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By Erica• 26 Sep 2016
I’ve lived in quite a few places around the world, but I’ve never experienced a ‘crafty’ scene to rival that of Wellington. Trawling the myriad of markets (both the pop-up and long-established) that the city has to offer always fills me with inspiration and when chatting to the interesting and colourful characters I meet, I am reminded of why I love living here.
So I have spent a few weekends of late checking out what the Wellington craft scene has to offer and have had the pleasure of meeting some of these pioneers who have created small, kindling businesses with big potential. The buzzword I heard from nearly every vendor was ‘sustainable’. Much of what I saw was upcycled, stylishly re-purposed and reincarnated to lessen someone’s carbon footprint, which really speaks to the Wellington attitude.
‘Dollhouse’ are taking upcycling to a new level with tin can herb planters, recycled milk bottles (from their local cafe) filled with lovely lavender-scented washing liquid and uber-cool LED lamps inside a jar of pebbles… yeah, apologies, my linguistic skills have failed me in my attempt to describe them, so here’s a picture.
On-trend concrete art can also be found everywhere you look. The talents of the ‘Little Studio’ owner seem never-ending, with hand-sewn bibs, screen-printed tea towels, hand-made cards, trinket bracelets and concrete candles. And ‘Created Homewares’ do some cool concrete art including letters, planters, candles and ornaments and are about to open a new store in Upper Hutt. You lucky Hutt Valley dwellers, you!
There’s the mother and daughter duo behind ‘Cemented’, who have introduced me to the wondrous world of ‘Kokedama’ plants- a kind of Bonsai-inspired idea of a hardy small plant encased in a beautiful string ball. One is currently adorning my kitchen window sill, bringing me all kinds of zen-like calmness.
Then, there’s the yummier side of the craft market scene. ‘Laughing Owl Fudge’ is made by a Wairarapa- based stay at home mum, who has taken her Grandmother’s fudge recipe and added a few touches of her own to create several delicious fudge flavours, including Whittaker’s chocolate, Bourbon and olive oil.
‘The Chocolate Bar’ is an importer of artisan chocolates from around the world, with a focus on the bean-to-bar movement. He stocks some brands not found anywhere else in Wellington as well as some 100% cocoa brand and high quality drinking chocolates that are guaranteed to warm your cockles on a wet and windy evening.
Sniff, sniff, mmmm!
And then there’s the delightfully-smelling stalls, stocking 100% pure oils and creams. Both ‘Sage Apothecary’ and ‘Fat Plants’ both began through frustration when they were unable to find completely chemical-free products on the market. They have (literally) poured a lot of love into creating beautifying products, designed to make you feel rather holy as you slather them on your grateful skin each day.
Snug as a bug in a rug
If the little person in your life is in need of some merino, then Julie Baker (who can be found at the Frank Kitts underground market every Saturday morning, without fail) is there to help. Her merino swaddle blankets have been very well received by my two little humans and she makes a range of gorgeous merino clothing, sleepsacks and booties. I only wish she could whip me up an adult-sized sleepsack that I could hibernate away in while the Wellington winds are a-blowing!
So I think if I had to use one word to sum up the many faces of the Wellington craft scene, it would probably be ‘passion’. Each has a great story to tell, a point of difference and each item that they proudly display has been made with care and love. Support a fellow Wellingtonian and check out their Facebook pages for details of how and where you can view, taste and smell their lovely, passion-filled products.