Moose Jaw Jeweller Exhibits at Western Canada’s Biggest Craft Market
Moose Jaw’s Jude Radwanski is dedicated to making work that is built to last. Her practice as a jewellery artist revolves around polymer clay and works that she calls “bold and expressive.” Though her travels have taken her many places, she obtained a degree in Interior Design from the University of Manitoba and had a 30-year career before going to George Brown College in Toronto to study her craft of jewellery making. Last November saw Radwanski take her wares on the road–with the support of Creative Saskatchewan’s Market Travel Grant— to Vancouver’s Circle Craft Christmas Market.
It’s a trip that Radwanski says has already paid significant dividends for her and her company, Firefly Art Jewellery.
“With travel assistance we have been able to get in front of new customers in a new province, both in a market setting (Circle Craft Show), a gallery location and a busy tourist shop. Besides meeting and selling to Vancouver shoppers, we met several local artisans and art appreciators.”
The market, which has been happening since 1972, is a chance for exhibitors from across Canada to sell their products as well as network. Circle Craft doesn’t pick small spaces, either. 2022 saw the event hosted at the Vancouver Convention Centre, with more than 270 artisans showcasing their work, all of whom face an application and juried process before they can sell there. Circle Craft was just one of the seven large-scale events Firefly attended in the latter part of the year. Other trips included Winnipeg’s Handmade Market and Edmonton’s Butterdome Craft Sale in addition to meeting up with clients and colleagues in Regina and Moose Jaw.
And showcase Radwanski did, with the trip to British Columbia securing sales not only to patrons of the market but to the BC Craft Council store on Granville Island and a host of other clients. “I became a member of the CCBC last fall and after a viewing with their store manager (the day after Circle Craft) he welcomed my work into their gallery.” It was a positive movement forward for her business that she says came as a direct result of being able to be there in-person.
“An unexpected and productive visit at our Circle Craft booth enabled us to secure the largest wholesale order we’ve had to date. After the show we met again with the buyers at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Trading Post, where thousands of national and international visitors tour the park. We are now represented at their gift shop (the Trading Post) and are delighted to be in the company of accomplished jewellers there.”
It’s not just in the pocketbook where Radwanski has seen growth. Presence at the market has led to an influx of new Instagram followers and has allowed her to raise the business’ profile in the craft market scene. Instagram posts she made while at the market, about everything from the vibe of the space to the items she had on display, generated additional momentum that she hopes can lead to even more business success.
As for where to locate her work when she’s not selling at a market, Firefly Art Jewellery has a webstore with a significant number of offerings that include necklaces, bracelets and earrings. If you happen to be looking to add to your list of vendors then you can make a wholesale order, or you can take a peek at the list of places that currently carry Firefly’s products, which currently includes spots in each of the western provinces.
In heading to Circle Craft last November, using Creative Saskatchewan funds to make the trip possible, it’s clear that Radwanski was embodying her company’s motto “Wearable Art From My Hands to Your Heart.”
By John Loeppky
We’ve already sung the praises of Firefly Fine Art Jewellery’s website, but you can also follow Jude and her team’s journey on Facebook and Instagram.