A shopper’s delight at Purely Handmade show in Cornwall

A shopper’s delight at Purely Handmade show in Cornwall
Ottawa's Elaine Stuart

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – The retro-futuristic glamour of steampunk fashion was too much to resist for Judy Kroon.

Hundreds of shoppers flocked to the civic complex for the Purely Handmade Cornwall Art and Craft Show featuring 35 exhibitors on Saturday, Feb. 7.

“This hat is the perfect score,” said Kroon as she browsed the ES Essential & Co. booth.

The Cornwallite leaves for Holland on Tuesday, where she’ll show off the unique headpiece at the Carnival festival. Kroon has attended the event three times and describes it as a “European version of Mardi Gras” and “like being in a Wizard of Oz movie.”

She never expected to find such a perfectly suited addition to her festival attire at a local show like this. The caliber of craftsmanship inspired her to make purchases at several booths.

Seeing Kroon ecstatic over her work was welcomed praise for Ottawa’s Elaine Stuart. For nearly two years, she has specialized in steampunk-inspired handcrafted beaded spider, pins, Victorian hats and choker necklaces, and hair accessories.

Stuart described steampunk as “an era that never was.

“It’s a fantasy, role play that looks very Victorian, playing on the concept of how different the future would look if they took on steam as energy, instead of electricity.”

Event organizer and Belleville resident Tara Reid founded Purely Handmade Shows a year ago after exhibiting as a jewellery designer at similar events for several years.

“It’s great to see the amount of support for small businesses here today,” said Reid.

She estimated roughly 1,000 visitors attended.

Reid added: “The venue is great and its close proximity to Ottawa and Montreal helps draw a diverse crowd.”

After making new connections for upcoming projects, Stuart noted that the networking opportunities were highly beneficial as a small business owner as well.

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