If I win big in the lottery, I’m going to fill my new (and larger) house with all the handcrafted artwork I’ve ever admired.
It’ll be one heck of a shopping spree, and I’d start at the iconic One-of-a-Kind craft fair in Toronto where I’ve spent upward of six hours a visit mulling over pottery, art, fashion, accessories and even artisan foods from approximately 800 vendors.
Twice a year Exhibition Place along Toronto’s waterfront, fills with an alphabet-long list of rows sporting the country’s best crafters and artists. I’ve been walking these 26 aisles for decades, selectively buying what I fall in love with … and can afford.
A big score would change all that – I’d have no budget- and a keen eye for all things equine will fill my shelves with horsey handiwork and anything else I fancy.
There’s more for horse admirers at One-of-a-Kind, currently running until December 4, than you might think. He’s my list of favourites this year – some I can afford and some I’m adding to my holiday list … dreaming of the day my numbers come up:
- Darling Donkey – My favourite item at One-of-a-Kind, is one I almost skimmed right by. This leather bag with donkey image is a guaranteed conversation piece, especially with its handmade donkey glass bead. Glass beads are her specialty, but artist Lezlie Winemaker has a unique way of transferring photographs to leather. That means custom orders are possible – picture an image of your horse on a leather bag complete with one-of-a-kind glass horse bead. Then, when people ask you about your bag, you can tell them all about your horse. Double awesome. ($240). Dream Glass.
- Long in the hoof art – Oshawa-based artist Carlo Allion’s almost surreal horse paintings pay homage to the elevated status we give these animals. Layering acrylic paint with a glazing technique, Allion builds up layers of colours on his 36” x36” originals. Reproductions on wood are also for sale ranging in size and price from $55 to $165. The original of Basillicus Equus#1, which caught my eye at the show, is still available from Carlo Allion Art
- You’ve got mail – Announce to your neighbours, and the mail carrier, where your passions lie. These mailboxes not only display your horse love, but specifically your horse sport: available is a bridled horse head, equestrian jumper, and dressage rider. ($98) Chuck Ryder 2-Q Designs
- Hooked on horses – More accurately, these are horse hooks for organizing anything in the barn, hallway or kitchen. Put them in your home to remind yourself you’d rather be riding – especially when standing beside the stove. ($20) Michael McNeil’s Practical Art
- Cute and cuddly Quarter horse – Who can resist another stuffed horse? These are even better, handcrafted from felt and not the suspicious ‘faux fur’ sometimes made of real cat and dog fur imported from China and intentionally mislabeled. Yes, that’s right. China is farming pet fur, which is why the EU has banned all ‘faux fur’ from that country. Buy these simple stuffed felt versions and avoid those ugly possibilities. ($35) Leikey Designs.
- Show-stopping stallion statue – The only horse item from this potter is truly one of kind as artist Diane Sullivan makes two a year, creating a hollow horse shape and embossing the front quarters with patterns reminiscent of ancient Asian sculpture ($1300). Arabesqure Pottery
- Pony Pendant – Made from recycled glass, this simple grazing horse images is a glass tile easily strung on a chain ($30) or ribbon ($25). Larger glass tiles sporting individual horse images affixed in groupings of four on a board create unique recycled glass horse artwork. Eco Handmade Studio.
- All manes bright and shiny – Daniel Pollak, a Toronto jewelry designer, sells only at shows and his booth of velvet-lined over-flowing bins of bling are hard to miss. Animal, plant and reptile shapes for pendants, pins and hair clips, embedded with hundreds of tiny crystals sparkle like a million stars. Search through the mounds of options and you’ll find a great horse or two. Keep looking. It takes time. This one I found years ago, for only $65 because there are fewer sparkles than usual on this piece: