ROYAL BISON

Sam Knopp: Playful & Minimal Ceramics

This is the final instalment of our Winter 2018 Vendor Previews! Thanks for following along - anything above this post is for Spring 2019 or later!

With interests in mid-century design, pop culture, and craftsmanship, Sam Knopp of Sam Knopp Ceramics makes handmade ceramics that are playful, minimal, and richly tactile. Her beautiful pieces will automatically become central points in your decor! Catch Sam at the Bison from December 7 to 9, follow her on Instagram (@samknoppceramics), and read on to discover what inspires her!

Sam Knopp Ceramics 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Sam Knopp Ceramics:
I think it’s ultimately about relationships. Creating meaning and connection with other people but also the material world around us. The process of creating and re-creating is a type of conversation you have at times with yourself but even better when it’s with others.

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
SKC:
It feels like a lot!  But mostly I’ve been reworking and refining my materials and techniques over the last year. I am a classic Libra over here so you will find a mix of bright, loud, plastic, pop and cool, refined, and minimalism.

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
SKC:
A strong focus on material. I don’t have much for illustrative chops and I’m definitely not a production potter but I sure love the clay and glaze. So I’m always finding ways to make that the focus of the pieces I make.

Sam Knopp Ceramics 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
SKC:
I live in the village Irma, about an hour and half east of Edmonton. It has been an amazing place to set up shop over the last two years and its proximity to Edmonton allows me to be part this city’s rich creative community. The Edmonton art scene is full of talent and yet remains humble and welcoming. Edmonton has that strange small town/big city feel which means there are the resources to make stuff happen and excitement for new ideas in a community that truly wants to build each other up. So its pretty great.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
SKC:
This is tough. So, so, many. Trading was actually a problem (a good problem!) for me at last year’s Winter Royal Bison. Two of my favourites from those swaps are a necklace I got from Jared Sykes of Stable State and a set of spoons from Rachel Beyer of Grit and Grain.

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
SKC:
Chocolate Clusters from my mother-in-law (fingers crossed for an extra batch this year with this shout-out). Every year we get a box regardless of where we are and they don’t last more than a couple hours.

Visit Sam Knopp’s website to discover more of the work that she’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: www.samknopp.com

Sam Knopp Ceramics 3

Kalika Bowlby: Fine Modern Tableware

We’re so excited to welcome back BC-based ceramicist, Kalika Bowlby of Kalika Bowlby Pottery! She produces finely, handcrafted tableware made for the modern home. Catch her at the Bison from December 7 to 9, follow them on Instagram (@kalikabowlby) and read on to discover what inspires her to create!

Kalika Bowlby 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Kalika Bowlby: I never tire of seeing an idea become manifest. The process of realizing something that once only existed in my imagination is so exciting!

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
KB:
I’ve got some new two-tone mugs that I’m really excited about!

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
KB:
I like to make things with a focus on timelessness. I hope the objects I make can be enjoyed just as much years from now as they are today.  

Kalika Bowlby 2

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
KB:
A couple ceramic artists I really admire are Giselle Hicks and Mike Helke. Their work feels like some of the most modern in the ceramic world right now. I’m loving it! I’ve also been enjoying the colour and composition play of UK-based painter Anna Mac. It feels so fun and vibrant. 

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
KB:
Pie! I always make a couple of pies and decorate them elaborately for Christmas dinner.

Head to Kalika Bowlby’s website to discover more of the beautiful work they’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: www.kalika.ca 

Kalika Bowlby 3

The Zine Machine!

The ZINE MACHINE Project (formally 780distro) began in 2014 as a snack vending machine that has been re-purposed to distribute small zines. In October 2017, the project changed hands and has evolved beyond the distribution of locally made publications to offering workshops, consultation, and support to community groups and educators who are interested in bringing zines into the classroom. The Zine Machine currently distributes publications from all over the world. Follow the Zine Machine on Instagram (@zinemachine780) and Twitter (@zinemachine780), and head on over to www.zinemachine.ca to find out how to submit your own zine! 

Stop by the Royal Bison from December 7 to 9 to chat with the cool folks at the Zine Machine and also to get your own cool zine!

