The One of a Kind Christmas Show opened its doors this Thursday morning to the thousands of visitors who will walk through them for the next 11 days. The show, now in it’s 38th year, brings the most unique, handcrafted artisan work to Toronto visitors.
Patti Stewart, Director at One of a Kind, has been with the show for 24 years.
“It really is a tradition in Toronto,” Stewart said. Visitors sometimes think of the show as the launch of the holiday season, because it’s a perfect place to do some Christmas gift shopping, she said.
Part of the show’s attraction is that ‘there’s something for everyone.’ From kids’ toys or clothes, to ornamental tableware, to handmade cards or decorations, all kinds of sugary treats, woodwork and bath and body products. Visitors can expect to find things for $5 as well as $5,000.
But the unique trait of the show is the kind of interaction visitors can get by visiting each exhibition booth.
“The visitors can actually meet and talk to the artisans that are creating the work, so there’s a face behind what they’re buying,” said Stewart. With the face also come stories of how each product was crafted, which makes shopping at One of a Kind a more personal experience than shopping at a mall.
There’s something for everyone.
— Patti Stewart, Director
Visitors can be sure that each artisan will deliver only the best quality work, as each of the 800 exhibitors at the show go through a careful screening process. After submitting their applications, exhibitors are chosen by a jury based on quality, uniqueness, sale-ability, and on whether the show still has spots in that category of goods.
It also helps to be from out of town. An artisan bringing new items from out-of-province can score an extra points.
“All things being equal, if we had one spot left, we might want to take somebody from out-of-province because you’re not going to see their work at any other time of the year,” Stewart said, adding those goods gave a broader flavour of Canadian talent.
The One of a Kind show runs from November 22nd through December 2nd. Visitors get admission to all the exhibitions for a one-time payment of $14, and can re-use it during the 11 days. Below is a peak at some of the products visitors can expect.
1. A Tactile Experience with Dishes
Since 1993, Sandra and Gavin Silberman have been making handmade porcelain tableware and home decor items fit for a royal table. Sandra Silberman is the sculptor and the creative mind behind the pieces. She says that home decor and nature inspires the shapes and the textures of her earthy coloured tableware.
Silberman grew up and studied pottery in South Africa, but now lives and works out of her studio in Barrie, Ontario, where she and her husband run Dotti Potts.
The unique feature of her work is the tactile experience. Silberman creates textures on the surface of mugs and bowls with clay dots that resemble the stalks of flowers, or small concave shapes that resemble leaves. “There’s a whimsical aspect,” she says. Many of her large serving dishes have intricate engraved designs. Silberman, however, says that each dish needs to also be functional. “I don’t believe in the China cabinet,” she said holding the earth-coloured bowl.
Dotti Potts: dottipotts.com