This is how committed I am to supporting local artists this holiday shopping season: this weekend, despite a nagging virus (Cold? Sinus infection? Lung rot?), I still managed to hit up THREE MORE indie craft shows. Erin from Coco Boudoir told me about Art-o-Rama, and while I didn’t buy any crafts there on Saturday I did enjoy some tasty mulled cider and homebaked treats from their little makeshift cafe.

Then, yesterday, I met up with a couple of fellow journo friends to check out the holiday market at 401 Richmond, my summertime internship haunt. I bought the bf a great t-shirt featuring a handsome cat’s face screenprinted boldly against a bright blue setting. The shirt came from the girls at the Toronto Cat Rescue, and the proceeds from my purchase helped to support their organization, so it was a gift I could feel doubly good about giving. Then my galpals and I went downstairs to check out Janet Bike Girl‘s studio. She’s a stencil artist and longtime cycling activist, and my friends and I were quite taken with her petite stencil-to-fabric pieces. My friend Alix bought this one:

(My friend Cristina also bought one of the stenciled fabric squares, though I couldn’t find an image for hers.)

I mentioned to Janet that I’m also into stencilmaking, and she kindly gave me some extra plastic bits to experiment with for use in future stencils. What a woman!

After 401 Richmond, my friends and I parted ways and I continued the westbound trek to City of Craft. There, I found my mothership:

I apologize for the poor photo quality (cell phone photog, c’est moi), but you get the idea. It was HUGE! So many vendors, so much excitement. I think it may have even been bigger than the Bust Magazine spring Craftacular I attended in Brooklyn this past May, which says a lot. My sole complaint was that boy-friendly gift options were few and far between. Nevertheless, I was drooling over the abundance of brilliant creations to be found–and, thanks to the internets, it isn’t too late to support these artists for your own holiday shopping if you are so inclined. Without further ado, my top 5 faves:

1.) Holly Handmade

Woodland-inspired bark-print baby bibs and plushie toadstool rattles, packaged together in a darling set. Need I say more?

2.) Shannon Gerard

I was already familiar with Shannon’s graphic art thanks to her contribution to an awesome anthology called She’s Shameless (which I had the pleasure of reviewing over the summer), but I had no idea that the quirky crocheted adornments I’ve recently been seeing around town were also her handiwork. Talk about talent! I can’t get over how much I love the idea of needleworked renditions of body parts:

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Though, I must say, I am also partial to plants you can’t kill:

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3.) Bettula

These guys make jewelry out of birchbark. It’s pretty sweet.

4.) Nanopod

I know, me and my thing for body parts. But seriously, Tosca from Nanopod makes anatomical heart pendants out of glass:

And axon-branch earrings:

I wish I’d paid more attention in AP Bio…

5.) Nightjar Books

Repurposed materials made into hand-bound notebooks at prices that beat your average, boring old Moleskines. Again, what more can I say?

Come to think of it, I just gave you SIX artists for the “price” (or, rather, “claim”) of five, so gold star for me. I gotta go drain my sinuses now. Toodles!