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Last year Anne-Marie wrote about attending local art fairs in Chicago and she shared where to find some of those artists after the fair season in a two part series here and here. This is one of many passions that Anne-Marie and I share. We love and appreciate artists that are not only creative and talented but also have such a devotion to what they do. When Anne-Marie and her family came to visit us at our cottage in Muskoka, Ontario, I wanted to introduce her to one of our local art fairs. The Muskoka Arts & Craft Show will celebrate its 50th year next year. It is truly a tradition for my family to attend this show every year. Even as a child I always went and one year I was able to help out in one of the artist’s booth. The quality and diversity of these invited artists never cease to amaze me. Every year I see some of my old favorites and am introduced to some new amazing local Canadian artists.

Just as Anne-Marie had done, I would also like to share some of my favorites whose work can now be purchased through their online stores:

  Dotti Potts necklaces – I have bought several of Dotti Potts porcelain clay necklaces for many of my girlfriends (and for myself also). I love the size and designs on her pieces. Truly a statement piece! Although the company is just now setting up an ecommerce site, you can still order by phone upon consulting her online catalog.
  Vintage Beaded Purses – When I saw Jacqui Uza making these beaded purses, I fell in love with them on the spot. Each unique piece is intrinsically created. No two are quite alike. Jacqui starts with finding old purse snaps and then weaves a beaded design onto it. It would definitely fit both the something old and something new for a bride-to-be. This is one piece that would be passed on from generation to generation. Buy from her Etsy store.
Baggy Pants – I am a huge fan of Suzanne Stevens’ line of cotton and flannel Baggy Pants. This summer, the girls and I bought matching monkey design with polka dot flannels. They are cozy, comfortable and true to size. I love the fact that my girls can wear them as they grow and they become more like capri pants. This is their third pair and I can not believe why I never bought a pair for myself until now (but definitely not my last). Wear them for PJs, yoga or just having a comfy day. Buy directly from BaggyPants.
Miranda Britton Jewelry – Miranda sees the beauty in discarded items, hand picked beach stones as well as gemstones. Her pieces, made from precious metals, are inspired by the beauty and shapes of nature. Visit her Etsy store to see some of her collection.
  Okeedokee – Designer Sonja DeSilva creates girls’ (up to age 10) and women’s dresses using vintage t-shirts and recycled materials. Each piece is one-of-a-kind, since she only uses found fabrics that she reconstructs into eco-friendly fashion. You can buy her dresses on Okeedokee (for children) and Miss Green Originals (for women) Etsy shops.
  BeadQueen Jewelry – As artist April Mitchell-Boubreau states, “Life is short. Wear shiny things.” And at her prices you could afford a different bling for every outfit. I adore her fun and fresh pieces, made with shells, Swarovski crystals, stones and beads. Check out her on line store here.
  Karen Wilson HandbagsKaren Wilson uses unique textures, patterns, accents and colors for her bags. They can be elegant, chic, whimsical and practical. Perfect for the most discerning fashionista. Selection on her Etsy store is limited, but feel free to email her if you see something you like on her business website.
  Zoodonyms – I have bought these handmade name puzzles for my children. The are made with baltic birch and hand-painted with non-toxic, hand-mixed brightly colored dyes. Each letter looks either like an animal or a perfect perch for the animal puzzle pieces to sit on. Buy directly from Zoodonyms.
Moth Jewelry Bracelets – Using waxed linen and beads, artist Leslie Howchin creates bohemian style bracelets that can be worn everywhere – even swimming. I adore how she works with bold colored linen strands and combines them with simple wooden beads. Check out her Moth Jewelry Etsy store.
  MallyBibs – You would not think that a leather bib would be practical, but on the contrary, these bibs can be washed with mild soap and rinsed. They are durable and will not stain. They each have an adorable hand stitched design on the front and magnetic clasps at the back, but feel free to design your own. Buy directly from MallyBibs and while there check out their other leather products.

Unfortunately, most artists, it appears, only sell at art fairs and it’s difficult to find their work once the season is over. However, many of the same artists that were at the Muskoka Arts and Craft Show also will be at the One Of A Kind Shows held in either Toronto, Vancouver or Chicago at the end of November – beginning December. It is well worth a trip to one of these fine cities. Anne-Marie and I just may see you there.

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