KITCHENER — Charity Neuert and Georgina Ekencrantz stood in their Urban Bead Kin tent in the hot Saturday sun, with their colorful bead jewelry gleaming before them.
The sisters were among approximately 42 vendors who participated in the I Am Kitchener Native Art Market at 44 Gaukel St.
“We love this Kitchener market, it’s amazing and everyone is so friendly,” Neuert said.
Beadwork started as a hobby for Neuert and Ekencrantz’s daughter.
Unaware that she was the designer, Ekencrantz said people started asking “Where did you get your earring?”
Now the three of them make earrings and sell them in markets and at events.
“We like to share our creativity,” said Neuert, who started beading as a form of healing.
Alanah Jewell, a local Indigenous artist, organized the event to make cultural art more accessible to locals. The market featured items such as earrings, paintings, prints and t-shirts.
She didn’t organize during the height of the pandemic, but now Jewell said she wants to hold the market every three or four months in different locations.
Previous events have taken place at the Kitchener Farmer’s Market and the Huron Natural Area.
Jewell’s friend had the initial idea of bringing Indigenous artists together at the now-closed Old Sesame, previously at 220 King St. W. in Kitchener, with very low attendance initially.
“It was my first experience as a seller and my first time selling art in person,” Jewell said, which sparked her interest in hosting a market herself.
“I want something in the city where everyone can go. It’s not exclusive to Indigenous peoples, but everyone can be supportive,” Jewell said.
“I wanted Indigenous sellers to feel like they could belong and sell their work in mainstream spaces. »