MEET THE MAKERS


EMILIE WONG

Emilie is a self-taught, Toronto-based illustrator, designer, and artist. She graduated from Queen's University majoring in Art History and earned a diploma in Digital Media Arts at Seneca College. She started up her branded company, Fåçåde Toronto in 2015 after wanting to design a line of toques that she wanted to wear herself. Since the launch, she has designed customized and personalized work in her signature style - using black and white sugar skulls, botany, and mandalas. She works in both traditional screenprinting and digital methods to transfer her illustrations onto clothing, cards, and art prints. In the future, she wants to be able to transfer her illustrations onto lifestyle products such as skate and surf boards, wall decals, and tapestries.


AVE ABELLANOSA

Hello, my name is Ave, a small-town Aussie girl who moved to Toronto three years ago. Moving here has helped me reconnect with my passion for living a creative life, and I was inspired to share my art with the world through Ave Mariabell Designs (AMD). AMD is a series of ultra modern, minimalist, skyline designs that aim to unite people together by celebrating cities that we love. With AMD, people can take a memento of any city, whether it is in the form of a large-scale wall decal or small gift item. Instagrammers have fallen in love with the minimalist look of the skylines, and many want it in their homes to showcase cities they have travelled to. I aim to inspire people to share the journey of celebrating cities we love by encouraging custom requests from the community. This is the most unique selling point of AMD, as it allows engagement with locals and their ideas, making each design have a feeling of exclusivity to each customer. My ultimate goal with AMD is for it to become an internationally recognized brand, with boutiques worldwide. Travellers everywhere will seek AMD designs for collectible memorabilia items of cities they love. 


CONTESTANT_SCOTT.jpg

SCOTT WILK

Scott Wilk studied fine arts and jewellery making at NSCAD university in Halifax, NS before discovering the world of watches while working at a small jewellery and watch repair shop in Toronto, ON. Upon this discovery, Scott set out to learn about horology and blend his education with his new passion. Wilk Watchworks was created in 2010 and has combined Scott’s love of handcrafting and design with the mechanics of timekeeping.


RACHEL YOUNG

Hello! I’m Rachel Young, textile artist and owner of NamasteFreund. I make ceremonial wedding accessories including handfasting cords and bookmarks. I made the handfasting cords for my own wedding and began selling them online with great success, loving that I was making something that was going to be a part of someone’s very special day. As they are a very custom wedding product, I branched out to include bookmarks to sell to the public, ones that include the signature cord material that I also use in my wedding products, but finished with unique and sometimes upcycled charms. All of my products are made with the highest quality materials handmade by me in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood of Toronto where I live with my husband and quirky cat.


MICHELLE LYNCH

I have always had a passion for things made by hand. Crochet for me began as a hobby which slowly sparked my obsession as a maker.  Each piece that I create is an extension of my love for nature and my passion for creating.  As I found my rhythm with my hooks, crocheting became a meditative process for me. You will never find me without a crochet hook


GINA DRIEDGER

Hi! I'm Gina Driedger, and I'm the founder and creative mind behind the felt florals of Bear & Barbaloot. My whole life I've lived for being creative, but I've also spent the last 14 years going to school and building my career of being a nurse. I adore my calling, and have worked on the transplant unit at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children for the last 10 years. Around the time of the birth of my second baby, I suffered from a very dark, life threatening pre/postpartum depression. As part of my intensive therapy, and dragging myself out of the shadows of this time, I started turning to art to soothe my soul. There, Bear & Barbaloot was born. My business (named after my nicknames for my two little boys) is a beautiful metaphor of healing and growth from a dark place. These flowers brought me back to life. I hope they bring you as much joy as they have for me! Xo Gina


COURTNEY LINK

Courtney is the artist and creative talent behind CLINKart creating jewellery, functional art, and décor. About a year ago, after having moved to Toronto, Courtney began working at a 3D printing studio where her passion for painting and experience producing artifact reproductions for museums inspired a series of fresh creations utilizing the new technologies she had access to. With years of experience creating mixed media paintings and upcycling, it was a natural transition for her to begin creating sculptures and other decor items that incorporate various materials, mediums, and objects. Having a strong connection to nature, and wishing to ignite conversation on the surrounding environment, societies need for consumer goods and the service industry Courtney utilizes re-purposed materials and 3D printed elements as an integral part of her creative process. Many of her products are created on demand, they are customizable and, although 3D printing allows for rapid reproduction, all printed parts are hand painted and assembled individually.


