Supporting local artists can be more convenient and less expensive than you think
By Danielle Steele, Contributor
Local artists and makers are vital to our communities; their artwork is a reminder of what’s important and simply brings joy to those who observe it. We know artists are important, but sometimes supporting local artists can be tough to navigate. If you’ve ever felt lost about this, don’t worry, because you’re not alone. Everyone has given in to Ikea prints and HomeSense décor, but luckily, in the age of technology supporting local artists has never been easier.
Hit The Follow Button
Following your favourite artists and makers on social media is possibly the easiest (and most affordable way) to support them. Many independent shops and retailers have an Instagram account, or at least some form of social media. While there are likely hundreds of small businesses to be discovered, for now, here are a few we’ve highlighted.
This maker’s bath products take treating yourself to a new level. Sweet as Candy crafts each of their bath bombs from scratch with a beautifully detailed design. All their products are colourful and sparkly, perfect for everyone’s inner child. You can find them on Instagram with the handle @sweetascandybath.
If bath bombs don’t relax you, candles from Oko Ivory probably will. Proving that art comes in all forms, their candles often replicate the curves of the female (and at times the male) figure. With a neutral colour scheme and an aesthetically pleasing Instagram feed, Oko Ivory’s wax art does not disappoint. Search @oko_ivory to give them a follow on Instagram.
For those with a more rebellious streak, Tiger Tail is likely the brand for you. The husband-and-wife duo design apparel and prints, but the two aren’t shy when it comes to their art. With prints that say “Antifa” and “Fark That,” your inner rebel will gladly be making a statement. Find Tiger Tail on Instagram at @tigertailshop.
Another great way to support local artists and makers is to shop local. What started as a pop-up shop in an old ice-cream parlor is now one of the best kept secrets in Calgary. Tigerstedt is three businesses rolled into one, each of them separately owned by women with a shared love and support for the arts. The upstairs floor is dedicated to Tigerstedt Market and Strawberry Bizarre, both of which display a variety of works from local makers and artists, including the three mentioned here. In the back hallway, artworks hang from floor to ceiling for the pay-what-you-can gallery. This concept was curated by Alice Lam, the owner of Tigerstedt Market and co-founder of The Good Neighbour, Calgary’s first pay-what-you-can thrift store. The quaint gallery features art of many mediums and sizes and is strictly by donation which the participating artists split between them. Finally, located in the basement is Prairie Bazaar, a gorgeous vintage retailer. The execution of three businesses in a single space is flawless, but what’s most impressive is the passion these women have for their community and giving back to it.
As the holidays roll around, so do the flea markets. If you’re looking to find a gift for someone else, or for yourself as a treat, you can head to the Crescent Heights Community Centre on Dec. 4. This flea market will be of a smaller scale and will feature the Tigerstedt family, and several other local artists and makers. Closer to winter break, Market Collective will also have a holiday flea market from Dec. 10-12. The market will take place at the BMO centre and will feature live music, art galleries and over 150 vendors. For an entrance fee of only $6 you can check it out. Happy shopping local!