Bison 101

It's here!  It's finally here!  Royal Bison go time!  Bison 101 gives you all the vital information you need:

Location: 8426 Gateway Blvd (Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre)

Hours: Friday 5-9, Saturday 10-5, Sunday 10-4

Admission: 3 bucks, kids get in for free!

Parking: there's a big lot across the blvd, plus plenty of street parking near the venue

Vendors: 70 of the most amazing vendors you'll find just about anywhere

Payment: vendors accept cash, most accept credit, some accept debit, plus we will have ATMs on site

Food: delicious eats, drinks, and snacks from the fine folks at Culina (plus pretzels from Zwicks)

Fun: always!

Weekend Eats at the Bison from Culina

Welcome back to the Royal Bison, Culina!  We are over the moon over here about the return of their tasty treats.  Yum.  Oh, and you know what else?  They're bringing Zwick's Pretzels!  Double yum!  So, without further ado, here's the weekend menu:

FUGE Fine Meats Italian sausage on a Handy Bakery bun with condiments (marinated onions, sauerkraut, rhubarb chipotle ketchup, mustards)

Creamy chicken wraps with pickled corn salsa and Original Redhead Condiments salsa verde

Zwicks Pretzels (assorted flavours)

Vegan Coconut Curry Lentil Soup (with rice)

Borscht (with sour cream)

Roasted strawberry and white chocolate scones

Plain scones

Popcorn with dill, extra virgin olive oil, nutritional yeast and Maldon sea salt

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Compost Cookies (graham crust, chocolate chips, pretzels, potato chips, coffee)

DandyLion Confections Macarons

Pop, juice, coffee, tea and FREE hot water


Spring 2017 tote bag by Matt Prins

Our Spring 2017 tote bags are by the inimitable artist and writer Matt Prins! He’s got a fascination with online reviews and comment sections, with the often overly negative messages you find there that are tinged with unintended humour.  There's also something about the amount of energy it takes to write and how so many choose to spend that energy in that way. Matt says, “you have to have some conviction to sit down and write reviews and I'll never understand why people bother to do it”. Well, we’re sure glad he bothered to write a review for our tote bag. It's a laugh and a half. 

A limited edition of 100 bags will be available at the fair, and the first 10 people through the door Friday night will get a tote full of loot from Royal Bison vendors! See you Friday!

Olivia Forsyth

New vendor alert! New vendor alert! Welcome to the Royal Bison Olivia Forsyth! We here at Team Bison were over-the-moon about Olivia's work, and we cannot wait to see it next weekend. Here's what Olivia has to say about her work:

I am a self taught feminist artist from Edmonton. I work with whatever materials I can get my hands on, although clay is the most important medium to me. My intention with my art is to encourage a sense of humour and humanity in the viewer. I work meticulously on each sculpture to give them life and character. The sculptures I create embody variousdichotomies which I find fascinating, such as ugly/cute, masculine/feminine, human/object, earthly/alien. The somewhat homely figures appear to be either melting into the earth or growing out of it, existing infinitely in an awkward in-between stage. Each piece is a wholehearted expression of myself and is made with lots of love. 
This is my first year at Royal Bison and I am so excited! In addition to my ceramic sculptures I'll also have hand drawn postcards, paintings, patches, pins, and zines! 

Yes! Yes yes yes! Find Olivia Forsyth May 5-7 at the Royal Bison.  Until then, follow along with her Instagram!

Arturo Denim

We were delighted to host the launch of Arturo Denim last December at the Royal Bison, and we are equally delighted to welcome them back to the Spring 2017 edition of the fair.  With a great new shop on 124th street, Arturo makes (and alters) their jeans right here in Edmonton!  Incredible!  Here's what they have to say about their work:

Arturo Denim Co. believes in transparency. We source our denim from the finest quality mills in Japan and the United States, and we manufacture in Edmonton and Quebec. Western Canada has a proud history of denim manufacturing that we are excited and honoured to continue. Every purchase of jeans comes with free hemming/alterations to ensure you walk way with your perfect fit.

We are so incredibly proud of the gang from Arturo - an Edmonton success story!  You'll find them May 5-7 at the Royal Bison (so soon!).  Until then, be sure to follow along with their Instagram!

