Category: Shows

10 Questions with Heather Bryce: MAC Fair

MAC Fair, my first craft fair of 2015, is coming up in less than a week, and I wanted to learn some new tidbits about this fantastic show.  It’s one of my favourites, and one of the best in the Ottawa area.  I love how well it’s organized, so I went to the organizer, Heather Bryce, and asked her a few questions.


1. How long have you been involved in MAC Fair?
It’s been five years since we started with the Christmas event, and this is our third Mother’s Day event.

2. When do you start planning for the Fair?
I’ll take a month off after this one, and then jurying for Christmas happens in June.  The heavy work starts up again in September till December.  For our spring fair, jurying is in February.  It takes about 9 months of the year in total.

3. How many volunteers are involved?
That depends – we had 8 students groups benefitting from our Christmas event – so roughly 80-90 students, our Mother’s Day event is a bit smaller and we have 4 groups benefitting – so about 40 – 50 students.  There are also about half a dozen other staff who help with setup and are there on event day.

4. What is your favourite aspect of the Fair?
I love seeing out students step up and help out, and the way that they interact with the guests and artisans.  I love hearing our guests and artisans rave about our great kids here at MAC!

5. What is the most challenging aspect of organizing MAC Fair?
Not buying everything!  Being part of the selection process, and then promoting the artisans year year round, I am constantly looking at fantastic handmade items.
About a week before each week, I can’t sleep because my head is swimming with details and when I do sleep, I have nightmares about nobody showing up, or event day coming and realizing that I haven’t set anything up.

6. Share a favourite story/anectode about a past Fair.
It was on my mom’s bucket list to make it out to MAC FAIR, (she lives out of town) and she finally made it here last Christmas. I had shared with the artisans that this needed to be our best event yet, and it was heartwarming to see how many of them made the effort to introduce themselves to “Heather’s mom.”
For our first two events, I lost my voice, and now for a couple of weeks before each event, I get emails from our veteran artisans teasing me and asking if I still have a voice!

7. What’s one thing that people should know about the Fair that they may not already know?
That when it started, I knew absolutely nothing about craft fairs, and that is has grown and expanded through listening to the feedback and suggestions from the artisans who really know their stuff.  Our goal is not just to raise funds with this event, we want to ensure that it is profitable for our artisans and becomes one of their favourite events to attend, and that our customers feel the same way.  We try to really think about the needs of everyone involved.

8. What’s new for the 2015 edition of MAC Fair: Bloom?
We are having a DEMO TABLE, where our artisans are running mini-seminars on their craft.  Some will be run as an info session, and others will be hands-on where you’ll actually make something under their guidance.  We’re pretty excited about it!

9. If the sky were the limit, what would you add to the Fair?
A bouncy castle, a traditional high tea for Mother’s Day and a huge light in the sky like the bat signal!

10. How do you see MAC Fair evolving in the future?
It’s becoming a pretty well-oiled machine.  I hope it will become a top choice for local artisans.

I hope you enjoyed that peek into the MAC Fair!  Visit the Fair on May 9th, 2015, and pick up a unique and handmade gift for Mother’s Day, or splurge on yourself.  I look forward to seeing you there!
MAC Fair Poster

Coming Soon: Boutique Pop Up Aylmer

As you likely know, we’ve been a part of the Exchange Uporium pop-up shop in Winnipeg for some time.  Now, we’ll be in a second one in my neighbourhood!  From December 15 – 31, we’ll be featured in a pop up shop in the Galeries d’Aylmer mall, in Aylmer, Quebec.

I’ll be setting up on Sunday night, and I can’t wait to see how it all looks!  We’ll have a great assortment of vendors, just in time for some Christmas shopping.


Boutique Pop Up Aylmer

Christmas Craft Fair Season and a Fundraiser

This past Saturday I was at the Heart, Home, and Handmade Indie Craft Fair. Located at the gorgeous Glebe Community Centre, there were over 50 vendors and I had a lovely time looking around and picking up a couple Christmas presents. I even had a lovely visit from a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.