Zine Machine 1
Zine Machine 2
Zine Machine 3
Zine Machine 4

CMB Print Works: Wildlife & Reclaimed Wood Mosaics

New vendor alert! Caitlin Bodewitz of CMB Print Works is a mixed-media print maker who depicts images of Canadian wildlife and landscapes with the intent to explore human relationship with nature while addressing urban influences, conservation, and endangered species. All of her themes, materials, and processes reflect a conscious effort to be as environmentally mindful as possible. Catch her at the Bison from November 30 to December 2, follow her on Instagram (@cmbprintworks), and read on to discover what inspires her!

CMB Print Works 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
CMB Print Works:
Creating allows for me to have an opportunity to have critical conversations around things that are incredibly important to me in a visually beautiful and inviting way.

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
CMB:
I’m expanding on my series depicting endangered species, including both native flora and fauna, and also creating more pieces with my reclaimed-wood mosaics!

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
CMB:
I think my unconditional integrity imbedded in each individual piece done by hand. Also my mindfulness throughout my process to create these beautiful pieces. My art celebrates our beautiful world, but in addition to the message I also do my best to walk the walk…reducing material waste, using biodegradable tape, water-based inks, and using reclaimed materials.

CMB Print Works 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
CMB:
Its so welcoming, supportive, and inspiring!

RMB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
CMB:
SEED: A Calgary-based sustainable clothing company changing the game one hemp pair of pants at a time! Wicked people, beautiful garments, and an invaluable commitment to changing the textile industry to better the planet! Van Charles Art: Curtis is a Calgary-based artist and great friend, who is inspired by a lot of the same things as I am….Mountains! His contemporary take on the the natural world will be sure to please your eyes and spirit as well!

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
CMB:
I’m from a mountain in northern BC and our (very small) community has the greatest tradition where we have a real-life Santa, Mrs.Claus, and elves visit every house on Christmas Eve! Sometimes they ski, sometimes they do shots, sometimes we get toothbrushes, and we always love the magic and joy of it all!

Visit CMB Print Works’ website to see more of their work that they’ll have at the Royal Bison: www.caitlinbodewitz.com

CMB Printer Works 3

Static Control: Hand-Rendered Collage

Focusing on hand-rendered collages printed in various formats, Static Control is the personal creative outlet for Brandi Strauss. Ranging from audio to visual work, Strauss’ analog approach to collage gives a surreal feel to her imagery. Catch her at the Bison from December 7 to 9, follow her on Instagram (@staticcontrol), and read on to discover what inspires her!

Static Control 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Static Control:
The desire to create beautiful or unique out of the simplest of images.

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
SC:
Shirts and an exploration of rub on transfers, Letraset.

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
SC:
Use of colour and the analog approach of collage.

Static Control 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
SC:
I feel supported and encouraged to try new things.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
SC:
Constantly inspired by my friends, Ashley Hohman, Jes Aurelius, and Barry Elkanick.

Visit Static Control’s website to see more of their work that they’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: staticcontrol.tumblr.com

Static Control 3

My Next Broken Heart: Soft & Sassy Shirts

Match your t-shirt to your mood with the simple, soft, and sassy t-shirts from My Next Broken Heart! Randee Armstrong of the fun brand describes the shirts as, “They’re tees that are easy to wear, incredibly soft, and a good way to express your daily mood.” Find your fit from them at the Bison from December 7 to 9, follow them on Instagram (@mynextbrokenheart), and read on to discover what inspires this t-shirt maker!

My Next Broken Heart 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
My Next Broken Heart:
It’s a good creative outlet aside from photography. I just like to make things I want to use, wear, and hang on my walls.

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
MNBH:
Just a few new tees!

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
MNBH:
I just think it’s really simple and people like simple things (I mean this in the best way possible). It’s nice to have things in your closet that you know you can just throw on, I’ve always been a jeans and t-shirt girl.

My Next Broken Heart 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
MNBH:
I’m in love with Edmonton and the people who live here. I find it is a very loving creative community.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
MNBH:
I love Stitch Witch! And also RySpot, Stranger Design, Karma, Justine Ma…. honestly there are so so so many.

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
MNBH:
My daughter and I started a new one last year, instead of gifts we do an ‘event’... but it has to be something to do with the holidays!

