I've skipped the EPIC market this morning in favour of a visit to the Canberra Handmade Market. Where, of course, being me, I went for the food themed items. This magnificent stand of knitted cupcakes and doughnuts was made by Posie Patchwork - these ones are purely ornamental, but there are some made as rattles. Belinda does not know how lucky she is not to now be the owner of a knitted watermelon baby rattle. So tempting... This stall also had a lot of patchwork stuff, which my eyes glazed over at, and some very cool retro magnets and coasters. I also bought a little pirate-theme coin purse, umm, well, because, that's why.
It was a delightful place to shop - if I hadn't already done most of my Xmas shopping in China, I might have spent up really big. As it was, I bought some soap from YUUM, and some jewelry: an amazing red coral necklace with all the pieces shaped like chillies, a couple of pairs of silly earrings, and a gorgeous copper and green beaded bracelet. I went with Beth, and on the way home we decided that it was a lot like going to the growers' market. Instead of chatting to the grower of your food, you get to chat with the designer of your jewelry, or bag, or clothes. That direct producer to consumer relationship is a wonderful thing. It doesn't just cut out the costs of the middleman, but gives you that intangible reward of feeling part of the community.
There wasn't a lot of food there, but I did buy up at the CrankyPants stall: an adobo marinade, creole spices, Boston baked beans and a grapefruit marmalade. These people are from Merimbula, and have a stall at the Old Bus Depot markets - which reminds me that it is ages since I've been there. Actually, quite a few of the designers have stalls there, and with Xmas trading on both Saturdays and Sundays in December, that's probably worth a revisit soon.
The handmade market is a new venture, and they're planning to make it a recurring event. The next one will be on 7 February 2009, so put it in your diary and don't miss out. If you know anyone who does food crafts - preserves, chocolates, spice blends, whatever - pass the word on. I understand that the management is looking for more food product stalls.