Uptown Waterloo, in cooperation with the Waterloo Public Library (WPL), has been running the Uptown Market since the start of the summer. The market runs every 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday evening until August 25.A continuation of the night markets that started last year, this community event aims to bring neighbors together. This year, the market is back with a larger vendor selection, as well as live music, programming from WPL and entertainment for all ages by KW Comedy.
“It’s kind of corny, but I actually really liked meeting everybody. Especially [when] I see how much people liked the jewelry, I leave I feel better about myself too,” Hanna Tipping-Vilchis, co-owner and operator of Revelacion Canada, said.
Revelacion Canada is a mother-daughter owned jewelry business specializes in gold-plated and sterling silver pieces. Tipping-Vilchis celebrates her Mexican heritage with the pieces she brings in with the help of her family. Her abuela, her grandmother, handmakes and designs all of the boxes the pieces come in. Tipping-Vilchis’ brother helps with the financial side of the business, and her sister assists with product transportation and delivery.
“[The products] come from Europe, but we’ve been trying to lean more towards Mexico because we’re Mexican. So, most of our silver is from like this cute little town in Mexico Taxco and my grandma literally went and got it for me,” Tipping-Vilchis said.
Amid the fairy lights around the lot, there are many other passionate vendors, one of which is the folks who run The Creator’s Shelf. Two-White Feather and Lori Lafond have been running their shop for three years now. They sell hand-made arts and crafts that are created with natural materials, from dolls made out of tree bark to carved, wooden key hooks, leather medicine bags and essential oils.
“I let Mother Nature talk to me. Most of it is collected from Mother Nature, so I let it take me where it wants to be taken. So, I’ll let it speak to me. And, I’ll go with it,” Two-White Feather said.
As an artist, his art has been instrumental in his mental wellness journey. He spreads love and awareness to Indigenous issues through his crafts with those who support The Creator’s Shelf and the Night Market.
Both Two-White Feather and Lafond participate in advocacy work for the local Indigenous community. Many of the crafts promote messages around topics like awareness for Indigenous mental health and activism for 2SLGBTQ+ Indigenous people.
“I do crafting and bike rides for First Nations issues across Turtle Island. And I raise awareness and funds for different organizations, and try to hit some of the smaller organizations so they can build up. I take out all my frustrations into my crafting, I’m happy to say that I’m three years clean,” Two-White Feather said.
Alongside the staples at the Uptown Night Market, there are also many new vendors on the scene. Mary Barrios, owner and operator of The Clockwork Beetle is one of them. Barrios is a self-described “Frankenstein,” since she breathed life back into dead and old things. She has been crafting for about five years, but has only started vending at markets in February 2022. Her eclectic collection consists of dead insects and skeletons of small animals lending their natural beauty to glass-cased art pieces and jewelry. All of the picture frames and other vessels are thrifted. “The first specimen I ever did was called the clockwork beetle and that is a beetle with gears that take the place of its body at the bottom. So, you’ll find several of those. Those are my original pieces. I started doing a lot of mixed media using all different kinds of taxidermy skulls and then I’ve recently gone into dried florals, which I do myself as well,” Barrios said.
Despite all of the death, no animals or insects are ever killed for the sake of Barrios’ work. She sources all of her specimens from five different sources that are local to her. The Skull Store in Toronto has been a particularly helpful and ethical source.