Visit My Next Broken Heart’s website to see more of the products they’ll have at the Royal Bison: www.mynextbrokenheart.com

My Next Broken Heart 3

Friday Sock Co: Mismatched Fun

We’re thrilled to welcome back Calgary designer Adam Thompson of Friday Sock Co. to the Royal Bison! You won’t ever have to worry about finding a matching sock again, as this ethically made sock brand has a purposely mismatched design concept. The super fun patterns and designs of Friday Sock Co. will knock the socks off your feet before you put on a pair of theirs! Catch them at the Bison November 30 to December 2, follow them on Instagram (@FridaySockCo), and read on to discover what inspires their strange socks!

Friday Sock Co 1


Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Friday Sock Co:
The fact that I can create something that pulls a positive emotion out of someone else. Also, I love the relationship of things. Designing purposely mismatched socks allows me to explore the interconnectedness of things. What goes together, but is different… I recently did a design with two whales, but they aren’t just two whales, they are two whales that live in the same area. Or my cat and a box design. This is the part of my job that I absolutely love.

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
FSC:
We’ve released over 50 new designs and also a new spoofed Canadian maple-syrup can that can be re-purposed after opening. We can all our socks in-house to ensure freshness.

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
FSC:
Tough one. I guess I’m doing my own thing and hopefully it shows in my work.

Friday Sock Co 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Calgary creative community?
FSC:
I love being part of the creative community in Calgary and hope to inspire anyone who wants to take an idea and turn it into something. I was recognized this year as one of Avenue Magazine's Top 40 under 40 in Calgary, and a big component of that award is involvement and impact in the city. We give back to the community as much as we can.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
FSC:
Adrianmartinus! Salgado Fenwick! Heather Buchanan!

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
FSC:
My wife is from the UK so we’ve gone to England for the last 5 or 6 years for the holidays. Every Boxing Day the whole town puts on their Welly boots and heads across farmers’ fields to a little pub called the Coach and Horses. There’s a hose outside to rinse off your boots before you go in, and inside the pub it smells like mulled wine, dirt, and a wood-burning fireplace. It takes a half an hour to get your first drink, and only five minutes before you get your next one.

Visit Friday Sock Co’s website to see more of what products they’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: www.fridaysock.co

Friday Sock Co 3

Copper Cherry: Travel Bags Made for Adventure

Looking to add some adventure to your life? Then you’ll want to check out the soft canvas and leather outdoor and travel goods made right here in Alberta by Jessica Nepton-Chayer of Copper Cherry! Not only are these bags beautiful, but they’re also incredibly durable and functional. Catch Jessica at the Bison both weekends, follow her on Instagram (@coppercherry), and read on to discover what inspires her to create!

Coppery Cherry 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Copper Cherry:
Well, I have to make as I’m constantly building and designing in my head. I’ve always been drawn to making and thought it important.

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
CC:
New to my line this year are leather small goods, such as wallets and travel accessories that I released earlier this year. But what I’ve been working on since last year’s holiday markets is a new line of travel luggage duffles and briefcases. I’m stoked.

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers? 
CC:
I feel I approach these bags and goods in a different way, as I try and create with purpose and cohesion. I test them out and make my goods evolve over time. When I create something new, I like to think back on what I already have and design the goods as part of a whole. I think this makes a difference in my products; I design a whole family not just an individual.

Copper Cherry 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
CC:
It’s great to have a place to show and share, as I’m sure some will relate. I make all this by myself and spend all this time in my mind. Also getting support and feedback is really all one needs.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
CC:
Gosh so many! For starters, Molly from Stranger Studio: truly one of the most hardworking, strange & amazing persons in Edmonton. Carson Wronko, Wronko Woods: not at the market but he is just greatness in furniture. Josh from Libertine Fragrance is so nice and knowledgeable.

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
CC:
Love watching holiday movies next to the roaring fireplace, until I fall asleep. 

Visit Copper Cherry’s website to view more of the products they’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: www.coppercherry.com

Copper Cherry 3

Fast & Dirty Collective: Collaborative Art

New vendor alert! We’re excited to welcome Jennifer Rae Forsyth and Kristen Hutchinson of the Fast & Dirty Collective! They’re an Edmonton based rotating collective of artists and curators that creates artworks, exhibitions, and art events for short durations. They focus on collaborative making, unusual environments, and challenging curatorial methods. Catch them at the Bison from December 7-9, follow them on Instagram (@fastanddirtycollective) and Twitter (@fastanddirty), and read on to discover what inspires them!

