Amy Victoria Wakefield is among a growing number of men and women who have learned how to craft a living by following a passion.
And this weekend the Canmore-based artist will join 25 out-of-towners and 180 locals who will be sharing their unique wares at the Kelowna Christmas Show at Prospera Place.
It’s a busy time of year for Wakefield who, through her photography-based decor and art pieces, is fast becoming a staple in Canada’s increasingly robust pop-up market scene. This year she’ll attend markets in cities between Kelowna and Toronto, and she’s just not alone.
“As you do more shows, you see more familiar faces and you get to know these people—it’s pretty cool,” she said. “There are a lot of us out there.”
Using markets and websites to build a clientele, and eschewing the traditional brick and mortar sales model, has afforded a number of young artists a way to make a living doing what they love. In Wakefield’s case that means climbing mountains, planting a tripod on their peaks and conjuring up ways to bring the art of the natural landscape into her clientele’s homes.
It’s a busy way to make a buck, but she admits she’s lucky.
With a fine arts and design degrees under her belt, Wakefield could have found herself having to give up her creative dreams for something more buttoned down.
“If I had graduated 10 to 15 years ago, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing,” she said.
These days, however, consumers are looking for a more personal shopping experience, and that has led them both to markets and to online portals where artists are building up their brands.
Wakefield has used her Instagram account @picobac as a method to tap into a clientele base who wants and appreciates affordable art. She has a steady following, and that online success has meant repositioning the way she presents her world.
“It’s kind of like you have a personality online, and that raises the question; is it benefitting my business, or my person and ego?” she said. For her, it’s probably all of the above. After all , going to the most westerly point of Norway or even Estonia, as she’s done for photo shoots, doesn’t necessarily make good business sense, unless you and your worldview are your business.
A unique view is what makes the many artisans and crafters at the Kelowna Christmas show stand out from the crowd, which is substantial this year.
Show producer Karalyn Lockhart has confirmed 210 vendors for the second year of the show, which is held at Prospera Place.
“We have taken every square inch of the building,” she said. “Inside of the bowl and the outside walkways where the concessions area is will all have vendors.”
It’s nearly double of what was available last year, but Lockhart pointed out that last year was such a huge success that some of their vendors sold out on the first day.
“Now there’s so much more variety and we have a number of vendors here who have never. sold in Kelowna at all before,” she said. “So there will be things that are brand new for those who attend.”
All that variety can only satisfy those who file into the building on Saturday and Sunday.
“I think that craft and farmers’ markets appeal has grown so much,” she said.
“People appreciate a hand crafted gift.”
Or, in the case of art, she said, they appreciate something that reflects their view of the world. It’s not like going to a big box store and buying a picture of something you’ve never seen with your own eyes by someone you’ve never met.
The show will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and run until 8 p.m. On Sunday, it will begin at 10 a.m. and run until 5 p.m.
Admission is $5 at the door, kids under 12 are free. Partial proceeds from door sales will be donated to the Kelowna Women’s Shelter.