June 12, 2024

The Indigenous Holiday Art Market on Sunday, Dec. 5 features some meaningful local gifts for the holidays.

“Small creators are very intentional with every item they use,” said Emma Smith, a Waterloo-based Indigenous beader and artist who owns Rain Beading, selling primarily upcycled and thrifted jewelry. “I know I specifically go and thrift much of the metal parts of the jewelry that I use.”

It will be the second in-person Indigenous art market hosted by I AM Kitchener this year, the last one being Sept. 4.

This one will be held at the Kitchener Farmers Market on King Street, and vendors are hoping that the holiday-themed market will be just as successful as the last one.

“It’s been so nice and to see how popular the one in September was, I’m really excited for this [market] coming up,” said Smith. “It’s great to see the region as a whole coming together as a community to support Indigenous artists.”

Vendors attending are excited for more in-person markets to take place, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic put a major halt to many events last year.

“A lot of artists rely on in-person market for being able to sell their products … it’s hard to get traction online,” said Charlotte Knight, another local Indigenous beader attending Sunday’s market.

Many are looking forward to getting back out to markets, making their artwork and more for the community.

“A purchase from these [big] corporations … they will not notice if one or two purchases are missing,” said Knight. “Whereas … every time I get an order, I won’t lie, I do a little happy dance.”

For those who take public transit, there is a bus stop located footsteps from the Kitchener Market, or the Ion light rail is an option which will take passengers into downtown Kitchener.

The local vendors also find a way to connect and relate to each other through these markets.

“We connect, and we got to share our own stories … as artists and creators,” Smith said.

They are also hoping that events like these will help to strengthen ties between the community and local Indigenous artists.

“A lot of Indigenous people have a really, really strong focus on community and kinship, and having been distanced from that is incredibly difficult,” Knight said. “Having opportunities for people to come together … has been so beneficial.”

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