Fast and Dirty 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Fast & Dirty Collective:
In our recent work, we are especially interested in exploring the processes of collaborative making. Collaboration is often viewed as an idyllic state where people harmoniously achieve a common goal, but collaboration can also be a battle, a struggle between control freaks, a process of slowly coming to terms with one another’s interventions and ideas, and a space for experimentation. Collaborations are common place in the contemporary art world, with artists and scholars coming together from across disciplines to share similar interests and/or support shared causes. But what if there was no specific goal or aim? What if the purpose of collaboration was to explore the act of collaboration and the co-mingling of individual creative processes and struggles? This is how we approach collaboration.

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
FDC:
In the last two years Forsyth and Hutchinson have been collaborating on art and craft projects. The work we are selling is inspired by our most recent body of artwork titled Get Out of My Way. These items include collaborative artworks on wood panels and reversible, mixed media wooden jewelry pendants.  

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?   
FDC:
The collaborative aspect of work and that all our jewelry and artworks are unique and one of a kind. The items we will be selling are handmade, collaborative artworks by two practicing artists, where one artist responds to the other's work on opposite sides of the pendants or beside each other on the panels. We have also created panels where we both collaborated to create a single collage image.

Fast and Dirty 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
FDC:
We love the DIY and collaborative aspects of Edmonton’s creative community. The fast & dirty collective was established by artists for artists and we have promoted Edmonton artists at all stages of career development through events that offer an alternative to traditional gallery formats.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
FDC:
Rebecca Bellmore, Christine Borland, Janine Antoni, Janet Cardiff, Adrian Piper & Shawna Dempsey & Lori Millan

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
FDC:
Kristen hosts an annual Chrismukkah party where she serves homemade latkes, kugel, sugar cookies, and anatomically correct gingerpeople of all genders.

Follow Fast & Dirty Collective on Instagram to see more of the work they’ll be brining to the Royal Bison: @fastanddirtycollective

Fasty and Dirty 3
Fast and Dirty 4

559 Toys: Safe & Educational Toys

We’re excited to welcome back Jennifer Wilde of 559 Toys to the fair with her adorable toys for the young ones in your life! She designs and makes fun, modern (and safe) toys for babies and small children. Her toys that help the brains and bodies of little ones, but also look good enough to keep out when company comes over. Catch her at the Royal Bison from December 7-9, follow them on Instagram (@play559) and Twitter (@play559) to see more of her work, and read on to learn what inspires her!

559 Toys 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
559 Toys:
A compulsion for beauty and order, I think. With the toys, it was just an extension of that: why can't we provide useful and beautiful things to babies, too?

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
5T:
We've some some sweet sales planned for our shows, as well as some new colours on old favourites, like our rattles and sensory blankets.

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
5T:
That we care equally about things looking good, helping the development of kids, and being safe.

559 Toys 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
5T:
It's amazing how at home I feel in a space with other creative makers. It's a feeling of freedom and acceptance that I just don't get at the mall, ha!

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
5T:
Not going to lie, I've been on a personal social media break this year, and it's definitely impacted the amount of exposure I have to other makers. Just glancing around my home, I see lovely things made by LoveMaking Designs, Terre Firma Pottery, and a lot of art by my kids.

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
5T:
We celebrate Christmas Eve with a simple and humble (yet delicious) meal to be able to properly reflect on the season. Usually it takes the form of a charcuterie sort of deal, but we're really intentional about it not introducing more seasonal stress into our home.

Visit 559 Toys’ website to discover more of the products they’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: www.play559.com

559 Toys 3
559 Toys 4

Kelly Ruth: Gorgeous Woven Jewelry

New vendor alert! Working with plant dyes, Kelly Ruth uses a weaving loom to build tiny woven jewelry out of hand-dyed yarns. Having worked as the textile dyer for over a decade at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and ballet companies across Canada, she brings years of experience to her craft to create truly memorable pieces. Catch her at the Bison from December 7-9, follow her on Instagram (@kelly__ruth) to view more of her work and read on to discover what inspires her!

Kelly Ruth 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Kelly Ruth:
I am a multidisciplinary artist working in textiles and new media, primarily in weaving and sound. My artwork spans a practice in performance, installation, and design, incorporating micro-controllers, sensors, and electronics into my woven installations. I never stop creating and innovating. The jewelry line is a way to make something accessible that can be loved and owned by people. This is very different than the more temporal forms of art that I make in my practice. It is a way to connect differently to the communities that I engage with.

