Creative alternative: craft shopping

A handmade gift often holds more sentimental value (Megan Cooke/AQ)
A handmade gift often holds more sentimental value (Megan Cooke/AQ)

It’s that time of year again, let the holiday shopping begin. But have you considered making your purchases at a craft fair?

On Nov. 29 until Dec. 1, the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design will be hosting their annual Christmas craft show. The show will feature works from second year students studying ceramic, jewelry or textiles.

Handmade items are often a better quality than their mass produced equivalent. On top of that, they’re one-of-a-kind items. More thought and care is put into the item and, if you’re the one making it, it will hold more emotional value for the recipient.

A handmade gift supports a local artist or manufacturer and keeps your money in your community. You’re helping local people, friends, family and co-workers.

Danielle Sawada, a potter, sells her craft anywhere she can as a means to help pay for her children’s schooling.

As an artist, she understands some people are hesitant when it comes to buying handmade or local products because of the price. You sometimes pay more because you are covering the cost of materials as well as labour.

“I have had people say to me, ‘Oh my goodness, I can get a mug at the dollar store for a dollar,’” she said. “I just think, go for it and hope the glaze doesn’t have lead in it. I know [my mugs] don’t.”

She also said handmade doesn’t always mean more expensive.

“I make lovely ceramic neti pots and Walmart sells ugly plastic ones for the same price. So, just because something is unique and handmade doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to pay more.”

Alexa Hoyt, an avid craft sale goer, knows how much work goes into producing things to sell at a sale.

“Sellers need to really scramble to come up with something buyers like and want. People don’t want to see the same thing at each table. It’s very competitive,” she said.

Just like in the mall, Hoyt said you can shop around for the best bang for your buck.

“If a seller doesn’t produce top-notch work buyers will look elsewhere,” said Hoyt.

Sometimes, store bought is the way to go, but Sawada says, “For every off shore gift you buy, buy a local one too.”

NBCCD craft show starts Nov. 29 and goes until Dec. 1. Doors open Friday at noon in the college gallery at 457 Queen St.

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