Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Are You Feeling Crafty? - CreativFestival Spring 2013

I'm no expert when it comes to handiwork but I do like to dabble from time to time, as I find the process of making something enjoyable and satisfying (unless it turns out really ugly, in which case it's a bit of a downer, but what can you do). When I saw a poster for the CreativFestival, I was intrigued and since my student card could get me in for only $5 and I happened to have a car last weekend, I found the temptation much too hard to resist.

The CreativFestival was a 2-day (Friday and Saturday as opposed to the standard Saturday and Sunday) trade show out at the International Centre near the airport where you could shop, explore, attend workshops, and make some crafts to take home. All the seminars were free (a small materials fee applied to some hands-on ones) and many exhibitors were happy to share trade secrets in their own booths as well.

The first thing that struck me about the show was that it was HUGE. And busy! I knew crafts were popular but I didn't realize quite how popular. What's more, in addition to the expected (and still predominant) demographic of older ladies in funny-looking homemade clothes, there were also a lot of young women and teenagers there, as well as families with young kids. Sewing, knitting, and beading dominated the show floor, but once you started exploring and looking more closely, there were a lot of other really neat things there. For starters, some of the quilts on display were absolutely stunning and not the traditional mishmash of patchwork fabric leftovers most people have in mind. This kind of made me want to take up quilting, especially I saw the array of beautiful colour combinations of fabric squares you could pick up at the show. The other booth that blew me away was an artist who created beautiful art pieces from felt. Once again, I felt the urge to buy some felt and get crafting. There was also a lady there who was making glass beads right at the show (that was a popular attraction!), and another who was drawing zendoodles (somethings I've never heard of before but was absolutely fascinated by). Even if you aren't into crafts, you could easily find something at the show to interest you.

As far as the shopping part went, there was definitely a lot of it available. However, I wouldn't say there were any amazing deals to be had. Craft supplies are expensive! And the array of tools to go with them is simply mind boggling (and equally expensive!). I saw people drop hundreds of dollars and walk away with rather small parcels. The shopping was really more for people who had a particular project in mind and knew exactly what they were looking for (and needed access to quality materials or more variety than their local craft store). Otherwise, you could blow a lot of money and not even end up with everything you needed to finish a project. Definitely strategic shopping rather than impulse buys.

WHAT: CreativFestival Spring 2013

WHERE: International Centre, 6900 Airport Rd.

WHEN: April 26 & 27

COST: $4-$15

INSIDER TIPS: If you are a crafter and looking to shop, figure out what you need before you get to the show so you don't overspend on things you don't need. Also check out the workshop/seminar schedule to time your visit to coincide with something you're interested in. The parking lot was rammed, so if it's rainy out, you're going to want to bring an umbrella and proper footwear because it's a bit of a hike to the show entrance once you manage to find a parking spot (unless you get really lucky), so you will get wet.

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