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
KR:
The jewelry is a new line for me within the past couple of years. Previously the energy I spent on designing was dedicated to a natural dyed sustainable fibre clothing line. Since I really just want to weave these days, I love having switched to making the woven jewelry line.

Kelly Ruth 2

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
KR:
Working with the natural dyes creates a really gorgeous palette and as far as statement jewelry goes, not many folks are making woven jewelry!

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
KR:
Having moved to Edmonton just over a year ago I felt really welcomed in. The experimental  music community where I spend much of my time (using my loom as a musical instrument) has been wonderful and is really pushing me in new directions in my sound art.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
KR:
I really love any artist who uses craft in fine art in a conceptual way. When an artist can make highly skilled pieces using craft mediums while engaging the viewer in a brilliant conversation with contemporary ideas…that’s where my crush begins.

Visit Kelly Ruth’s website to view more of the work that she’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: www.kellyruth.ca

Kelly Ruth 3

Sylvia Soo Leather: Small-Batch & Bespoke Leather Goods

We're so jazzed to welcome back designer and leatherworker Sylvia Soo! Her leather goods are designed and created in her Edmonton studio in small batches. Her growing and evolving collection focuses on artisan craftsmanship, minimalism, and clean lines. Catch her at the Bison from December 7 to 9, follow her on Instagram (@SylviaSooLeather) to see more of her beautiful and bespoke pieces and read on to learn what inspires her!

Sylvia Soo Leather 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Sylvia Soo Leather:
Creating leather goods is like putting together a really interesting 3D puzzle. There are so many pieces to put together and if all the small parts and solutions come together properly, it feels so good. 

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
SSL:
Customers can enjoy a bespoke experience with a selection of items this season, our Box Bag being one of them. The Box Bag allows for complete customization. It is a unique experience in which clients can choose everything from the colour of the leather to the colour of the suede lining, down to the finish on the bag's five feet. We are offering loads of customization options such as monogramming on most of our leathers, and a variety of (colour through) edge paint options. Gift cards will be available for those who may wish to pass on an extra special gift to someone special. 

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
SSL:
We invest a lot in researching and sourcing quality proven materials (such as our French and German threads, and our Italian edge paints). A lot of thought is put into designing our products, and a lot of time is put into creating them.  Our designs are minimalist in nature, which means every detail must be considered. We believe our designs to be unique, elegant, and timeless.

Sylvia Soo Leather 3

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
SSL:
Edmonton has a unique creative community. I truly love being a part of it. 

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
SSL:
Sam Knopp of Sam Knopp Ceramics: one of her mugs has become a part of my daily morning ritual. Rachel Beyer of Grit and Grain: I am a collector of her adorable wooden utensils. 

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us? 
SSL:
Growing up, we didn't have the opportunity to celebrate the holidays. Now that my siblings and I have all grown up, our favourite holiday tradition is creating a holiday tradition for our families.

Visit Sylvia Soo Leather’s website to view more of what she’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: www.SylviaSooLeather.com

Sylvia Soo Leather 2

The Witchery: Bringing Magick to the North

The Witchery, brainchild of Katie Karpetz, is Edmonton's own little Internet occult shop that brings traditional European witchcraft and Southern-style conjure magick to the North. Back with us again at Royal Bison for for both weekends, The Witchery is run by a practicing witch with a touch of hoodoo influences. Mesmerized by herbs, religious iconography, and the Dead, The Witch is a lover of low magick who believes that everyone’s world can be enhanced by the use of spellwork. Catch her at the Bison both weekends, follow Katie on Instagram (@witcheryway) and Twitter (@thewitcheryca) to see what she’s conjuring, and read on to discover what inspires her work.

The Witchery 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
The Witchery:
It’s in my blood!

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
TW:
Lots of cool ritual candles and some amazing smelling incense!

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
TW:
Well... The fact that I am the only witchcraft store at the Bison... ;)

The Witchery 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?  
TW:
Wonderful! There is are so many amazing creators here! There is always something new to see.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
TW:
Emily Chu forever! I can’t wait to see her new goodies!

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
TW:
Making a coffee table candle yule log and almost setting the house on fire. (Yes, this does happen yearly.)

