Good day artists!
Please don’t hate us, but we are having a ball! The last weeks were really busy, yet we have been to many places and seen things that we have never seen before. We went to wedding fair in Hereford (review is coming up shortly), travelled to see rare porcelain museum in Worcester and been hanging with the best artists in The Mediterranean. Yes, you heard that right. Malta might be a small island but it has a great and vibrant artistic community. To be perfectly honest – the island is a great place to live if you are an artist. Beautiful views, sunny weather, houses of character can be easily turned into ateliers, cats living in flocks in any neighbourhood (artists like cats, you should know it!), slower pace and great minds to discuss your art with. We don’t have to mention the tourists invading Malta each year from early April to late January. They are always looking for souvenirs and hand made items. Setting a small stand in your front garden near a busy shopping street is the way to go. You just sit under the umbrella with a drink in your hand and watch them line to buy something from you! Trust us, sometimes it is just that easy! * (after purchasing a special trading license that is. You know death and taxes 😛 – Mal)
Despite working on their own most of the times, the artists are sociable creatures and they enjoy getting together for a tea and gossip exchange. Crafts markets are the perfect opportunity to meet others, sell something and have fun. So far on our blog, we have written about English heritage fairs that are incredibly popular in the United Kingdom. This time, we visited the Maltase artisan market to decide who does it better – The UK or the Maltese locals. Please take a look at the chosen artists and make your own mind. We already decided the winner – but we ain’t telling a word!
The Artisan Spring Market has taken place in Valetta on Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th April 2013 in one of the most beautiful, 5-star hotels on the island – The Phoenicia Hotel in Floriana. For a whole weekend, between 10:00 am and 18:00 pm, the incredibly posh Phoenicia Ballroom was turned into a special spring market filled with live music, exhibition halls and food stands. We were mighty impressed, the English markets are usually organized in the open fair, on main squares or on large green spaces near city centres. Maltase have a different approach – they have rich history, unique architecture and a taste for splendour. Visiting a market like this will leave a lasting impression. Elegant 1930’s interiors, professional attitude and jazz standards would turn every visitor into the firm believer in Maltese genius. The Hotel has been used by Queen Elizabeth II during her official visit to Malta, so if it’s good enough for her, it is good enough for us!
You can visit the hotel’s official website here: http://www.phoeniciamalta.com/
Now, before we proceed any further to show you the wonders of the market, we need to say a good word about the organizers. The body responsible for the event is called Malta Artisan Markets. The organization has just been launched in 2011. Despite being the new kids in the business district, Malta Artisan Markets are part of The Definitive(ly) Good Guide Co, the publisher of The Definitive(ly) Good Guide to Restaurants in Malta & Gozo and The Malta Baby and Kids directory. The lady responsible for the smooth operating of things is Charlotte Stafrace, and she holds the position of market’s manager. Charlotte and her team (Denise, Kristina and Andrea) did a splendid job of keeping everybody happy and everything right on schedule. Another market is booked for the beginning of June, so hurry up!
If you have any enquires or you’d like to join them, please contact them at:
Malta Artisan Markets
Address: 34 Bishop Palace Street, Vittoriosa, Malta
Telephone: (00356) 2180 2383
All right! Now, after the introduction is done and the pleasantries are said, we can move to the best part of the blog: stalls reviews! Mal and Rita have chosen the Magnificent 7, in our humble opinion, the most talented and outstanding craftsmen/craftswomen we have met during the weekend! Of course, every stall was wonderful and each artist deserve an honorary mention, but sadly we are not able to write about everybody. Without any further delay, let us introduce you to Magnificent number 1!
Diamonds might be the girls’ best friends but a true lady would never say no to Swarovski’s crystals. Jewellery maker, Miriam Cassar loves working with the crystals and the results are breath taking. Miriam is the owner of Decorizeme, a small company specializing in designing and making bracelets, necklaces, earrings, pendants and other items using Swarovski’s elements (crystal beads, peals and geometrically cut stones). Each piece is one of a kind as Miriam doesn’t like making the same items twice. If you decide to buy something from her, you have the confidence you are supplying the special person in your life with an uncommon gift. We have spoken to Miriam about the way she makes her small masterpieces and about the newest trends in domestic design. Mrs Cassar is also an experienced interior designer and her Shabby chic style of decorating houses should be introduced in the UK. All those overpriced “country living” specialists, could learn a thing or two from her! Her line include scented candles, hanging hearts, hanging hearts with T lights, plaques, painted frames and Christmas decorations.
