it’s hard to believe, but it’s been three years since québec city became my home. since then, i think it’s fair to say we’ve had our ups and downs: bouts of unemployment, hard to find friends who end up leaving for greener pastures, not to mention finding a balance between french and english with a dash of culture shock. there have been moments when i’ve doubted whether we were right for each other… but this past sunday was definitely one of those days where i was reminded why i feel in love with this city in the first place.
now i’ve been to nearly all of the salon nouveau genres over the past few years, but i have to say this one went above and beyond. olivier, the organizer, really hit his stride finding a great balance with the location, space, and variety of craftspeople showcasing their work.
many of my favourites were still there, like velvet typo, water loup, and tomates d’epingles. but what really blew me away were meeting many new creative people who live and work in the same city as i do! i like to think of myself as quite “branchée,” comme on dit en français, going to gallery openings, having worked in the arts community, and being pretty social. i sell alongside church clothes and many other folks at boutique lucia f. even so, it’s refreshing to find i am still constantly meeting and discovering new artists. here are just a handful of the people i met on sunday.
julie is one of the people i’ve met during my visits to morgan bridge in downtown québec city. she sells a handful of postcards and things there, but i had only seen her lovely jewelry, namely necklaces, online as of yet. but at salon nouveau genre, she flaunted her creative wares by incorporating vintage with newer pieces. what really takes my breath away are her handmade display cases. i’ve made my own using an old letterpress drawer, but if i was in the market for one i would definitely head towards why not coconut.
across from julie’s stall was something that immediately caught my eye: bowties, photos of kitschy motels, and a jackalope. i was soon chatting up one of the creators who is based in bromont, and we talked about our affection for motels and casse-croutes across québec. my knowledge is pretty limited to the eastern townships and la beauce, but her book chronicling abitibi’s selection really drew me in.
as i headed for the door, i stumbled upon yet another great discovery: Studio METHOD(E).
Founded by Emily Lewis and Marie-Hélène Bélanger, two graduates of NSCAD University in Halifax, Studio METHOD(E) is a contemporary jewellery studio that specialises in the use and teaching of alternative techniques and materials. Pushing the boundaries of traditional jewellery, the founders explore many possible avenues using concepts and materials that fascinate them.
i was swooning for this pair of earrings in particular:
aren’t they a gorgeous modern take on turn of the century jewelry? there’s something about them that really harkens back to art nouveau to me, for some reason. i could link pair after pair that i would love to own, but it’s not simply the aesthetics i can get behind, but their creative approach. i just love their approach to jewelry making.
they invited me to stop by their studio in limoilou sometime, and i can’t wait to take them up on their offer when my wallet has fully recovered from this weekend’s events.
i know i have readers from many corners around the world, so to make this a wee bit less quebec centric i leave you with these thoughts. i’ve already expressed my distaste of shopping “events” like black friday. i personally am really not a fan of commercializing everything possible and making things into “sale” days. however, events like craft fairs, zine expos, and the like make it possible for craft lovers like myself to meet the people who make the things we wear, read, and enjoy. and every time i go to a good one like sng6, i leave completely reinvigorated and inspired… as opposed to when i leave a shopping mall, where i feel overwhelmed, frustrated and broke.
i can’t say i’m 100% sold on the idea of radical ideas being able to take root via capitalistic endeavors (since so many social justice issues stem from capitalism being the model of “every man for himself”) but i definitely think it’s a step in the right direction.
in short: if you celebrate the holidays and want to give thoughtful awesome gifts to your loved ones, check out your local craft fair. you never know, you might make some new friends and learn something new while you’re at it. how often does that happen in a mall?