Visit The Witchery’s website to see more of that they’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: www.thewitchery.ca

The Witchery 3
The Witchery 4

Laura La France: Spontaneous, Prairie Photography

New vendor alert! We’re excited to welcome the awe-inspiring photography of Laura La France to the Bison! She’s consistently kept a disposable 35mm camera on her person since 2016. Her photography is dependent on spontaneity, grounded in Canadian prairie-life, and strives to capture the hidden beauty of what we see every day. Catch her at the Bison from December 7-9, follow her on Instagram (@queenbedhead) and Twitter (@laura_la_france) to see more of her work and read on to discover what inspires her!

Laura La France 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Laura La France:
When it comes to film photography, I’m just in love with the whole process. It takes patience, which is something I don’t often have to practice in other areas of my life, so it’s super rewarding. It takes weeks, even months, to use up my 27 exposures, then I have to wait for the film to develop, and then I have no idea whether anything has turned out the way I hoped. When I finally have the new batch of photos, it’s incredibly exciting to look through them and see how they turned out. I’m also drawn to how photography has made me see the world differently; since buying my first camera, it’s like I see the world through the soft, grainy filter of 35mm. Everything feels more beautiful and meaningful.

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
LLF:
I’m still new to vending, but since doing the Whyte Avenue Art Walk in July, I’ve learned a lot about the differences in what I think will sell and what will actually sell. I’ve whittled my collection down to a handful of my strongest pieces. Super excited to see what people think!

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
LLF:
Film is gaining popularity, but it could still be considered a relatively unique medium for photography. Since my little wind-up camera is easy to keep with me wherever I go, I have the ability to take spur-of-the-moment photographs that could not have been planned. I also use restored vintage frames, which create a unique art piece when paired with the right print. 

Laura La France 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
LLF:
I love being involved in the Edmonton arts community because we’re all working so hard to do what we do. There’s no sense of competition or of getting lost in the shuffle. We help each other; we encourage and buy each other’s work; there’s this sense that we’re all in it together.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
LLF:
Edmonton has so many amazing artists! I’m obsessed with all of you!

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
LLF:
Helping my mother decorate her house on December 1st. She, my sister and I make a pot of chai, prepare a spread of meats and cheeses, put on the Neil Diamond Christmas Album, and open the several large boxes where Mum keeps her extensive collection of decorations. It takes us a whole evening, but the entire house is Christmas-ified by the end of it.

Visit Laura La France’s website to see more of what she’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: bigmimicproductions.com

Laura La France 3
Laura La France 4

Emily Chu: Playful & Clever Prints & Cards

A Bison regular since 2014, Emily Chu likes to create clever and playful illustrations as prints and products. Her products include original paintings, prints, seasonal greeting cards, comics, t-shirts, and enamel pins to name a few. Catch her at the Bison both weekends, follow her on Instagram (@heyemilychu) and Twitter (@heyemilychu) to enjoy more of her work and read on to find out what inspires her!

Emily Chu 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Emily Chu:
I look at art and creativity as just problem solving, and I love challenges and puzzles of all sorts. For me, creating clever and funny images is really enjoyable because I get to figure out how to best communicate a joke, or tell it in a new way. I am also an optimist, so I know that there is always a solution, which makes the brainstorming process even more exciting!

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
EC:
I am hoping to bring a whole new line of products to my markets this season! As for prints, I am hoping to cut down on my current inventory and bring in a new selection of paintings and risograph prints. With the success of my rose gold Mercat pin from the spring market, I am also very excited to launch 5 new enamel pins this holiday. On top of that, I am working on a number of potential new products: tote bags, new t-shirts, new Christmas cards, magnets, stickers, and maybe even some original painted nesting dolls!

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
EC:
I think the tone of my products are quite goofy and strange. Although I keep content lighthearted, I still take the illustration and design side very seriously. The humour is just like a little extra cherry on top. I figure that if my art can make people laugh (but still be nice enough to be hung on a wall), then the whole process from design to selling at markets is much more enjoyable for everyone.

Emily Chu 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
EC:
I love Edmonton, and a lot of that is because of The Royal Bison and the local community of organizers, artists, and arts supporters. I came to Edmonton in 2011, and when I found this unique market in 2014, things finally began to fall into place. I've decided to call Edmonton my home because of its supportive and kind arts community.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
EC:
Ooof, where do I start? I'm still trying to find my own voice, so lately I have been quite inspired by many Asian illustrators such as Doris Liou, Rachel Wada, and Joohee Yoon. I love how they are able to take aesthetics as well as nostalgia from their cultures/childhood, which is something that I aspire to do in my future personal work. I also love the work of American illustrator Carson Ellis and Mexican tattoo artist Luxiano. 

