Maker Stories

Aykut Gurcaglar of Atlas Arts

Aykut Gurcaglar of Atlas Arts

Hi, I am Aykut Gurcaglar, professor of art history, curator, artist, and founder of Atlas Arts. Atlas Arts is a Toronto-based online design shop selling gift items, stationery, accessories and art prints that feature my original art with reflections from Toronto’s urban culture and heritage. 

Renee Liscio of Sew Wild Canada

Renee Liscio of Sew Wild Canada

Sew Wild Canada was created by Renee, who decided to pass down the sewing skills she had learned from her mother to her daughter. Renee started by teaching her how to make baby quilts, then expanded to dog bandanas and then eco-friendly utensil wraps for adults and kids. The pair began selling their items on Etsy. As the business grew, Renee’s daughter got a full time job and mom took over the business as owner, CEO, and seamstress of Sew Wild Canada.

Michael Dorang Pottery

Michael Dorang Pottery

Michael is lifelong lover of art. He has always been a maker, and has tried all kinds of mediums over the years. The first real spark of interest in learning about art happened for Michael in high school. His school had a robust art training program where he was fortunate enough to encounter many different types of art, from classic painting to metal work, sculpture, and even fabric arts.

Although Michael has played with a number of mediums in his lifetime, clay quickly became his favourite. The elements and experimentation involved in the process fascinate Michael, and he’s always coming up with new methods of honing his craft.

Pink Peony by Kirsten

Pink Peony by Kirsten

Hi! I’m Kirsten, I am a mama to 2 beautiful girls, Emma and Ivey. During maternity leave with Emma I had postpartum anxiety. I really needed a creative outlet to help process my anxiety so I began making my daughter bows. This slowly became a small business which I run out of my home.

Antonietta of The Crafty FBI

   Antonietta of The Crafty FBI

Antonietta here from The Crafty FBI— Full Blooded Italian, that is!

I’m a full time administrator at a busy dental office in Pickering, mother of 2 teenagers, and married to an amazing man!

My husband plays a huge role in my business as he’s my woodworker. I tell him what I need and he gets it done. Not only do I make wood items, I also make mugs, wine glasses, pillows, etc. I am so thankful to have this man in my life. We’ve been married now for 18 wonderful years. Yes, we are highschool sweethearts! I live in a beautiful town called Brooklin. This town was the beginning of so many things for me. Our first home, our kids and an amazing life.

Mike Godin of Wood and Tique

Mike Godin of Wood and Tique

I am a husband and Father of two girls. We all love to create and design. My wife, Tammy and I are partners in the business and life. It began the first summer we had “off” while teaching [2002]. We received a load of barn board and ceiling tin and it grew from there! We get inspiration from the small things… driftwood along the shore through to free pieces of furniture on the roadside. We have a small farm on the edge of Trenton where we tap and make maple syrup, grow Christmas Trees and harvest wild grapes for jelly and wine! I work from home and have a small shop consisting of both wood and metal fabrication areas. I mill lumber from our property and try to salvage as much material as possible to ensure minimal waste.

Rita Wolfe of Moving Moments

Rita Wolfe of Moving Moments

Rita has always loved creating, and at a very young age Rita found her passion for visual art. Art class was always her favorite in school, and she comes from a creative family. Rita believes that she inherited her talent from her father, who created beautiful mixed media art with tiny slivers of wood. Handmade was in her blood, and her passion for it continues today.

Dave Burns of Lake Wood Design

Dave Burns of Lake Wood Design

Dave Burns of Lake Wood Design has always loved creating. In fact, he made a career out of it; he worked in renovations for 30 years. However, his first love was grade 9 woodworking class. It was there that he made his first table, a piece which he still owns today.

Many, many, years ago when I was in Grade 9, I built my first table out of mahogany for my Mom. Today, I still have that table even after my Mom has since passed. The table has withstood the test of time and the memory has been shared across generations. When I started crafting that table, I fell in love with woodworking.

La Luxe Lucerna

La Luxe Lucerna

Grace, the founder and maker behind La Luxe Lucerna, has been making candles since elementary school. She grew up and as many do, felt pressure to do "something" with her life. She forgot her passion for creating, and followed what seemed like the "right path". Luckily, she found her passion again and La Luxe Lucerna was born.

Looking for unique favours to provide at their wedding, Grace and Eddy made their own custom candles. The idea caught on, and soon took off. Wanting to provide a cleaner, healthier candle to burn at home, they created their own line.

the Knit and Stitch Sisters

the Knit and Stitch Sisters

The Knit and Stitch Sisters are four ladies who meet once a week to knit (and crochet) and ......yup, you guessed it, bitch! We fondly refer to ourselves as the 3 Knitting Bitches and 1 Happy Hooker. I like to think that makes us sound way more interesting than four women who sit around and make things out of string. Wouldn't you agree? Plus, it’s way snappier.

What do we bitch about, you ask? Everything— literally! The price of yarn, the state of the world, and how we had to sneak another 50 balls of yarn into the house because you never know when you might need it, right? A few of us have even resorted to having it delivered to the door( is that such a bad thing, really?)!

Josiah and Katrina Rosie of Rosewood Restorations

Josiah and Katrina Rosie of Rosewood Restorations

osiah and Katrina Rosie are the couple behind Rosewood Restorations. Originally from New Zealand, Josiah met Katrina (a Canadian) while working at a summer camp in Alberta. The couple married, and lived in New Zealand for a number of years together. They then moved to Kingston, Ontario for Katrina to pursue further study.

