Saturday, August 28, 2010

At the Craft Market

I've just got back from the St. Kilda craft market. I'd been a bit upset about the loss of my favourite brooch, my silver brolgas brooch — I'd last worn it two weeks ago in Sydney at the Romance Writers of Australia national conference, and when I'd taken my jacket to be drycleaned, the brooch wasn't on it. I phoned everywhere I'd been in Sydney, but no luck, and since I'd bought it some years ago at the St. Kilda craft market, I thought I'd see if I could get another one.

I was almost ready to leave when I went to put on my earrings, and lo! there was the brooch, in the bowl with my earrings. I must have removed it on auto-pilot when I got home and not recalled it at all.

Still, the morning was brilliantly sunny so I decided to head down to the market anyway.  My time at the beach in Sydney had spoiled me and I wanted to see the sea again — I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky — she says, channelling Dad, who used to quote poems at the drop of a hat — that one's Sea Fever by John Masefield, one of his faves.

Despite the bright sun and brilliant blue sky, it was chilly -- 10 C -- and I got there early enough for most stalls to be just setting up so I wandered off and bought a coffee at the The Europa Cafe — St. Kilda is renowned for great cake and coffee shops in the European tradition— where I resisted the delicious fragrance of fresh-baked cakes and chocolate and stuck to one small coffee.

I took it to the beach and basked in the sun with the sound of waves on one side and seagulls and rainbow lorikeets in the palm trees above me.  Seagulls are noisy, pushy brats, but I love lorikeets. They cluster in my flowering gum tree every morning chirruping and squawking happily, and each summer they descend on my plum tree and steal my plums, but I don't mind. There's something magical about them, and I'm not sure whether it's the drought or the bushfires or simply a result of more people planting native trees and bushes in the city, but I've been seeing a lot more lorikeets and other native birds lately.

Anyway, back to the market. It's a mix of crafts, some junky and not to my taste, others beautiful. Prices range from a few dollars to thousands — I saw one gorgeous silver bracelet for $1200 and a beautiful pair of gold sea-urchin earrings for more than $1000.  I  shopped at the cheaper end of the scale. I bought a couple of lovely pewter brooches and a pair of earrings, and despite my intention of not buying anything for the house — I'm planning to renovate and am supposed to be getting rid of stuff, not acquiring it — I was also tempted to buy this gorgeous glass dish.  I congratulate myself on not buying one of the hand-turned wooden bowls — I have a weakness for beautiful wooden bowls and spoons.

I do love markets, especially craft markets that sell lovely things. Do you?


  1. I love craft markets! The one I like in Melbourne is the Rose St market in Fitzroy. I've got to get down there again soon.

  2. We have a yearly Art in the Park thing near me and I used to love going, making a day of it. Unfortunately over the years, it's because much the same thing in almost every stall and there's very little variety anymore. I miss wandering and ogling everything, but I did the Ann Arbor art fair once. Once was enough on that one! TOO huge to be happy wandering. I felt like I had to hurry or I'd never get through everything.

    I don't like that.

    I want a lorikeet! They are to cool.

  3. Keziah, the Rose St market is small but fun and funky, I agree. It's very close to my place, too, which is a bonus.

    Theo, I went to another market recently and it was much the same, everyone selling something similar, and so disappointing. I think people forget that everyone likes to find something special and different. But I'll keep going to markets because it really uplifts me to look at beautiful things. I don;t have to buy things to be pleased by them. I'll be in Canberra (state capital) next weekend and I love going to the national gallery there and just soaking up the gorgeousness.

    And lorikeets are magic, I think. People have them as pets, but having the wild ones swooping and chittering in the trees outside my window every morning is a daily blessing.

  4. Anne, craft fairs and farmers markets are very popular here in the Pacific NW (Washington State). The farmers markets used to sell just produce, but now they have expanded and include everything from jewelry to handmade furniture, from artwork to handmade clothing, hats, and bags.

    Portland, Oregon has an event called the Portland Saturday Market, which runs every Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine, from March through December. It's so huge that you can't possibly take it all in with one go.

    I've discovered some wonderful can't-get-anywhere-else items at these farmers markets and craft fairs. At a local craft fair, my sister and I discovered a perfumier who makes the most divine scented soaps, lotions, and perfumes. He's very reasonable, and his lovely scented soaps are in my drawer of undies, making everything smell so nice. His lavender-scented hand cream is awesome. I also had him make up a bottle of perfume for me, specifying which scents to combine. It only cost $12 and I now have a custom-made perfume all my own. I keep the bottle on my desk for nose hits when the urge strikes. *g*

    Sherrie Holmes