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
EC:
Family-wise, not really. We only mildly celebrate Christmas. But personally, I like to go on a super long walk with my dog on Christmas Day. He also gets a real meal ;)

Visit Emily Chu’s website to check out more of her work that she’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: heyemilychu.com

Emily Chu 3
Emily Chu 4

Stephanie Simpson: Bright, Alberta-Inspired Illustrations

An Edmonton-based illustrator, who’s also an occasional photographer and filmmaker, Stephanie Simpson creates bright, simple illustrations inspired by Alberta. Her work features images that could be imagined in national parks, city landmarks, and local plants and animals. Catch her at the Bison both weekends, follow her on Instagram (@stephanie.illustrates) to see more of her playful and beautiful illos and read on to discover what inspires her art!

Stephanie Simpson 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Stephanie Simpson:
Equal parts habit and curiosity: I’ve been making things long before anyone paid me to do it, and when I see a new medium, I almost always want to give it a try (no guarantee that I’ll do it well, alas, but I try nevertheless!).

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
SS:
I have six new Canadian animal illustrations, a couple of Edmonton maps, and a series of fairly minimalist Canadian landscapes. In an ideal world, I’ll also have a few new national park scenes ready for Bison and maybe some little ceramics too!

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
SS:
My colour choices get a lot of comments from customers (two of my most popular prints are a neon pink and red bison, and a rainbow-coloured illustration of the Muttart Conservatory).

Stephanie Simpson 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community, or whichever community you call home?
SS:
I think it’s a pretty special time to be a part of the Edmonton creative community for a couple of reasons. First up, it’s packed with people who are not only passionate about their work and incredibly skilled at what they do, but are also warm and funny and generous with their time and knowledge. Second, there are so many individuals, businesses, and organizations who are excited about promoting and supporting Edmonton-based makers and artists.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
SS:
I loved following Amy Dixon’s adventures painting her way around Europe and Emily Chu’s on-location sketching around Edmonton. How are these two so productive??

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
SS:
My family and I celebrate Christmas, and we’re all about the quality stocking (where each stocking is topped with a different tropical fruit. Not sure how this became our tradition, but it is!). 

Visit Stephanie Simpson’s website to see more of her work that she’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: www.stephsimpson.ca

Stephanie Simpson 3
Stephanie Simpson 4

Urban Drawer: Fun, Modern Patterns for Your Feet

Run by the talented sister duo of Natalie and Vanessa Frederick, Urban Drawer is an Edmonton-based sock and accessories company with a passion for fine details. They design unique, fun, and modern patterns for men, women, and kids to fit your everyday lifestyle! Catch them at the Bison both weekends, follow them on Instagram (@shopurbandrawer) and Twitter (@shopurbandrawer) to see more of their work and read on to discover what inspires these sisters!

Urban Drawer 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Urban Drawer:
When it comes to designing sock patterns, expressions without words draw me in.

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
UD:
This season we have updated how we've branded our socks. Plus, we are excited to share new designs made with softer materials.

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
UD:
Our mix of colour and geometric feel. Our designs are modern and abstracts of everyday things.

Urban Drawer 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
UD:
We feel privileged to be part of Edmonton's unique and thriving creative community.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
UD:
Really love the products and the whole vibe of the stationary brand, Baron Fig.

RB: Do you have a favorite holiday tradition you can share with us?
UD:
Going outdoor skating on New Year’s Day!

Visit Urban Drawer’s website to discover more of the styles they’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: www.shopurbandrawer.com

Urban Drawer 3

Concrete Cat: Concrete Objets d'Art

A local studio established in 2007, Concrete Cat has been a regular vendor at the Bison since 2011! They’re a team of artists creating sculpture, objects, and architecture. They explore the use of concrete with a focus on colour pattern and form. Catch them at the Bison from November 30 to December 2, follow them on Instagram (@concretecat) and Twitter (@concretecat) to see more of their work and read on to discover what inspires them to create!

Concrete Cat 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Concrete Cat:
Have to.

