Just one day left! 24 hours and we will be back in lovely Ta’ Qali National Park for a whole weekend of fun. We are so excited, we can barely contain ourselves. Cats are packed, table and chairs prepared, balloons ready to be blown up – a bit of a rest and off we will go. Being a part of Earth Garden is a true privilege. We have said it many times in the past and we will keep on repeating: this is one of the best independent culture festivals on Malta. A must go if you are visiting or living permanently on our beautiful rock!
We have been blogging relentlessly about Earth Garden in the past week. If you want to see our coverage of 2013 edition please click on the links below:
Our newest entry regarding this year’s edition can be found at:
As the previous edition of festival is concerned, what we didn’t cover yet is the 2013 set up of our Cat Shop and the general conditions of the Ethnic Market. And let us tell you – it was something we will be remembering for a long time. Action, great friends and some challenging weather made Earth Garden 2013 truly unique experience.
First of all, a year ago, the festival itself was returning after unscheduled break. Lack of funding prevented Earth Garden from happening in 2012. To this very day, we still can’t understand how anybody would fail to see the importance of supporting local art scene (oh wait, maybe it is one of the reasons why the previous administration is currently sitting on the opposition benches in Malta), and made a decision to cut off the entire artistic community from one of the biggest commercial events in a calendar year.
Yes, you read it correctly – Earth Garden is a commercial entity: you pay to get in, you pay to exhibit. However in today’s economy, even commercial events do need support from the establishment. Sometimes a small contribution can literary make or break an entire festival. This is exactly what went down in 2012. Not enough sponsors came on board and the local community was left out in the cold.
You need to understand local scene in Malta – arts and crafts makers have limited appeal on village festas and only few proper markets are organized on the island. Patches Market is set up four times a year and they are highly selective (they work with whom they like, if the don’t like you – forget about being invited). Malta Artisan Market is another circuit which recently started being organized on a monthly basis – but that’s still not enough if you want to live from your craft. So each and every festival with craft market should be treated like a national treasure – it provides tourists with unique, made in Malta goods and puts some money in the pockets of artists (who tend to earn less than 10 000 EUR a year, that’s below minimum wage if you ask). Yet this simple maths doesn’t seem to stick with the powers that be.
Thankfully, in 2013 the organizers of Earth Garden pulled all possible ropes and secured enough funds for the event to continue. People flocked to the Ta Qali National Garden, even despite horrible weather and we have never seen so many visitors and so many exhibitors. It must have been around 50 stalls out there – something extraordinary to see.
It was fun to set up our Cat Shop. Few days prior to the festival, Rita went to Birkirkara and came back few hours later with a large folding picnic table. She said it was a bargain and it would suit her perfectly for s stand. You can never underestimate the shopping skills one can learn from “Cash in the attic”. We used a big rattan box for additional space and we were pretty much covered. Rita decided to decorate the entire area around the stand with balloons. Have some balloons on hand and kids will appear in no time, all eager to assist you in decorating. We have been huffing and puffing and pumping entire morning and it was fun. In the end, we had one of the most colourful stands as far as eye could see.
While Rita was encouraging both children and adults to draw cats, Mal was stopping random strangers to take their portraits in case they wore something with a cat pattern. We are going to continue doing so this year – our small homage to the Humans of New York project. We will call it Cat Fashion (or Cat People of Earth Garden). Or something along these creative lines.
Being a part of the Ethic market is not only about you and your sells. It’s a place where you come to see your friends, meet new people and have some of the craziest conversation possible. Can you imagine discussing Søren Aabye Kierkegaard philosophy, new fashion trends, ways of mixing non alkoholic drinks and vegan cuisine, all under five minutes? Everything is possible with a cup of a hot chocolate in hand and with a group of crazy artists around you. You will never, ever get bored during Earth Garden, remember that!
Socializing is what Vanadian Avenue does best and we would like to introduce you to some of our favorite partners in crime. We will start with a lady that brought entire fashion world in The Mediterranean to their knees just last week at Malta Fashion show. Ladies and gents, give a standing ovation to Fransina!