Drakestail at Heart Home and Handmade Indie Craft FairI have only one more show until Christmas. I’ll be at the MAC Fair on December 6th. Regular readers and fans will recognize the name – I’ve participated in the MAC Fair Craft Fair at Immaculata High School for a couple years now, and it’s one of my favourites. It’ll be spectacular again, with over a hundred vendors, all local artists, artisans, and bakers. I always end up buying lots of gifts, and I’m counting on clearing off most of my list there.  🙂  I’m looking forward to closing out the Christmas craft fair season with a bang, so come by and check it out!

In other news, a local dog rescue, Sit With Me, is holding an online silent auction to raise funds. I’ve donated a necklace (you might recognize it as Day 74 from the 100 Day Challenge), and encourage you to visit the auction and make a bid or two. There’s quite a variety of items up for grabs, and it’s for a fantastic cause.

Sit With Me shelter dog rescue-Robyn

First show of the season: All Saints CHS Craft Fair

I can’t believe it’s already that time of the year: Christmas craft fair season! Summer seems like just yesterday, and Halloween is still around the corner. The year is flying by.
Drakestail Jewellery will be making its first seasonal craft fair appearance on Saturday, November 1st at the All Saints Catholic High School‘s annual Christmas craft fair. This is a big show, and I’m looking forward to being back again. There will be a great selection of artists and artisans.  There will be a Children’s Corner, where kids can play while parents shop.  There will also be a Coffee House and some terrific raffle prizes!  Funds raised will go towards the school’s Christmas Hamper program.

Come on out and pick up some great handmade, unique items for your favourite people on your list, and yourself!

Visit our Facebook Event for details, or click on the show in the calendar on the right!

T.H.A.T. Craft Fair Ottawa

I’m excited to announce that Drakestail Jewellery will be at the Totally Handmade Artisan Trinkets (T.H.A.T.) Craft Fair on June 14th!  This is a brand new show in Ottawa, and will be taking place at 429 Parkdale Avenue, Ottawa, at the Parkdale United Church.

Since this is a brand new fair, I thought it would be fun to ask a few questions of the organizers, Breanne & Kate.

What was your inspiration to create T.H.A.T. Craft Fair?

K. Personally, I wanted to help create a vendor show that focused on handmade art–work that represents what our local community members are passionate about.
B. I started attending craft fairs in October and found that I kept meeting so many awesome local vendors making products that I would much rather buy from someone local vs. a large company. I have always had a passion for organizing events so it just seemed natural to me that I combine my new found passion for supporting these awesome local vendors and my love for organizing events.

Are you crafters yourselves? If so, how long have you been doing it?

K. Yes we are! I started BabyMakes Products last summer when I needed to supplement our household income when both my husband and I lost our jobs shortly after my third child was born. I have always made all-natural and gluten-free body care products for my own family but bringing it to the Cumberland Farmers Market opened up a new world to me.
B. Yes! I have been making dog collars for over 2 years now when I found it difficult to find affordable and cute dog collars. I did some research and started making my own and then launched Scruff Collars. I used to do crafts every Saturday as a kid so now I call this my adult arts and crafts.

How did you choose the two charities that the show is supporting?

K. I have been a theatre professional for 20 years and recently started working with Orleans-based Tale Wagging Theatre. This is a vital time for TWT as we prepare for our debut production in September at the Shenkman Arts Centre.
B. We decided because there were two of us that we would each pick one charity so we each picked one that is near and dear to our hearts. I picked New Beginnings Pet Rescue because it is the rescue that I got my dog, Denver, from and that is really where this all started. They are a small rescue that gets no funding so I try and give back to them whenever I can.

What are your goals for this Fair?

K. Given that we have chosen a date that coincides with WestFest and the weekly Parkdale Market, I expect a great deal of foot traffic through our venue at Parkdale United Church. The visibility and exposure that our vendors will receive will be very impressive.
B. To help try and support local people just like me. I hope that through this fair we can help promote some amazing local people that work very hard and are very passionate about what they do. Also, to try and help us all grow our audiences and our businesses in the local community.

Do you have any further plans for handmade/artisan events? Do you want this to be a recurring fair?

K. I think I speak for both Breanne and myself when I forecast that yes, you can expect to see more of THAT Craft Fair in the future. Not to let the cat out of the bag, but we are already talking about a November date for our next event.
B. Personally, I hope that this is just the beginning. We are already hoping to run fairs in the future.

