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As you walk behind the main stage of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, the melodic tones of the flute quickly distract you.
The track leads to a vast artisan market with 32 vendors selling jewelry, clothing, home décor, accessories and much more.
Marketplace coordinator Muffy McKay is excited to see local vendors returning in person this year.
“Several[backers]say it’s their favorite place every year and look forward to every summer,” says McKay.
The annual challenge is the number of applications from promising vendors that EFMF receives each year.
“This is a juried show.
One of the main criteria for entering the market is that the items must be handcrafted.
Some new vendors at this year’s festival are In Loving Color Studios and Prairie Poly, which is also sold by Simons.
“I was going through a stressful time in my life a few years ago and needed to do something with my hands. I’ve just started playing with clay because of my interest, starting with polymer clay.
As a regular EFMF participant, Mendoza has always been interested in the artisan market and wanted to apply.
“It was really nice to meet people who have been following me for so long,” Mendoza says of meeting buyers at the festival.
Batik is a batik technique that originated in Java, Indonesia. Gwen Bodie’s batik participated in her EFMF’s first Artisan Market in 1979.
Bodhi, who creates batik wall hangings, fell in love with the art form a few years ago when her friend returned from a trip to Thailand with batik.
“The city of Edmonton offered me a course, and I took it, and it was in the 70s,” says Bodie.
Her favorite theme is nature and she loves experimenting with different color combinations.
“Especially birds, and recently my daughter got a job managing an aquarium, so there are a lot of exotic fish,” Bodie says of her favorite subject.
A short walk away is North Side Girls, a small handwoven craft house. It consists of her brother Aisha Nelson Hashey and her sister Eleanor, and her aunt Shannon, who has been weaving for 20 years.
“We weave on floor looms. We make everything from tea towels to blankets to table runners,” says Nelson-Hachey. “We try to use locally sourced or Canadian materials when possible.”
This family-owned company has been part of the EFMF Online Vendor Market for the past two years and decided this year was the perfect time to physically join the market.
Nelson-Hachey’s grandmother was a weaver in Sweden.
“I think she would be very proud to know that we are continuing her legacy,” says Nelson-Hachey. “I hope people will give equal importance to local craft and slow craft.”
An artisan market is held at Galleger Park through Sunday, and a full list of vendors is available here.