Talkin' Bison with Matthew Stepanic of Glass Buffalo

We here at the Royal Bison always love to hear stories of what it's like to be a maker/artist/designer in Edmonton. For the Spring 2017 Bison, guest writer Lindsay Jones brings us in depth interviews with some of our long-term vendors.

Matthew Stepanic is an Edmonton-based writer and editor. He is a graduate from The University of Alberta and has become a vibrant force in the literary community. Glass Buffalo is Matthew’s passion project; the enthusiasm he has for providing emerging writers a space to share their voice manifests in all that he does.

Read on to learn more about why this Royal Bison vendor thinks there is nothing better than the smell of ink and paper filling his car after picking up magazines hot off the press…

What do you do and why do you love it?

MS: I work as an Editor at Glass Buffalo; we publish emerging writers from the U of A. We focus on new voices in fiction, non- fiction, and poetry, and put three issues out per year. It is exciting to be part of the literary community, and to see young writers succeed in their field of work. We nominate our writers for awards, and they are often recipients of these awards, which is really cool. We had seven nominations at the last Alberta Magazine Awards in March; it is amazing to see their success and see where it takes them.

Glass Buffalo is published in Edmonton. What does being an Edmonton-creative mean to you?

MS: One thing that I have found being in Edmonton as a creative is that there is a huge community spirit, especially in the literary community. From the beginning of Glass Buffalo I felt welcomed and supported – there was a lot of space for us to expand and grow. This warm reception made the process a lot easier.

Proudest moment?

MS: People always make fun of me for this, but I love the smell of paper and ink. When my car smells like paper and ink, because it is filled with a bunch of magazines that is a good feeling. In addition to this though, I am proud of some of the literary recognition Glass Buffalo writers and myself have received. It kind of feels like I am tooting my own horn to say so though [laughs]. Back in October of 2015 I won an International Media Award and that was really exciting. When your work and the work of your writers is recognized outside of the community you exist in, it confirms that what you are doing means something and that people are noticing.

Looking into the future – where do you see Glass Buffalo?

MS: That is a good question [laughs]. We have put thirteen issues out now, and have definitely been thinking about what the expansion of Glass Buffalo would look like or mean. It’s interesting, because when something isn’t your full time job, you have to move a little slower. We have been trying to find ways to grow; we know we are always wanting to be about emerging writers, but now we have to decide whether or not that means we begin expanding beyond the U of A. The Chapbooks have been a great way for us to grow – it is a way for us to move into a zone where we expand what we print, and work closer toward the formation of a full fledged publishing house.

Complete this sentence: To me The Royal Bison is __________.

MS: Quirky Community.

It is a place that I love to be a part of. It is a quirky space where we all accept that we are artists in a variety of capacities. I get excited to meet new people and to see familiar friendly faces. The people that attend the market and the people that sell at it are all part of the experience; we build connections and those connections become a vital part of our involvement within the community. Each time we are part of the Bison, we walk away with new readers and new collaborators.

Matthew Stepanic is a writer, editor, and entrepreneur residing in Edmonton, Alberta. Interested in purchasing a copy of Glass Buffalo’s latest issue? Stop by one of their stockists: Audrey’s Bookstore, Tix on the Square, Mandolin Books, and Transcend Coffee House. Looking to submit your writing? Visit the Glass Buffalo submission page for more information. Don’t forget to swing by their Royal Bison booth May 5 – 7, 2017.

Lindsay Jones is one half of Rosa & Lilium Apothecary, and the writer of their excellent #getREAL blog: Q's and A's from phenomenal women who aren't afraid to get realThe Royal Bison is super jazzed to have Lindsay as our guest writer for the Spring 2017 event.

Talkin' Bison with Jessica and Elizabeth of Vera Véro (formerly Nokomis)

We here at the Royal Bison always love to hear stories of what it's like to be a maker/artist/designer in Edmonton. For the Spring 2017 Bison, guest writer Lindsay Jones brings us in depth interviews with some of our long-term vendors.

Elizabeth Hudson and Jessica Kennedy became fast friends while working at Nokomis Clothing (now Vera Véro). Elizabeth ran the studio and designed the house line, while Jessica ran the store operations. Fast-forward a few years later and they were young entrepreneurs running the business all on their own. The Nokomis house line became prominent within their store, was stocked in over ten boutiques across Canada, and they were branching into the States as well. After five years of running the business on their own, Elizabeth and Jessica had to make the difficult decision to close their doors. The economy was tanking, and this was leaving them in a tough spot; they were sad to go, but knew it was the best choice nevertheless. Edmonton has not forgotten these two gals nor has our city lost the love it had for Nokomis, so it is an understatement to say that we are excited to see them back at it!

