January 19th, 2022

Christmas market showcasing artisans from across Canada


By Dale Woodard on October 30, 2021.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard Shauna Hayward of Mad Fish Glass shows customers Peter Maclean, Cheryl Bodell and Kiara Maclean at few items at the opening day of this weekend's Fall Into Christmas Market at Exhibition Park.

Though it was probably an unpopular – and unwanted – weather front, it was perhaps fitting that the snow was falling outside the Lethbridge Exhibition Friday.
That’s because inside The Fall Into Christmas Market was in full swing after a little time away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re excited to be back at the shows, we’ve been out of them for 21 months, ” said Davis Ladouceur, show producer at Signature Shows and the producer of the Fall Into Christmas Market. “We’re excited to have the energy and our community back together. We’ve been separated for so long and excited to have the public here to explore all these great artisans we have.
“We’re such a tight-knit community of artisans. We’re from coast-to-coast and we normally only see each other in a short time period of the year and it just allows everybody to connect. At our first show back, everybody is hugging each other and happy and crying. It was just amazing to see these people that miss their road family.”
Based out of Ottawa, Signature Shows has been going since 1998, connecting Canadian artisans and audiences to share the joy of handmade art work with Lethbridge among the stops.
“We have all Canadian hand-made products,” said Ladouceur. “We have everything from micro distilleries to hand-made hats. We have flat art, photography and jewelry. Anything you can think of that’s made in Canada, you can buy here.”
This weekend’s stop boasts plenty of local artisans as well as a few others who came from a way to show their work in southern Alberta.
“We have some from as far as Prince Edward Island and some from B.C. or Ontario. They’re from all across Canada. They come to Lethbridge to show their work off,” said Ladouceur.
Among the local vendors is Shauna Hayward, a lampwork artisan for Mad Fish Glass.
As she tended to a few customers, Hayward noted it’s great to have in-person customers once again.
“When you’re out talking to people and interacting, you really miss that one-on-one personal connection. Over COVID I had my website up and running, so there were some online sales, but it’s not the same as connecting with people in person.”
Hayward makes glass beads with Mad Fish Glass.
“I use an oxygen propane blowtorch to melt the glass and then you layer it together in different ways to get different shapes and patterns,” she said. “So all of my glass beads are hand-made. I design the jewelry as well and put it together with different chains and little pieces that go with the beads.”
Hayward has been a lampwork artisan for 15 years.
“I saw someone doing it when I was on vacation. Someone was making beads out-of-store in Nelson B.C. I just said I have to do that. I bought a book, a blowtorch and I taught myself how to make beads.”
Over the 15 years, her business has grown.
“I started out in a little corner of the garage, now I’m about half of the garage,” said Hayward. “So I’ve got a lot of tools and equipment.”
She also has more shows coming up around the area.
“There are a couple local markets coming up in November,” said Hayward. “One of the big ones is at the CASA. There’s one in Magrath and one in Pincher Creek, so I do a bit of travelling.”
Back after 21 months, COVID protocol remains in place for this weekend’s market.
“We’re following all the government regulations,” said Ladouceur. “We require you to have your two doses of vaccination or a privately paid PCR test in order to enter the hall. We have wider aisles than we’ve ever had and we have hand sanitizer around. We’re trying to keep it a fun and safe event.”
The Fall Into Christmas Market runs today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is $5 with the option to pay at the door with cash, credit or debit.

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