Please visit Miriam’s blog for the newest information about her products. We have been informed that she is opening a virtual store for international clients shortly.
Company: Hilda & Anna Quilting & Patchwork and Design Matters Ltd (also known as Christmas All YR)
Owner: Hilda and Anna
Contact: (00356) 7952 3792 or (00356) 9949 8037
Website: not known
Do you know that everything happens for a reason? It is hard to believe but even the most unpleasant or stressful situations always lead to a happy end. We would have probably missed the lovely ladies at Hilda & Anna Quilting & Patchwork and Design Matters Ltd, if it wasn’t for an unfortunate confrontation at other stall (we won’t reveal the name). Mal has approached one of the exhibitors to take several pictures for the blog, when the owners angrily started to shoo her away. We were told to leave and not take any pictures. Before the discussion turned really sour (enough to make the babies cry), we have been approached by Hilda and Anna. They had nothing against us taking pictures, they even asked to have copies sent to them. We didn’t just stop to take few snapshots – we bought three pillows with cats for Kat-a-log project! Olympia is at cloud number nine and cannot wait for the parcel to arrive. Both artist are very skilled with needles and can make everything from patchwork rugs, traditional quilts, mascots (you should see the penguins and a giraffe!), pillows and bed covers. Hilda and Anna are well known to Artisan market visitors as they also participated in market in 2011 in Senglea. Please wait for a new issue of Kat-a-log to see pictures of their kitten-friendly crafts!
Company: Create Hope
Contact: (00356) 7925 5387 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: http://www.create-hope.com/home or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Createhope/293354550679584
Create Hope is a Maltese art collective selling hand made crafts and artworks to collect money for charity. Their motto is to bring the smile to those in need. Create Hope has a huge catalogue of items you can purchase: mascots and toys, bracelets, hand made purses and bags (including real leather ones), jewellery, tea light candle cards, magnetic bookmarks, scarves, hats and shoals, Christmas decorations and our favourite – Bubble wrap Advent Calendars! We have taken a closer look at the crafts presented at their stalls and we can only tell you one thing – they are simply beautiful. The makers are using the best materials available on the market to ensure the best quality and long life of the final products. Please remember, by supporting the collective, this year you are donating funds to Fondazzjoni Suret il-Bniedem, a NGO fighting the problem of homelessness on Malta.
To learn more, please visit the organization’s official site: http://www.fsib.org.mt/
Company: Designer bags by Fransina
Contact: (00356) 9966 6184 or by email: email@example.com
The title of Magnificent number 4 belongs to a lady named Fransina. Her stand at the market has been placed between the stalls of Burlesque Candles and Monstri Boo. Francina is an incredibly talented hand bag designer that dedicated her entire life to the passion of creating. At 16, she started studying fashion design and then spend nearly a decade working in the fashion industry. After founding her own business Designer bags by Fransina, the artist has been working hard to establish her position on local and international markets. We have a great feeling about her and we won’t be surprised to see her excellent handbags in exclusive boutiques in London or NYC one day. Fransina makes bags and purses for every occasion (garden parties, wedding receptions, White House Ball and Red Carpet galas), but also special covers for tablets and smartphones. A real fashionista should have at least one bag from Coco Channel, Louis Vuitton and Fransina. Remember about that!
After visiting Fransina’s stand, we didn’t have to look far for another Magnificent artist – Burlesque Candles were located at the neighbouring stall. Joanne Monte-Bello, the project’s originator and the owner (two in one!), is an acquaintance we hope to meet again at Earth Garden festival in Ta’Qali this year! We had a long chat about our Earth Garden experiences, ecological candles and friends from New York who happen to be vegans and animal activists (Hi Val!!) Jo’s products are handmade using exotic fruits, dried flowers and spices mixed with natural essential oils and candle fragrance. Each candle is inspired by Burlesque Dancer and has approximately 50 hours of burning time. Rita’s favourite is the ‘LUSCIOUS LOLA’ – candle that smells of lemongrass & ginger. Especially for the market, Jo has prepared an unique promotion, a free baby Miss L’Amour candle was given to every customer who purchased two other candles. Please keep your eyes open as Joanne is on the roll and will be attending few other markets – she recently book a place at Earth Garden 2013!
