Oct 13, 2013

Bazaar of the Bizarre: Halloween Edition!

Yesterday was an incredible day.  It took a lot of planning to make it happen, and I have three people to thank for allowing me to go to Toronto for the Bazaar of the Bizarre:  Halloween Edition!  Thank you first to Sherri for taking my shift at work!  Without your agreeing to take my shift on this long weekend I could not have gone, so THANK YOU!  Just as important, thank yous go to Willow's expert babysitters Sylvie, John and Luna.  THANK YOU for taking such good care of my baby all day while we were away! 
  Mom and I took the train at 8:35 to Toronto and, as per usual, we arrived in Toronto a whole hour late for no good reason!  ARGH!  (Luckily, in the end, we didn't miss this lost hour but for the people making a connection onto Montreal they missed their train and were bused to Montreal.  Very unfair.)  Once arriving in Union Station, the subway system wasn't working (at least not the section we needed).  AARRGGHHH!!!  Luckily, the bus shuttle was pretty good and although we had to walk a bit more than planned we were fine.  And then we arrived at the Bazaar! 


WOW!  (The above photo is from their Facebook page.)  We delivered the 3 critters from London's Dollirium to artist Danielle Vendetti and then took a wee break to collect ourselves before diving in!  What can I say!?  This was the best show ever!  It was like an Xmas fair only ALL HALLOWE'EN!!!!  I was so in my glee, and so overwhelmed!!  (Mom was impressed too.)  The art on the floor was of a pretty high level and the creativity!?  Over the top!!!  There were so many story tellers, and their art was so obviously an act of love and desire to put their ideas into a solid form.  Impressive and humbling, I was honoured to see their work. 
  And blessed that I could take some of it home!  Before even arriving Viv by Sara Deck was coming home with us.  I first saw Viv on Shelley Long's blog, missed her at Dollirium and tracked her down to the Bazaar!  Meant to be with me, I should say!  Viv and I have things to talk about... 

Of course I also purchased a copy of Dan Soelberg's book from which Sara got her inspiration.  Dan signed my copy of Oddities of West Berkshire in his incredible script, what a treat!
Isn't that lovely?  I also picked up some of his beautiful bookmarks to give to my like-minded friends to perhaps inspire them to acquire their own copies (Viv and I aren't sharing, hah!)


The most impressive table was one populated by miniature coffins, each containing a very special collection of miniature objects telling a story.  A doctor's plague mask caught my eye and it was a plague coffin!!!  Thrill of thrills, artist Janice VanBeck went over what each item was and its place in telling her little plague tale... wow.  I was in heaven!
(Two coffins and a gorgeous little sack from Ah, the Macabre came home with us.)

Is that not incredible!  And there's a rat, of course (he has fleas).

The "Witchy Ways" coffin also came home with us... I wish I could remember the origins of the tiny porcelain doll figure but my brain was set to bust and I don't recall the story... perhaps Janice will be kind enough to share it with me again!

Update from Janice:  read the comment below about the "Frozen Charlotte" dolls, thank you Janice! 
Sam Ovens offered many lovely pieces of wearable art, like this resin bird skull.  She also had lovely little mouse heads, and I hope to custom order one.
As I said, the creativity on the floor was electric and I can entirely understand wanting to be included in this amazing group of macabre artists.  Enter the Kitten & the Crow, a couple with a story to tell that's only in the beginning stages but wow the art!  Here are the three finished panels from their *soon* to be finished book (soon is relative, I know). 

From their website:
"Some passing days, along this way, come a Kitten and a Crow,
Both bear silent witness to what the heart should never know".

I look forward to seeing their story.

In the end, it was back to Sara Deck's table for one last purchase:  sweet little Gertrude came home with us too.  This wee lass is an albino child that was attacked by a werewolf one night along the railway tracks.  Sweet Gertrude thought her life was difficult as an albino, now she's come to see that things could always be worse... another story that Sara Deck has yet to pull from her imaginings and fix to paper to share with us all!  (Isn't Sara's business card stunning?)  You can read Sara's blog post about the show here.

So many more stories, so little time...
here's a sampling of the other artists that showed their wears, along with a gorgeous leather mask by Eden Bachelder that sadly I did not take home (where to hang it?)

In closing, it was a truly awe-inspiring event and I am so very happy we were able to get there and enjoy it.  We wandered back to Union Station by way of Kensington Market (stopping in at Pancho's Bakery for 5 loaves of Day of the Dead bread, they had some already!) and other treats, finally journeying home on the train (which was on time) with a final treat:  meeting Tammi Beaulieu and getting to catch up a bit on the ride home.  Tired and full to over-flowing with all the things we saw and experienced, we collapsed into bed, dreaming of dark inspirations from the Bazaar of the Bizarre!


  1. I'm so glad you like your coffins!
    The little doll, over 100 years old, is called a Frozen Charlotte. Thousands were buried behind a doll factory in Thuringia, Germany around 1900, perhaps because they were imperfect? They were discovered in the last few decades and the craft world went crazy for them! You'll find them in all kinds of art work around the world. But alas, the supply is beginning to run out and they are getting more expensive and harder to find.
    They are the perfect fit for my little coffins, their new resting place.

  2. It was great to see you guys and you certainly nabbed some wicked treasures! Thank-you for the lovely loaf of Day of the Dead bread!!