Read on to learn more about what Jessica and Elizabeth have been up to since their Nokomis days, and why they have decided to revisit their roots…

It has been six years since you closed the doors of Nokomis. What sparked the revival of this collaboration?

JK: This collaboration came about in a few ways. I mean it is something that we have talked about a lot over the years. I currently work for the University of Alberta, and my schedule is a manageable 8am – 4pm, which is a first for me. I have a supportive work and family environment, so this has all contributed to good timing for us.

EH: It is something that I have been wanting to try for awhile, and it just seemed like the timing was finally right. I have been living in Montreal and working on Ursa Minor for a number of years, and I was beginning to feel burnt out. Working in the fashion industry can feel very superficial; my colleagues and peers are not superficial people, but I needed a break from the industry itself. I missed working with a partner, so for me the timing was perfect – it allowed me to change gears.

What was it like to be part of the Edmonton creative community in the early days – how do you feel re-entering that space?

JK: I think when you are in it, you don’t realize you are in it. You are just doing what feels right and what you are passionate about. The community that builds around you as a result is a wonderful side benefit, but I don’t think we were being intentional about building that up at the time. It is exciting to come back to it all though, because we can now see the community we did build around us. They are still huge supporters and that in itself is a success. We became a family and it is going to be great to come back to that.

EH: My mother constantly says to me that we were way ahead of our time. I didn’t feel like it at the time, but looking back I think we were. That is why I am excited about it now and how our line could work into the present world. I think we are re-entering at a time where local brands are being fully embraced.

Looking back, what was your proudest moment?

EH: We often talk about the fact that we maintained a friendship through a financially failing business [laughs]. I am really proud that we are not only friends, but that we are working together again. We always worked together really well – we have different complimentary strengths. Beyond that though, I think just the fact that we ran a business really shaped me. Knowing that I could be in charge of my own destiny helped me forge my path in life.

JK: Oh yikes. It took me awhile to think of this, but while Elizabeth was talking I came up with something [laughs]. I actually think one of the proudest moments for me was a spring campaign we worked on. It was a beautiful collection that Elizabeth had designed and we had women who were near and dear to us taking the photos and modeling the clothes. It was a day that we felt we could own, and the stress was low, which was rare for us to feel at that time.

What can we expect from your clothing line this time around?

EH: We knew we wanted to do a Capsule Collection – a small one-time collection. We are re-launching many of our old Nokomis designs – the ones we really loved. There are some designs that we have done major updates to, others have minor tweaks, and some we have left alone. We have aimed to create a timeless line that does not adhere to only one season.

JK: We are all about Canadian designed and Canadian produced high-quality clothing for the everyday woman. We know she has a life; she is a mom, she is a career woman, and she balances many hats and roles. We created a line that fits within that. It is about the everyday versatile wardrobe.

Looking into the future – where do you see Vera Véro?

JK: We don’t know. The way the current fashion industry works is not suitable for Elizabeth and I to function in. The two collections a year doesn’t work for us – it’s constant production, and it isn’t necessary. We make high quality investment pieces, and there is no need to replace these every six months. Our mantra right now is that “it has to work for us.” So, we are taking it one step at a time.

EH: Yeah. That is definitely a question in our minds. It is a discussion we need to have on this trip when I am back in Edmonton. In my heart, I would love to see this continue forward. If I am going to continue to work in clothing though, it has to be in a way that fits really organically into my life.

Complete this sentence: To me The Royal Bison is __________.

JK: Family.

Royal Bison is our friends; it is our place. It is a space that feels good to be part of. I am excited to be back. I am super nervous too. We want to reconnect with our client, and we know that Royal Bison is the perfect spot to do that in. It is just such a great fit – it is nice to be part of such a supportive community and selling alongside them. We are happy that we are being welcomed back into it all again, after having been absent for as long as we have been. It feels comforting to know that there still is a place for us here.

EH: Community.

If I am ever home when a Royal Bison is on, I am always excited to go. I like knowing that I am going to see so many people that I know and love there. I have been part of Royal Bison in some capacity from the start, as my husband was the founder of the market. So, it is great to come back to it all and be welcomed into the space all over again.

