Today’s fellow artisan is a dear friend. Helen and I have known each other since the 1990s when we worked together in Kingston, then a decade later when we both happened to be on maternity leave at the same time (and in the same part of the city) with our first children. Now we carpool to craft fairs and bounce ideas off each other as SAHMs and small artisan businesswomen. I love her products and own one of County Cupboard‘s vintage Toronto map pillows, which I picked up when we were both selling at the Spring One of a Kind Show. Helen and I hope to be neighbours at the Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale in just over a week and a half!
Artisan Name: Helen Hawketts
Products: Vintage Canadian map pillows & tea towels
Price Range: $25-$60
How did this all begin?
Inspired by my family’s love of Prince Edward County, and hoping to pivot on an existing mail order business, my original business plan for CC was for it to be a web site where you could buy all sorts of great PEC products. There are SO many talented artisans and craft people in the County, it seemed like having a sampling of them in a ‘County cupboard’ was a logical business idea. My own offering for ‘the cupboard’? Scan a 1930’s map of the County that I had, get it printed onto fabric and sew it into a pillow.
The broader County products web site idea fizzled but a star was born in the map pillow. I gave them to friends & family that first Christmas 4 years ago and soon was asked for other areas, especially cottage country. I now have 6 vintage maps, and one vintage postage stamp design. A new (old) map will be unveiled at this year’s OOAK in November.
I love actually making these pillows & tea towels. I find sewing very soothing.
I’m inspired by the people I meet at shows – my customers are very passionate about these maps. Many are really touched when they see their cottage area appear on a map. It’s really cool to witness and I’ve heard some great stories.
What advice do you have for a first-time One of a Kind Show vendor?
Stay calm, try to enjoy the madness because life can get really quiet when the dust settles. Have fun!
Do you have a favourite OOAK show moment/memory to share?
Love the camaraderie! It’s palatable.