We nicknamed the three neighbouring stalls: Designer bags by Fransina, Burlesque Candles and Monstri Boo, the ladies corner. All three companies have been started by a woman and have been exhibiting next to each other. Monstri Boo is our Magnificent number 6 and be aware, the monster toys are so sweet you will fall in love with them at the first sight. The project belongs to immensely talented 19 year old artist Dor Attard. She describes herself as a person with the “hobby of creating stuff”. Indeed, Dor sews, paints, draw, sculpts and “does anything her eyes want to do”. Her’s creations are made from good quality materials and fake fur, have buttons for eyes and are filled with polyester cotton or fabric scraps. We have spoken to Dor for a short while at the market and purchased a cuddlable white plush rabbit for our friend Olga. Now the rabbit will be on her way to Poland!
If you’d like to get a monster like that for yourself, come to Valetta Waterfront on 28th of April as Monstri Boo will be taking part in street market there!
For the newest information about the company, please visits Dor’s official blog at: http://monstriboo.blogspot.co.uk/
Company: Lexy Creations
Owner: Alexia Vasallo
Contact: (00356) 7702 0978 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/LEXY-Creations/296628230356960 or http://lexycreations.webs.com/
You know the saying, save the best for the last? Lexy Creations, our Magnificent artist number 7 was the last stand we visited on Saturday and it quickly became one of our favourites. One look at the beautiful and colourful creations of Alexia Vasallo and we were sold! Financial analyst by day (she holds B.Com HONS in Economics from University of Malta and MSc degree in Finance & Financial Law from University of London), Alexia in her spare time has a second career as a crafts genius. Handmade jewellery, personalised gifts (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine, Carnival, Easter etc.), cards, wedding/engagement invitations, envelopes, kids toys and figurines, home decorations, souvenirs, masks – we are convinced that Alexia can do it all. Her creations are quite popular and she is a frequent guest at other Maltese arts and crafts markets and festivals. The Times of Malta has also wrote article about her – how cool is that! If you’d like to read it, please click here:
We hope you have enjoyed reading the review from our first Maltase crafts fair. The festival was not only limited to arts stands, as the guests could also buy food from local producers and listen to the live band playing. Since art has always been our primary interest, we decided to skip the food stores this time to give our readers a review concentrated on the artists and their creations alone. However, we would commit a huge social blunder, if we didn’t thank the excellent musicians for making the visit to the market a memorable experience. The band was simply called “The Band” and the members come from the School Of Music. Their rendition of Ella Fitzgerald’s classics will be remembered for a long time. Thank you so much gentlemen, we had a real ball!
If you have any additional information about the market, as usual, please send us a message. The contact address is always the same: rdabrowicz at yahoo dot come. We would love to hear from others who attended and to exchange opinions.
Be back soon as we have Helen Stringer, wedding fair and lots of cats coming your way very soon!
For now, have a great weekend!
All the best from Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz xxx
Wow! We would have never imagined, that our blog would become so popular! The response from the artists, organizers and visitors was amazing. Thank all of you so very much!
Please take a look at several comments we have received!
1. Malta Artisan Fairs have posted a link to our blog on their official Facebook page:
2. Crate Hope – an art collective gathering money for many charity projects, were also kind enough to featured our review on their FB profile. Thank you very much Joanne! Your stand was the best!
3. Burlesque Candles – Joanne Monte-Bello not only posted a link to our blog, she actually shared some of the review itself! Please support Joanne’s business, as her candles are simply the best!
4. Decorizeme ‘s owner, Miriam, was really suprised that we featured her in our blog. We are suprised she was suprised! Mrs Cassar is a real jewellery queen, and her designs can turn any girl into a princess. You have our word for it!
5. General public – we are truly thankful for our readers! Thanks for your time and clicks! Our stats show we have fans even in Nepal, Australia, Slovenia, Brazil and The Philippines!
***************UPDATE 2! 2013.04.16****************
It’s very rarely that we would do two updates to the same entry but since our review is quite popular, why not 😉 Actually we wanted to share a photo of our friend in Poland – Olga – who just received her present and she simply loves the mascot. She keeps it next to her bed. She wanted to tell the creator of Monstri Boo that the bun will be taken care of.
Here she is posing on Facebook with the Bunny monster. Ten of her friends just got jealous.
Have a great day and keep on visiting!
Rita and Mal xxxxx