1. Handbags by Fransina
We have wrote about Fransina on pour blog nearly a year ago when she was just starting up her business. It was obvious to us that she possesses not only a great talent for designing, but her sewing skills are second to none. As we predicted, Fransina is taking the fashion community by storm now. From her humble stand at Earth Garden to the red carpet catwalks of Malta Fashion Week – this is an amazing progress in just 12 months! Fransina’s handbags have been featured in several fashion shows and her profile was featured in New Designers column in the festival booklet. Fransina works with metal frames, fabrics and leather to create a unique retro vintage style that will seat your heart in an instant. She is a graduate of the prestigious Manzoni Fashion House
Fransina’s official FB: https://www.facebook.com/FransinaHandbagDesigner
Fransina bio at Malta Fashion week: http://fashionweek.com.mt/28-designer-labels-brands-at-malta-fashion-week Fransina at Malta Fashion week Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=876948508999174&set=a.876946972332661.1073741861.207687515925280&type=1&theater
2. Burlesque Candles
Jo Monte-Bello, the owner of Burlesque Candles is an old friend of ours and we have been neighbors at Earth Garden multiple times. She is incredibly funny and intelligent, you can talk with her for hours and still learn a lot of new stuff from her. Jo knows the candle making business inside and out and can give a sound advice on how to use the aromatic candles for relaxing, home decor and well-being purposes. Forget paraffin, petrol-chemicals and some suspicious oils that will make the entire house stink. Jo uses real spices, herbs, flowers and natural oils to create beautiful fragrances. Our favorites? Kitty Kat candle (mango & papaya) and Ivy May (cassis & pomegranate).
Please visit Jo’s business FB page at: https://www.facebook.com/BurlesqueCandles
3. Berivan Serin Art Gallery
Berivan is an Turkish artist living and creating in Sliema. We have discovered her several years ago at a local arts festival where she had a stand with extraordinaire pictures painted on sea stones! Guaranteed, you have never seen anything like that before! Two of her artworks are part of Olympia’s Kat-a-Log cat collections and we are very proud of that fact. Berivan uses acrylics and oil paints in her artwork and exhibits them frequently. She is open for commissions. Her telephone number is 00355 9960 9721.
Last year, violent protests rocked Istanbul, starting with massive demonstrations on May 28th, just two days before Earth Garden opened for visitors. 3.5 million of people took to the streets after being angered by proposed changes to constitution and law. Police answered with guns and water cannons, injuring hundreds and killing 11 protesters. The unrest in her native country was very hard for Berivan as she feared for the safety of her family and friends. Support for local and independent artists is the most important thing in the world today. The money are not only allowing creators to earn their wages but can also help their relatives. We are lucky to live in a free country without war, hunger or radicalism. People in other parts of the globe are dying to be able to vote! Remember, remember – you can change the world with your wallet. Be aware and be smart!
Please visit Berivan’s official facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Berivan-Serin-Art-Gallery/269851559715713
4. Trash Treasures
There is a treasure in your trash and you don’t even know it! Trash treasure is a popular art recycling company operating on Malta (Sliema) and Italy (Rome). Two dedicated artists, Daniela and Giuseppe can create everything out of nothing and sell it with a profit. A bit of skills, a bit of imagination, few random items – and something unique is born! Old plastic bottles are turned into beautiful lamps, scraps are twisted and turned into fashionable earnings, pendants and bracelets that would make Carrie Broadshaw faint with delight. Trash treasures are displaying their creations on Patches Market and Earth Garden, so please visit them if you have a chance!
Now, we are almost done. Almost. The last thing we want to show you are the pictures that Malicia took during our time at the Earth Garden. A bit of a mess, but this is what we like – spontaneity and freedom. Here they come!
Ok, time to rest now and we will see you tomorrow at Earth Garden 2014!
The weather forecast is good, so we won’t need jackets and hot chocolate this time.
We love Maltese Summer!
XXXRita and Mal Dabrowicz