NIDHI SACHDEVA

Growing up in India, where natural remedies have a long tradition and are an integral part of everyday life, I’ve come to understand the timelessness and value of natural remedies and holistic practices. Since moving to Toronto in 2007, I have had the opportunity to play an active role as a health and wellness coach and share my diverse knowledge for the betterment of people around me. Birthing Firoza was a natural extension of my broader commitment.

Firoza – Nature to Skin is a natural body care line that combines eastern and western sensibilities by blending traditional herbs and extracts with locally sourced, mostly organic ingredients. I am extremely passionate about creating 100% natural products that really work and making them available to people.


TIFFANY WHITTINGHAM

My name is Tiffany and I'm the owner of Sweet Tamarind. I've been creating handcrafted jewellery for the past 8 years. My style and methods have changed and evolved over the years but what has remained consistent is my passion and love of creating organic pieces of wearable art. My style and influence is heavily inspired by my Indian - African Caribbean heritage. My pieces have a combination of leather, semiprecious stones, seeds, wood, and more! A lot of the materials are personally sourced...while walking on the beach or visiting the local thrift shops. My jewellery can be bold and distinctive; it's meant for any one who has a unique sense of style and confidence.


CORA COADY

Hi, my name is Cora and I am a self-taught doll maker, vision loss rehabilitation therapist, mother of three and partner to a supportive husband. I fell in love with doll making while I was pregnant with my 3rd child. I felt the need to focus on my pregnancy by making something for my new baby. I so thoroughly enjoyed the materials and process of creating that I just never stopped.

Doll making has allowed me to develop many different skills, among them: knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidery and pattern drafting. I use my dolls as a creative expression and love to make each doll unique. East York Dolls are made with quality natural fibers; a combination of new and up-cycled fabrics. Each doll is inspired by nature and everyday life, and are carefully crafted over many hours to withstand the test of time. The result is a sweet timeless creation that will bring countless hours of joy!


ANGELA GUENTHER

Raised in a small town the province of Quebec, I spent most of my teenage years living country side. Our immediate neighbours were cows that grazed on the green pasture. My chores included riding the lawn tractor to cut the grass, TV was broadcasted via antenna and our water came from a well. It’s been rumoured that the very same well I drank from was indeed a fountain of youth. At least that’s what I tell people when they say I don’t look as old as my age would indicate.

Being raised in the country and surrounded by mother-nature instilled a foundation of all things natural. However, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I started my company: OrgAngie. In fact, it started with a book about organic farming and bridged into making handmade organic skin care and natural bath products. Recently, I successfully obtained a Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation. In the next couple of months, I plan to hone in on my skills as a formulator and enroll in the Advance Diploma in Organic Skincare Science.


MURIAH

I have a passion for evidence based healthcare, balanced with what I admit is an eccentric mix of interests and skills. In addition to having a Masters in Sociology, I’m also an ordained Minister, a member of the local Gem and Mineral Club, a Reiki practitioner, and have taken a range of classes from essential oils to crystal healing. All these elements magically come together with Aura Stone Designs. I research the natural stones that I use, infuse them with Reiki energy, and include a write-up of the geology and metaphysical properties of each stone in the bracelet.


LESLIE FERGUSON

My love affair with flowers and gardens started in childhood.  Once an adult, I translated that love into work as a gardener and floral designer.  I started playing with felt, yarn and fabric crafts when I found myself as a stay-at-home Mom with time to kill and sanity to preserve.  Mill Street Makes was born after discovering that I could create flowers and plants using just felt, scissors and glue!  Now there doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to make all the felt flowers I can think of.


HANNAH TOWLE

Hannah has received a Bachelor in Material Art & Design from OCADU, with a main focus in Fibres and Silversmith. In the final years, Hannah gained more awareness and passion about the environment, and the opportunities available to transform the role of traditional consumerism.  After graduating, Hannah worked at various companies gaining the knowledge on how to successfully run a small to large businesses in production, packaging, funding, marketing and construction. In 2015, Hannah was Top 10 recipient in the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s Fashion Your Future Program where she received a grant to create the Crystal Trove Collection. Hannah has since received a grant from Business In the Streets (BITS) for my company. Hannah has dedicated time to participating in art shows across the GTA as well as showcasing her designs online and at various galleries in Ontario. Throughout the experience Hannah has created many relationships that continue to flourish. Equipped with knowledge andexperience, Hannah now understands the business of art and design, and is confident that she can make a lasting impact on the industry.

