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Face time with Whistler artists

Reinvigorated and revamped artisan market returns to Whistler from January to June



Whistler has no shortage of creative masterminds toiling away at their home studios, crafting a vast array of stunning treasures. What Whistler does have a shortage of, however, is places to sell those beautiful wares.

While the summertime Whistler Farmer's Market in the Upper Village is bustling each and every weekend and another organizer has been busy building another wintertime farmers market at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, there really isn't a regular venue where Sea to Sky artisans can sell their wares after Christmas, at least until the Farmer's Market kicks off again in the summer.

Linda Davies is just one of the many local artisans who has struggled to find a place to sell her wares - colourful and luminescent lampwork glass beads and jewellery - when the markets are shut down for the winter.

"So then there's this huge gap until June and there's nothing. Nothing for the artists," Davies reflected. "There's no opportunity for them to work, to sell their craft, to be inspired, to talk to people."

And talking to people, quite frankly, is what Davies is really good at (she was in media sales before she decided to pursue her passion for glass almost nine years ago.)

"I've always been fascinated by colour, the way light goes through glass, the way textures work together: its amazing!" she said, holding up new beads in progress.

"Moving to something like this just clicked! So now I make glass beads, and everyone I see from the media community that comes up here and finds me at the market, 'Linda, what are you doing up here?' 'Oh, I'm making glass beads.'" She paused, laughing.

That sales expertise has really helped with her success as an artistic entrepreneur.

"I love telling people about what I do, and as I said, at the market, people are just lined up wanting to find out how you make the product!" she explained.

"I find that the tourists really want to connect, not only with the 'locals' - I find that a slightly derogatory term - but they really want to connect with people that create, because everybody inside them, it doesn't matter what you do, you've got a creative force in there, and its either actually making something or its enjoying something somebody else made."

To help ensure that she and the rest of Whistler's artists get more face-time with residents and visitors and potential customers, Davies decided to try and revive the Made in Whistler market, which was held from 2006 to 2008, but shut down in the frenzy leading up to the Olympics.

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