Is there anything else that you think that vendors, or attendees, would like to know?

K. If you are someone who feels the need to create, I would like to say FOLLOW THAT INSTINCT! Create, work, live in art–our community is drawn together by artists. Follow your passion.
B. That we are two local artisans trying to grow the idea of supporting local. For people attending I would say don’t be afraid to ask questions, often vendors love to share stories about where the ideas for their work came from. Buy handmade, support the local community.

Check out the latest news on T.H.A.T. Craft fair on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.


Totally Handmade Artisan Trinkets Craft Fair
Totally Handmade Artisan Trinkets Craft Fair, June 14, 2014. Click on photo for all the details!

Ravenswing and the 100 Day Challenge

Sunday was a big day for two reasons: Ravenswing, and the 100th day of my 100 Day Challenge.


Sunday morning started off bright and sunny, a perfect day for an outdoor show.  I got downtown a bit early so I grabbed a coffee and watched all the runners start their races. The last weekend in May is “race weekend” in Ottawa, and lots of streets are blocked to traffic while the runners are going.

Once it was time to set up, I found my spot and got my new tent up. I made another trip to my car and by the time I came back, John and Maryam, of Sing for Icing, were there. We set up our tables, chatted, and waited the fair to start.  I think my jewellery went smashingly with the cupcakes and dessert loaves, and we had a lot of great visitors through the day. I got to try some of John and Maryam’s cupcakes and cookies, and they were delicious!

Drakestail Jewellery and Sing for Icing, all set up at Ravenswing!
The new tent partially set up, Drakestail Jewellery and Sing for Icing, and Drakestail all set up at Ravenswing!

It really was a perfect show. The weather stayed nice, and we got a warm breeze later in the day. The music was fantastic and there was a performer doing spoken word poetry. In the afternoon I got the opportunity to walk around and see the eclectic mix of artists, artisans, and vendors. There was everything from art to puppets to seedlings to notebooks and paper crafts. The organizers also had several workshops through the day, meaning that people coming for a visit got to be crafty as well.  Once again, Ravenswing also gave voice to The Clothesline Project, a beautiful and haunting installation of t-shirts decorated by survivors (and their supporters) of domestic abuse.  The t-shirts tell the stories and experiences of those who have faced domestic violence, and they are a testament to the strength and resilience of the women who have survived their experiences.

Ravenswing was a huge success yet again, and I want to give a big thank-you to the organizers for putting together yet another seamless and fun fair.

Views of the crowd at Ravenswing 2014
Views of the crowd at Ravenswing 2014

100 Day Challenge

The other big deal on Sunday was that it was Day 100 of my 100 Day Challenge. I certainly didn’t plan for it to fall at Ravenswing but it was a neat coincidence. I made a ton of jewellery over the past few months, and finished it off with a gorgeous Tree of Life pendant.  To take a look at all the sparkly glory, why not go back to Day 1?

The challenge has given me a great opportunity to reflect on my craft. The rules were to post a new piece every day, and to use only materials that I had on hand. My plan was to use up some of the beads that I have bought and hoarded. I’m terrible for buying beads because I like the colour or style or shape, without having a plan in mind for how I want to use them. Having to come up with a new design each day forced me to take a good look at the materials I had on hand, and put things together that I might not have otherwise.  It also pushed me to be a bit more adventurous with my designs – I couldn’t just lay out some beads and stare at them for a few days.  I had to make something NOW.  The time pressure meant I had to go with my first instinct and really try to make it work.  I have some pieces that I like more than others, but overall I am happy with this “go with my gut” method.  I feel, too, that this has honed my personal style and made my work more recognizable.

While I still have lots of beads left, I did manage to use a lot that had been in my stash for a long time, and have made a considerable dent in the collection.  I have also made a list of things that I *do* need, mainly a variety of spacers and some different gauges of wire.  I think I will celebrate my accomplishment with a little shopping trip.


100 Day Challenge by Drakestail Jewellery,
A sampling of some items made during the 100 Day Challenge.  What was your favourite piece?
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