Pursuade Me is a fashion and interior accessory line Hannah launched in 2015 that will 'persuade' individuals to think outside the box when it comes to everyday design. As an accessory designer, Hannah chose to focus on using sustainable materials for inspiration because she was bothered about the amount of materials individuals consume and waste. Hannah grew to appreciate eco-friendly design. When she saw true art and craft being destroyed by manufactured products around the world, Hannah vowed to focus her talents on handmade craft and green design.

Let Pursuade Me, persuade you. 


AMY WETTON

Hi friends, my name is Amy Wetton and I am the artist/owner behind Wild Canary Studio. A Designer/Art Director by profession, I discovered a love for watercolors while on maternity leave with my twin boys. I have always been drawn to the free-spirited nature of watercolours and strive to keep that vibrant and whimsical style flowing through my line of artwork and products. I'm inspired by nature, animals and colour. It's my mission to create fun products with personality and sentiment. I hope to capture humour and fun amid the randomness of my quirky and playful creations while adding a little happy to people's walls!


NOOKS_CANDIDATE_DESIREE.jpg

DESIREE DAWN

Hi there, I’m Desiree, the creative force and maker behind Desiree Dawn Designs. I’ve been making my own jewellery since I was a child, around the same time that I started collecting rocks and crystals, starting a life long obsession with the mineral kingdom. While my style and favourite materials may have changed and evolved over the years, (as have I), my passion and love for creating has only grown.

As a life long learner with a thirst for knowledge, I’ve continued to develop my jewellery making skills, learning as much as I can on my own, and planning an intricate and detailed list of future skills I would like to learn and develop. I always seem to be thinking 2 steps ahead.

Once I started to learn more about crystal gemstones, I became more selective with the types of stones I use in my creations, focusing primarily on using semi-precious crystals and stones, among other organic materials such as seeds and wood in my jewellery.

Today I lovingly choose all my stones and carefully craft them, setting the intention that they will find new homes with people who will benefit from their wonderful energies, and that they bring as much joy and love to the person receiving them, as creating them does for me.


JILL HEDICAN

As a child I spent summer visits in Northern Ontario with a favourite Aunt who shared her love of foraging for wild blueberries, making jam, and having picnics in the woods.  As an adult working in healthcare, I have learned the importance of balance, and for me this means a life filled with family, friends, nature and creativity.

Living in the city, I have brought nature into my life and my children's lives through exploring Toronto’s natural spaces, learning to identify wild plants, and growing a shared garden.  I have also rediscovered my Northern roots through sustainable foraging, canning, fermenting and preserving, and now find myself drawn to these simpler, older ways of living.  These interests have led me to some of my current work in the pottery studio where I am creating nature-inspired jewelry, old style drip coffee makers, herb jars and honey pots.

Wild Ginger Arts, for me, is a forum where I can combine my interests, values and goals into something that can be shared with others.  My hope is to create ceramic work and other handcrafted pieces that offer others the opportunity for simple living, connected to nature.


MIRANDA AMEY

Miranda started sewing as a means to decorate her apartment on the cheap but quickly turned her focus to sewing baby items when she learned she was to be an aunt for the first time. Discovering how much love and meaning a handmade item could hold she continued to sew for family and friends but eventually they met their baby quota and she needed an outlet for her passion. Sew Auntie Sew was born from that passion and Miranda continues to work with expecting parents to create items of sentimental value that can be cherished for years to come.


AMARA STRAND

Amara Strand is an artist based in Toronto. Originally from Bangkok, Thailand. Her educational background includes a bachelor's degree in Interior Design and a certificate in 3D Rendering and Design. After more than 6 years practicing as an Interior designer, she fell in love with watercolour. Watercolour, ink and graphite are used to create her colourful signature artwork inspired by the beauty of urban life, architecture and nature. She believes stories behind art connect one to another and share their memories. Building on her passion for art, Amara has started her own brand, Amara Strand Studio. Her studio focuses on original paintings, stationery design and accessories that include her unique watercolour paintings.


MIKAELA BOND

Hello! My name is Mikaela and I’m a student, writer and passionate entrepreneur. Just over a year ago, my love for makeup, Shakespearean literature and vegan lifestyle came together to form Shakespeare’s Bathtub, my handmade personal care line. Since its inception, Shakespeare’s Bathtub has grown from a little kitchen craft into a recognizable brand offering natural skincare, makeup, bath products and – soon – haircare! Running Shakespeare’s Bathtub constantly pushes me past the limits of my comfort zone and has turned me from a hobbyist into a businesswoman. My life is jam-packed with different ventures – university classes, creative writing, theatre direction, magazine editing – but Shakespeare’s Bathtub is my heart and soul. Previously, as a shopper, I used to read “made with love” on product labels. It is only now that I truly know what it feels like to handcraft a product with care and love... and I get to do it daily!


