Elizabeth McFaul
CONTRIBUTOR

As Stitch ’n’ Kitsch craft show approaches its tenth year, this crafty collective is stronger than ever.

Stitch ’n’ Kitsch is a group of independent, local indie artisans who run two craft shows each year. It started as a meeting ground for a small group of crafters and a chance to relax and work on their crafts. When the group decided to showcase their work by running a small event out of the community centre of a local co-op, they were surprised at the level of support. The events grew into their current location, the First United Church in uptown Waterloo.

The Stitch ‘n’ Kitsch Holiday show features a variety of artisans, including jewellery, pottery, body and bath products, and knits.

Jessica Burman, member of the collective, and owner of Cocoon Apothecary, explains that the show has grown from around a dozen vendors in 2005, to over thirty vendors.

“I always like seeing so many people in one space, especially people who are very supportive of artisans, local talent, and local handmade. It’s a really good crowd,” explained Burman.

The holiday theme of the winter show helps everyone get into the spirit, and is a great place to discover new gift ideas that support local economy.

What sets Stitch ’n’ Kitsch apart is their commitment to local, handcrafted goods. Where many craft shows have expanded to include sellers with non-local products, Stitch ’n’ Kitsch focuses on artisans and individuals who create their own items.

“We look for quality, handmade, and it has to have an edge to it. It has to be funky, edgy, something different,” said Burman. “It’s fascinating to see what people bring to their table every year.”

A number of vendors have been creating toys made from upcycled materials and natural fibres. These toys are made using nontoxic materials, and just in time for the holiday season.

The show’s success comes partly from the larger, indie craft movement and the growth of the crafting marketplace Etsy.

“We’ve been growing along with Etsy and a lot of our sellers are on Etsy,” said Burman.

With Etsy, these crafters are able to promote their creations to a wider audience, but they enjoy the audience that the Stitch ‘n’ Kitsch shows provide. The vendors develop a loyal following, but that following grows larger each year as more of Waterloo Region discovers it.

When asked what Stitch ’n’ Kitsch has in store for the future, Burman laughs.

“Every time the conversation goes into something different, we always pull it back. We’re just interested in providing this venue for local artists.”

Stitch ‘n’ Kitsch’s Winter Show runs Dec. 13 at the First United Church in uptown Waterloo at 16 William St.