits in high-profile craft shows such as OOAK. May there be more art enabled by new technologies everywhere and soon!

Etsy section
For the first time this year, there is an Etsy-branded section, with a sampling of about 40 artisans from the thousands who have online shops at the largest virtual marketplace for handmade goods. Etsy is currently trying to raise its profile in Canada and their section at OOAK is part of this effort.

Etsy section at OOAK

Etsy section at OOAK

As with many things that sell well online, the crafts on Etsy tend towards the lightweight and inexpensive, and most artists in this section are first-time OOAK exhibitors. Both of which factors probably contribute to this section being set up as tightly and compactly packed as it is.

There are many Toronto Etsy Street Team members in both the Etsy and the Rising Stars sections,  including Ele Willoughby (minouette)featured recently on this blog Рwhose science and nature-themed prints are gorgeous in real life.

A new policy of charitable donations from the Fragmentalist Etsy shop

Etsy, where my mosaics are available for sale, is a great¬†handmade marketplace and a fantastic way for small artisans to be found by customers from all over the world. It may not be the ideal place to sell large, heavy, one-of-a-kind mirrors and coffee tables – small, inexpensive items that can be easily shipped anywhere in the world do much better there – but it is still one of the best options for selling one’s art online.

Since I’ve set out to make mosaics full time last May, I’ve been told by many artists that the recession has been hard on the arts market. While customers are still making small impulse buys, such as handmade jewellery, those artists who make larger works of art requiring more of a financial investment have seen a big decline in their sales in the last few years.

I know that my mosaics are luxury items. I feel fortunate to be able to afford – both in terms of materials cost and time – to do something I really enjoy. Those who still buy art and handcrafted objects despite the tough economic times are supporting artists and makers in doing what they love, and for that I am very thankful to them.

All this is to say that I have decided to donate a percentage of all sales made through my Etsy shop to charitable organizations in appreciation of the fact that a market in art exists at all, that it enables me to do what I love, that global e-commerce makes it easy and that all of us who participate in it are really very fortunate.

These are the three charities I’ve listed as the options for where the donation can go: EFF for protecting the frontiers of our digital freedom, WWF for protecting endangered species and wildlife habitats and United Way Canada for protecting our local communities.

Thanks and please spread the word!