one of a kind show

Today, I'm taking a little break from The Friday Files to blog about The One of a Kind Show happening in Toronto at the Direct Energy Centre from now until December 5th. I was lucky enough to attend the press preview yesterday morning and was treated to a delicious breakfast by the students of The George Brown Culinary School. Walking around the cavernous exhibition hall filled with thousands upon thousands of works made by dedicated artisans and crafters you can't help but feel energized and inspired. These are people who clearly love what they do and pour their heart and soul into everything they make. Below is a little overview of the booths and products that caught my eye during my morning visit. There was so much to see and report that I will be back this afternoon with a second post highlighting my top three picks at the show this year. And if you can't make it to the show be sure to check out the links to each artisan's website. Almost all have their own online store. Enjoy! Hilary Cosgrove's Alphabet pillows and stuffed birds are undeniably sweet. The perfect touch in a kid's room or nursery. Being the mother of a boy, I love how she uses more masculine fabrics like tweeds and plaids that could easily translate to a boy's room. She has some lovely owl pillows as well.

How ingenious is this idea for our cold Canadian winters? Sarah of Sartoria will custom make you a pair of long johns while you wait! You get to choose the top, bottom and underwear portions from a huge selection of materials and she sews them together on the spot. Amazing! I was also really taken with Sarah's booth design which her family helped pull together using reclaimed wood and hand made signs. She mentioned that she wasn't convinced that long johns was the best name for her product and I have to agree. (Plus, she said a guy named John once broke her heart!) I thought she should call them long sarahs....what do you think? Oh, and did I mention she also makes cashmere underwear! Seriously.

tulip+i creates beautiful, simple, wonderfully tactile baby blankets, pillows, scarves, and bibs. All of the items are made using natural fibres such as washed linen and cotton and handprinted with water based inks. I was captivated by their limited colour palette and white washed walls.

I have to admit that the first thing that caught my eye at the jack & marjorie booth was the rustic door with its perfectly peeling paint and the stack of superb vintage suitcases. When I looked a little closer I realized I was also absolutely smitten with the bags and satchels. They use old military materials like tents, wool blankets, parachutes, and ammunition pouches in combination with leather to fashion their products. All of the items are made in Toronto by the talented duo of Meghan Parsons and Manuel Opp. I honestly could have taken one of each bag and may go back in the coming days to purchase some.

Jennifer the designer behind Crumb Designs juxtaposes sweet and playful fabrics to create one of a kind baking and gardening aprons. When I saw this pattern with the frolicking horses and subtle polka dots I had to ask her to hold it up. Such a great combination! She also makes children's aprons for the little helpers in your life.

Finally, a wall of white pottery always stops me in my tracks. I love the absolute simplicity and organic shapes. Hugo Didier throws each of these items by hand and sells them under the name, not made in china. I asked him about the mugs with Haiti written on the side. He told me that each year he does one set of limited edition pieces that are topical. Last year, he did H1N1 mugs and this year he has focused on Haiti. I'm not sure if you can see it in the photos but each mug has a slight crack on the rim. Portions of the money raised from these mugs go to relief efforts in Haiti. And how about those stacking bowls? Wouldn't they be a lovely addition to your baking routine?

I'll be back this afternoon with my top three picks for favorite booths at The One of a Kind Show.