Craft fair a big draw

Functional art continues to draw strong crowds regardless of a weak economy, say exhibitors gathered for the 15th-annual Our Best To You craft fair.

Ab Odnokon of Shell Lake

Ab Odnokon of Shell Lake

Functional art continues to draw strong crowds regardless of a weak economy, say exhibitors gathered for the 15th-annual Our Best To You craft fair.

Unsure of how well they would be received this year, the show’s owners and nearly 200 exhibitors found the crowds were as strong as last year and people’s spending habits hadn’t changed significantly.

The strong attendance was a great relief to people like Okotoks-based pencil artist Bernie Brown, who founded the show along with wife, Margie.

The show’s formula is based on finding a good selection of people working in wide range of median and then ensuring that they had items available in every price range from $5 to $5,000, Brown said from his booth on Saturday afternoon.

Woodworkers Ab and Shirley Odknokon from Shell Lake, SK have attended the show every year since its inception.

People were a little apprehensive for the first few years, because there was some perception that a craft show would offer little more than kitsch and the sort of handwork that anyone could do with a pattern and a little practice, said Ab.

As more people learned about the show, they discovered that it offers high quality fashions, gifts and personal care products, all made by the artists and artisans who tun the booths, he said.

Our Best To You is a juried show requiring that the people who make the goods must be in the booths for at least 50 per cent of the time, said Signature Shows co-owner Peter Harbic.

He and his partner, John Ladouceur, purchased the Red Deer event three years ago, intent on maintaining the standards the Browns had developed in its creation.

Among those standards, all products are made in Canada by Canadians, said Harbic.

Lacombe-based sculptor Sharon Boone and her partner, Nancy Cottrell brought their products in for the first time this year.

The two women work and offer instruction in a process that uses a product called Paverpol to stiffen fabrics into hardened and weatherproof forms.

While Cottrell’s work tends to be hefty with a look of power, Boone’s pieces are light and airy with lean elegance.

Some of the pieces are strictly decorative while others, such as Cottrell’s bigger-than-lifesized snail serve practical purposes.

Cottrell’s snail is a downspout holder — a sharp contrast to the light and whimsical female sculpture that Boone created for the same task.

Boone said the show has helped her and her partner exhibit their work and get the word out that they teach courses in Paverpol sculpture.

Paverpol can be whatever you want it to be, said Boone. But each piece needs advance planning so people need instruction to help understand how different fabrics behave, she said.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels goalie Chase Coward tries to find a loose puck during WHL action at the Centrium earlier this season. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Changes on the horizon for Red Deer Rebels next season

New coach, roster adjustments among top priorities for Sutter this offseason

Renovations and construction have begun at Red Deer Dream Centre. (Photo contributed)
Renovations underway at Red Deer Dream Centre

Christian-based addictions treatment centre

Red Deer County's municipal planning commission gave approval for a new directional sign for a business located near Elnora.
(Image from Red Deer County)
Red Deer County garden centre and winery gets sign approved

Delidais Estate Winery and DA Gardens is located near Elnora

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer County approves home-based hair salon

Salon would be located in rural residential area just west of Innisfail

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Here is a list of latest COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Alberta

New mandatory health restrictions are now in effect in Alberta. Additional restrictions… Continue reading

In this Thursday, May 14, 2020 photo, a doctor holds his stethoscope during a patient visit in Blackburn, England, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Doctors in British Columbia are being warned they could face investigation or penalties from their regulatory body if they contradict public health orders or guidance about COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah McKay/Pool Photo via AP
B.C. doctors could face penalty for veering from COVID-19 health guidelines: college

B.C. doctors could face penalty for veering from COVID-19 health guidelines: college

A vial of the  AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Alberta says it won't give out more first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the time being.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Hope for a good summer with one dose in arms, if we ‘crush’ COVID-19: Trudeau

Hope for a good summer with one dose in arms, if we ‘crush’ COVID-19: Trudeau

FILE-In this Wednesday, March 17, 2021 file photo, A make-shift memorial is seen outside a business where a multiple fatal shooting occurred on Tuesday, in Acworth, Ga. Robert Aaron Long, 22, accused of killing eight people, six of them women of Asian descent, in shootings at three Atlanta-area massage businesses was indicted Tuesday, May 11, 2021, on murder charges, and a prosecutor filed notice that she'll also seek hate crime charges and the death penalty. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart, File)
Prosecutor plans to seek death penalty in spa shootings

Prosecutor plans to seek death penalty in spa shootings

Labour Minister Harry Bains arrives at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, June 26, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. pledges to introduce permanent paid sick leave program in January

B.C. pledges to introduce permanent paid sick leave program in January

In this June 8, 2017, file photo, fresh nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the east leg of the pipeline near St. Ignace, Mich., as Enbridge prepares to test the east and west sides of the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac in Mackinaw City, Mich. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Dale G Young/Detroit News via AP, File
‘Massive and potentially permanent disruption’: Canada’s bleak view of Line 5 closure

‘Massive and potentially permanent disruption’: Canada’s bleak view of Line 5 closure

A Suncor logo is shown at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 2, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Oilsands producer Suncor and utility Atco to pursue ‘world-class’ hydrogen project

Oilsands producer Suncor and utility Atco to pursue ‘world-class’ hydrogen project

A street sign along Bay Street in Toronto's financial district is shown on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
North American stock markets rally to pare early losses over inflation concerns

North American stock markets rally to pare early losses over inflation concerns

This photo provided by World Food Prize shows Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted.  On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, Thilsted was named this year's recipient of the $250,000 World Food Prize, which was created by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug in 1986 to recognize researchers who have improved the quality and availability of food. (Finn Thilsted/World Food Prize via AP)
World Food Prize goes to nutrition expert for fish research

World Food Prize goes to nutrition expert for fish research

Most Read