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
CC:
New colours, patterns, objects, and secrets!

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
CC:
We pioneered a new genre 12 years ago. We're one of the oldest studios producing concrete as objet d'art; our work is sold and recognized globally by our unique surface pattern design alone. We do not rest easy on these laurels and take it upon ourselves to always be innovating. No one else combines art and science the way Concrete Cat does.

Concrete Cat 2

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
CC:
Thankful.

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
CC:
Eiichiro Oda's prolific work has long been a source of both inspiration and hope for our work. Our studio wouldn't have been the same without the sounds of Danish musician Dinner. And last but not least the roots of all our pattern and design work can be traced back to the work of Baudrillard and Joseph Campbell.

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us? 
CC:
Drink nog, eat chocolate, and play Nintendo. 

Visit Concrete Cat’s website to see more of the work they’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: https://concretecat.com/

Concrete Cat 3

Stranger Studio: Funky Ceramics Factory

Molly Bradford of Stranger Studio is back at the Bison with her eclectic mix of ceramic pots, dishes, and sculptures! Not only does her work make great gifts, but you may want to treat yourself to a cool ceramic to make a great conversation starter during your holiday dinner. She describes her business as “a one-woman funky factory for ceramics.” Catch her at the Bison from November 30 to December 2, Follow her on Instagram (@stanger__studio) to see more of her work and read on to discover what inspires her!

Stranger Studio

Royal Bison: What’s new for your line or business this season?
Stranger Studio:
I’ve been experimenting with new shapes in more neutral colours.

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
SS:
I think my work has a sense of humour about it. Like some of these pieces might waltz away and have their own Netflix comedy special if I’m not paying attention.

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
SS:
Very lucky. Last night when I was driving home I saw a bumper sticker that read: “Edmonton: if you don’t like then f*** right off.” It really gave me the feels.

Stranger Studio 2

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
SS:
Right now I’m crushing hard on Julian Watts. He works with wood primarily, but you wouldn’t be able to tell because his pieces are so weird looking and organic. The textures always blow me away.

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
SS:
My favourite thing to do over Christmas holidays is to drink wine while doing a puzzle and watching movie marathons.

Visit Stranger Studio’s website to see more of what they’re bringing to the Royal Bison: https://strangerstudio.ca/

Stranger Studio 3

Strathcona Spirits: Locally Crafted

We’re excited to have Adam Smith, Andrea Shubert, and their incredible, locally crafted spirits back at the Bison! Edmonton’s first distillery, Strathcona Spirits produces small batch, award-winning spirits made using traditional methods and local ingredients in a tiny boomtown building in Old Strathcona. Catch them at the Bison both weekends, follow them on Instagram (@StrathconaSpirits) and read on to discover what inspires them to make top-shelf booze!

Strathcona Spirits 1

Royal Bison: What draws you to making or designing things?
Strathcona Spirits:
Born from the ashes of a live arts space, the passion for the distillery was sourced from a strong interest in the real alchemy of distillation, the collection of essence, local flora, the fascinating world of aging spirits, and our desire for Edmonton to be a part of this history.

RB: What’s new for your line or business this season?
SS:
TBA

RB: What do you think sets your work apart from similar makers or designers?
SS:
We sit surrounded by some of the finest grains available on earth, and you definitely taste this quality in the spirits. We’re also discovering untouched flavours from the Northern Boreal Forests that have never been used in spirit-making before. Needless to say, it’s a pretty exciting time for spirits!

RB: How do you feel about being a part of the Edmonton creative community?
SS: Great. Edmonton’s creative community is definitely thriving, and it’s wonderful to see a small glimpse of this at the Royal Bison each year.

Strathcona Spirits 2

RB: Please gush about a few of your designer, maker, or creative crushes!
SS:
We’re always stoked to see anyone doing interesting, original, and creative work. An example of this would definitely be Gruger Family Fungi. Their hemp-based vertical mushroom farm is innovative, super-interesting, and they’re growing the most stunning (and delicious) mushrooms.  

RB: Do you have a favourite holiday tradition you can share with us?
SS:
Get outside, build a massive winter fire, and sip on a steamy Strathcona Spirits Barrel Aged Gin Hot Toddy.

Visit Strathcona Spirits’ website to learn more about their products and to see what they’ll be bringing to the Royal Bison: www.strathconaspirits.ca