We've left it to the experts at Make Something Edmonton to share some of the best products made by locals. Make Something Edmonton encourages Edmontonians to build the city they want, project by project. They connect makers with supporters and resources to bring ideas to reality. Are you in town for a wedding and forgot a gift? Want to bring home a unique piece of Edmonton after your awesome visit? Look no further.
Kristine MacDonald may not look like a magician, but the way she transforms hard metals into lifelike designs makes her the very essence of an old-fashioned alchemist.
"That's one of my favourite things about what I do," she laughs as she handles a miniature copper version of Edmonton's skyline. "People do think it's a bit magical, and for me, it is. I love the time I spend in the workshop, taking an idea and making it real, making something you can hold in your hands."
Everybody needs a pair of lucky socks, and Yuri Gerchikov and Leo Shifrin are happy to help. The entrepreneurial pair may be new to the sock business, but their quick success may be attributed to both good luck and good management.
"It's been a crazy two years," Leo says, his wide grin belying the sleepless nights of any entrepreneur. "We had no idea it would take off like it has."
Available online as individual pairs or as a monthly subscription.
Few things get as up close and personal as a bar of soap. So there is a real satisfaction in knowing that the product you use has been hand-crafted with artisanal quality and attention to detail. And more than a little creativity.
Meet the Bro Brick – a hand-crafted bar of soap with a range of scents you won't find anywhere else. Leather, rum, coffee, cedar, barbershop, wasabi, oatmeal, beer and more in various combinations and permutations.
Available online or at a few local retailers such as Little Brick, Tix on the Square and Muttart Conservatory.
Lynne Fortowsky is a wonderful storyteller. But instead of words, she uses the art of Sashiko, or "little stitches" to share centuries-old stories rooted in rural Japan.
"Cloth making in ancient times was a very labour intensive process," Lynne says, laying out a colorful embroidered scarf in front of her. "People would continually mend and reuse cloth, rather than discarding it the way we do today."
And they'd use that mended cloth as a way of telling stories about their lives.
Available at Tix on the Square.
For Carrie Belcourt of Mother Earth Essentials, making natural beauty products isn't just about the lotions and potions, it's about the connection to her ancestors and the earth.
"When I was a little girl, my Cree grandmother would take me out into nature and we'd gather herbs and plants," she says. "My grandmother was normally very quiet, and she felt a lot of shame being aboriginal. She lost children to the residential schools, she faced racism daily. But when she was in nature, all of that was gone. She shared her knowledge with me and showed me the beautiful parts of her culture."
Inspired by tales from his father—an amateur historian with an unparalleled passion for Edmonton's past—Jason has been sharing that history with his audiences, one landmark at a time. He was struck by seeing postcards with pictures from the 80s, "which make our city look outdated."
So he started making his own postcards by painting landmarks driven by his personal nostalgia, in his own unique style. "I make fun, whimsical, 'mid-century smashed with folk' art."
Available online and at Tix on the Square.
For most of us, living a healthy lifestyle means eating well and exercising more often.
For Tanya Zurock of Wild Prairie Soap Company, it's about being conscious of what you're putting on your body, and out into the world. Which is why she started making natural soaps 15 years ago.
"I was on maternity leave from my teaching job," she recalls, "and I was interested in using natural products, so I started making my own soaps. I was immediately hooked on the process, and I fell in love with the products."