LAURA ZWOLAK

A designer and maker of clothing, personal accessories, and home decor, Laura's passion for handmade began at an early age. As a child of an advertising executive and an artist, who together owned a successful antiques business, Laura was reared in a creative environment which was continually refreshed with new inspiration. Wishing to apply this to her imaginary play, Laura taught herself to crochet when she was eight years old and before long the urge to create transferred to a desire for a challenge, and she began the exploration into crocheted lace. 

Catharsis of Petra has developed as a concept with time and effort spent in research and refinement to provide our clientele with the luxury and comfort they desire in their self care products. We honour and respect the process we are so lucky to be a part of.


TAMILA LESOV

Tamila Lesov is the creative director and owner of TJ Indigo Clothing Company. After having worked with software companies creating beautiful user friendly experiences and visual identities for over 10+ years, I recently decided to change direction and started to experiment with low-impact clothing and indigo dying and so TJ Indigo was formed in 2015. TJ Indigo Clothing Co. is a small line of modern, eco-friendly indigo shibori one-of-a-kind clothing, hand crafted in Toronto, using natural fabrics & natural indigo dye. TJ Indigo attempts to reinvent clothing, inspired by inherent freedom and beauty of nature and a profound respect for it. Working with a professional fashion designer we incorporate minimalist zen aesthetic with sculptural feminine silhouettes, comfortable, functional and unique. I hand dye everything in small batches using natural indigo in my studio. Experimenting with traditional Japanese and new and innovative techniques effectively turns each piece into fascinating blue works of art. 

 


FANNY NGANTCHEU

Hello, I am Fanny Ngantcheu, the designer behind the brand Kwesiya. I lived in several international cities, which allowed me to witness a great variety of cosmopolitan trends. This global fashion is the essence of the brand. Kwesiya was born from my desire to share my passion for fashion coupled to my will for displaying diversity, and how different cultures can function together.

I am inspired by Women I see everyday and everywhere. The innate sense of elegance, sensuality and grace that you find in certain women whether you are on a street in Paris, London, Douala, or Hong Kong is terribly inspiring.

Fashion to me, is one of the most effective ways of expression. Your style can be pretty adventurous or understated, it is always an extension of yourself and your personality.

It enables me to see life from different perspectives.

With Kwesiya, It is all about mixture, of garments, textures, shapes, with a subtle touch of tradition, modernity and elegance.


CARMEN LI

I am a self-taught abstract painter and illustrator with deep desires to explore the different spectrum of colors in mediums such as acrylic, ink, and watercolor. I started painting at a young age with my grandfather and dad. Recently, I decided to follow my passion in art and took a leap of faith to pursue a part-time career as an artist. It excites me the most when my paintings bring positivity and brighten someone’s day, as well as, motivate others to follow their passion. Causes that are close to my heart are related to cancer research and mental health. To give back to my community, I currently volunteer at CAMH as an Art Program facilitator and sit on the Research Ethics Board for Oncology as a Community Member. All of my paintings are one of a kind just like the people that buy them!


HAILEY ROGERS

Hi, I'm Hailey: a crafty mama, surrounded by love and light. A Marketing & Communications professional by day, Reverie Gardens is my creative outlet - where I am inspired to tap into my imagination and craft miniature scenes for believers young and old. Though originally intended for children, I love that people of all ages have responded to my little gardens with an appreciation for the innocence and whimsy they encourage. Each one is vetted by an important panel of judges -  my three young children - and serves as a reminder of an important lesson my family has learned: to believe in the power of hope, optimism, and the 'unexplainable'.


KRYSTIN

Hello! My name is Krystin. I'm the owner and designer behind Picklesworth Baby. I'm a daughter, wife and mama to two of the most amazing little boys. Picklesworth Baby began prior to having my first child and it has turned into a labour of love. I enjoy creating trendy, fashionable, and most importantly, safe teething accessories for moms and their most prized possessions, their little babes. I like to work with a variety of teething friendly textiles which include food grade silicone, wood and fabric. I look forward to participating in the NookSTART with the various other artisans.