Working and studying full time, the pair are always looking for creative outlets. Rosewood Restoration was born of this creativity. Together, they design and create custom furniture and housewares which are both beautiful and practical. Beginning in their rental apartment’s basement, Rosewood Restorations has recently been upgraded to a garage. Says Josiah, “We finally have space to make into a full-sized workshop!”

Michelle Salamone of ELLA i SKIN

Michelle Salamone of ELLA i SKIN

I have been formulating skincare at home in my kitchen for over a decade. My husband used to tease me about “working in my lab.” ELLA i SKiN is named after my beautiful mom, who I lost to cancer ten years ago. This tragic loss and earning a health degree forced me to make some serious life changes, including cutting out chemicals from my family’s food and products. This combined with my own skin issues inspired me to began researching. And so, ELLA i SKiN was born. 

Jacky Ferreira of Eighteenfortythree

Jacky Ferreira of Eighteenfortythree

Inclusive artisan accessory brand Eighteenfortythree is the project of Toronto area student Jacky Ferreira. Created in August of 2018, Eighteenfortythree was born from Jacky’s desire to craft, but lack of direction and purpose. She decided it was time to create her own brand, something she could work hard on and develop. It was important to Jacky that her company would empower all kinds of people and give them a sense of pride. Eighteenfortythree was born. Creating vintage-inspired statement earrings for the bold at heart, Jacky hopes to instill confidence in everyone who wears her pieces.

The Hebe Store

The Hebe Store

The Hebe Store offers a number of intricate pop-up cards, with designs featuring canadiana, nature, transportation, and occasions. They also do custom work for businesses. Each card is cut by laser and assembled by hand for a beautiful final product with a personal touch. Their cards have a certain wow-factor that is hard to deny, and an intricacy unmatched by mainstream market offerings.

Julia Jackson of Foreversonflowersandmore

Julia Jackson of Foreversonflowersandmore

Julia Jackson is the creative behind handmade business Foreversonflowersandmore. She creates forever silk floral arrangements, wreaths, wall, tabletop decor and unique seasonal home decor pieces. A maker who creates everything with love, Julia sees her craft as both therapy and passion. It’s not hard to see why: Foreversonflowersandmore began after the loss of her five year old son. After her oldest son’s death, Julia was drowning in her grief and creating became her outlet. She started making as a form of grief therapy which continues today. In memory of her son, Foreversonflowers was born. Her son is her inspiration. His love of Sunflowers even inspired her company name, ForeverSONflowers. Her big heart and loving way continues to drive her handmade business, offering customers more than just decor to beautify their space.

Makenna Laughlin of Pure Essence Spa

Makenna Laughlin of Pure Essence Spa

Makenna thrives on allowing others to escape from the real world to relax, reset and replenish while at Pure Essence Spa. Her company is represented by the Purple Amethyst. Amethyst is a meditative, stimulating and soothing stone with legendary abilities to connect with one’s body, mind and spirit to promote a calm, balanced and peaceful temple. Makenna aims to provide this same experience through Pure Essence Spa, helping her clients to reach complete relaxation, rejuvenation and stillness. Outside the spa she shares her values far and wide via the Pure Essence aromatherapy line, available at the Nooks Port Hope.

Alicia of Alicia's Designs

Alicia of Alicia's Designs

Alicia of Alicia’s Designs is a Toronto-based jewellery artist specializing in wire wrapped gemstone pieces. Self taught, Alicia says she’s always been a creative person but fell in love with jewellery making soon after trying it. She began Alicia’s Designs in her last year of high school, and started wire wrapping a few years later in 2015. In the beginning she says it was more of a hobby, but quickly became a full-fledged business.

JAM Designs

JAM Designs

We are free spirited family, obsessed with Semi-Precious stones & our own private essential oil label – Jewel of the Lotus. Passion drives us, and our passion comes from a place of love.

We know that we have the freedom to choose our thoughts and intentions, and we are proud of our journey. We surround ourselves with a supportive tribe, our family (which includes furbabies!).

JAM Designs was born in 2018, by a Thought, to have a healing tool to take with you every day. As we collectively have the freedom to choose our thoughts and intentions, we can collectively manifest our highest intentions through our own practices, then with the transformational journey for you to bloom, with the world being healed through us.

Mel Martins of Drop Dead Candles

Mel Martins of Drop Dead Candles

Drop Dead Candles is a collection of handmade candles and housewares created with weirdos and oddballs in mind. Each item is casted from a found object (usually from a thrift store or vintage item from Etsy ) - so we guarantee you won’t be able to get your hands on candles like these anywhere else. A mould of the found object is created from scratch (a process that involves a lot of swearing and glue gun burns) and then each candle and vessel is hand poured in small batches in Oshawa Ontario under feline supervision. Drop Dead Candles are sure to grab the attention of anyone who happens to pass by them and they also make memorable gifts for the eccentric in your life. 

Domniki of Acquire The Taste

Domniki of Acquire The Taste

The creation of Smooth as a Baby's Shea Butter Body Lotions and Jojoba Face Oil began last November 2018. What you put on your body matters just as much as what you put in it. I began making these products for myself because I have sensitive skin and I could not find ones that softened, moisturized and hydrated my skin, especially during the winter months when my skin and hands were very dry, flaky and cracking. I wanted to make a product that had clean organic ingredients and that worked. The combination of organic ingredients that I used worked wonders for me and my family and we haven’t used anything else since.