Vera Véro is a sustainable clothing line for the modern woman. Interested in shopping their Capsule Collection? Stop by Poppy Barley for the popup shop April 28– 29, 2017 AND swing by Royal Bison May 5 – 7, 2017. Can’t make it to Edmonton for these events? Fear not, the Capsule Collection will also be available at: Victoire Boutique in Ottawa, ad hoc in Penticton, Arturo in Edmonton, and online.

Lindsay Jones is one half of Rosa & Lilium Apothecary, and the writer of their excellent #getREAL blogThe Royal Bison is super jazzed to have Lindsay as our guest writer for the Spring 2017 event.


Talkin' Bison with Josh Smith of Libertine Fragrance

We here at the Royal Bison always love to hear stories of what it's like to be a maker/artist/designer in Edmonton. For the Spring 2017 Bison, guest writer Lindsay Jones brings us in depth interviews with some of our long-term vendors.

Joshua Smith is the scent wizard behind Edmonton’s small batch unisex perfume house: Libertine Fragrance. As a student of design studying at The University of Alberta, Josh dabbled in a variety of creative mediums; perfume was the one that stuck. He was drawn to the creativity perfumery required, and in awe of the unique storytelling capacity that scent has.

Read on to learn more about why this Royal Bison vendor’s favourite part of perfumery is the invisibility it has in a design world which is typically filled with tangibles…

What do you do and why do you love it?

JS: I make perfume. It kind of started by accident; or at least not with the intent of turning it into a business. I didn’t even own any perfume or cologne of my own when I started experimenting with the medium. I got into it mostly as a way of ignoring other design projects that I was supposed to be doing [laughs]. I enjoyed it and continue to enjoy it because it allows me to have an artistic output in a uniquely invisible way. So much of what you do in design is visible, and tangible, but scent is neither.

Your products are all Edmonton-made. What does being an Edmonton-maker mean to you?

JS: I guess to me it is this juxtaposition between a beautiful and wonderful maker’s community that knows each other and works together, and those who don’t know we exist at all. Edmonton’s creative community needs to continue finding interesting ways to capture the attention of the rest of the population, both in Edmonton and the rest of Canada.

Proudest moment?

JS: I would say working on a project with some of my design-heroes. There is a furniture design company in New York called Material Lust that reached out to me to do a custom scent for them. It was super exciting, because they were a huge inspiration to me while I was in school. I was also lucky enough to have my perfume line reviewed by Luca Turin. He is a scientist based in scent who has written a few perfume review books. He was reviewing some niche perfume lines, and Libertine was one of them; he gave us a really positive review and that was extremely flattering – it made me feel like I must be doing something right [laughs].

We’re looking into the future – where do you see Libertine?

JS: Ideally, I would like to see Libertine become this weird and awesome niche thing that allows me to make perfume all day. The dream would be a studio space in New York.

Complete this sentence: To me The Royal Bison is __________.

JS: Edmonton.

Royal Bison has been one of the only reasons I have been able to continue doing what I do. It is a market that genuinely feels like it exists exclusively to support the makers versus existing to make money off of them. The people that come through the market, the vendors that participate in the market, and the people that organize the market represent the most refreshing and beautiful part of our city. It is the Edmonton that I want to be part of.

Joshua Smith is a multi-talented designer and entrepreneur residing in Edmonton, Alberta. Interested in shopping the Libertine Fragrance line? Head over to the online shop, check out one of Libertine’s many stockists, and be sure to look for Libertine at The Royal Bison May 5 – 7, 2017.

Lindsay Jones is one half of Rosa & Lilium Apothecary, and the writer of their excellent #getREAL blog: Q's and A's from phenomenal women who aren't afraid to get real. The Royal Bison is super jazzed to have Lindsay as our guest writer for the Spring 2017 event.

Emily Chu

One of the best parts about organizing the Royal Bison over the years is being excited about a brand new vendor and, over the years, seeing their work get better and better and better.  Exhibit A: Emily Chu.  By now a veteran of the Bison, it's been a real treat to see her work progress over the years.  (Especially if you like cats!)

Prints, comics, t-shirts, risographs, stickers, stationary, cards.  You name it.  We are particularly fond of her mermaid/cat risograph print, btw.

Find Emily Chu May 5-7 (so soon!) at the Royal Bison.  Until then, follow along with the Instagram!