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Tangled Tree summer market coming to Balzac

Purveyors of artisan goods will set up shop at Balzac Community Hall June 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the Tangled Tree Summer Market, giving shoppers the chance to purchase one-of-a-kind handcrafted goods.

“Our market is growing and the handmade movement is booming,” said Kristine Thoreson, owner and director of Tangled Tree Artwork and Events.

The free event will feature 35 vendors from Airdrie, Cochrane, Calgary and the surrounding area selling goods ranging from cheesecakes, chocolates and honey to greeting cards, paintings and photographs. While most vendors have taken part in past Tangled Tree markets, Thoreson said she is excited around one third will be participating for the first time.

“I would say it’s a sign of the popularity of the handmade culture and movement,” she said. “There are many people out there that are talented and skilled, making all kinds of things from cooking oils to sewn items, and they want to get out there and meet people.”

While some handmade food items will be available, Tangled Tree artisan markets cater primarily to visual artists, Thoreson said – unlike farmers’ markets, where art tends not to sell. She added she originally began organizing the markets as a way to promote area artists who may not have access to larger, more expensive Calgary-based markets and galleries.

“The market offers an opportunity for smaller local artists to get their work out multiple times a year at a reasonable rate, so that they can meet other people who are artists and then they can meet people who are interested in buying their work,” she said.

Ramona and Dot, with its selection of handmade children's clothing, will be among the vendors setting up shop for the first time. Owner Sarah Surgeson said she was attracted to the market due to its excellent reputation among artisan vendors, and its exclusive focus on promoting items that can't be found anywhere else.

"I know that the multi-level-marketing market is pretty saturated and you kind of see the same things over and over again," she said. "A lot of the handmade stuff is unique."

In her experience, Surgeson said shoppers have a desire to support small local businesses. Thoreson added the markets offer a way for shoppers to connect with the person behind their purchases while supporting local craftspeople.

“A lot of people really like to meet the artist and talk to them and hear the story behind a work or piece,” she said. “It’s that interaction with the artist that makes them want to take the piece home with them, because they can learn something a little bit more. When you go to a gallery, you don’t get a chance to talk to the person behind the image.”

The upcoming market is Tangled Tree’s fourth of the year, following events in Cochrane, Calgary and Bearspaw. It will also be the final market until the fall – throughout the summer, Thoreson said, many vendors are already committed to various farmers’ markets.

“We don’t try to compete with that,” she said.

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