A decade of lovely, local buys.

Emma Macdonald

Lovers of local, it’s on again.

Handmade Market is turning 10 this year, and to celebrate, organisers are adding a fifth market to the 2018 calendar. If you want to get in early for the year, clear your schedule on 17 and 18 March, and take some time to plan your shopping escapades.

For one thing, there will be a record 277 stallholders representing all manner of bespoke goods. Also, a record number of 73 new designers and producers will be selling their wares—ranging from gourmet foods to hand-poured candles, virgin olive oils, wines and spirits, on-trend homewares and fashion.

We highly recommend browsing through the website directory for a more thorough inspection of potential purchases but thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight a few of the fun new makers who will represent in March.

Chunky Dave’s Peanut Butter

Dave takes this condiment to the next level. Handmade in Sydney (OK so not strictly local but close) using peanuts grown in Kingaroy, Queensland, Dave makes each batch one jar at a time.

The peanuts are roasted, salted, and ground to perfection. And there are three types of Peanut Butter—Chunky, Smooth and Chilli. Dave doesn’t use any preservatives or other mysterious ingredients, so it’s gluten free, with no animal products, preservatives, or colours.


Emma Kidd makes hand-painted creatures and small 2D artworks, paintings and monoprints. Some of her creatures are fairly conventional, but a lot are imaginary. They all have their own personality and are numbered. They’re made with heavy card or watercolour paper painted with gouache and given a spray of gloss to make them more durable. They certainly are eye-catching.

The Soapstress

Here is a small-batch soapery that places a big importance on using local ingredients, and ethically and sustainably-produced plant oils that are known for their skin nourishing qualities. Passionate about their ingredients, most of which you will recognise from your kitchen, Soapstress products refrain from SLS, parabens, artificial colours, sulphates and palm oil.


This wheelchair-bound creative knits, throws, ponchos and floor-rugs using superfine merino wool that is hand-dyed, and knitted in those gigantic stitches that are so on-trend right now. As the temperature gauge starts to dip, these gorgeous pieces are going to be in huge demand for cosying up on the sofa.

Rainbow Nourishments

You (along with 125,000 other hungry scrollers) have seen her Instagram, now you can sample some of Anthea Cheng’s colourful raw vegan cakes and delights. From slices to bliss balls and other decadent treats, these gems remain free from dairy, eggs, gluten, refined sugar and soy.

Happy B Whipped Infused Honey

This caught our eye because pink whipped honey in a jar is, well, eye-catching.

Infused with real fruit and spice and hand-bottled, this honey uses some gorgeous flavour combinations and is based on Bluetop ironbark honey which has been harvested in Kempsey. If you can’t see a jar of this on your breakfast table then you just aren’t using your imagination properly.

So much more to discover

Of course, some of the best parts of spending time at Handmade is stumbling over a gem you didn’t know you needed until that point. It’s also a joy to talk to the makers who put so much heart and soul into their creations.

Don’t forget to save enough time, energy, and stomach space to sample plenty from the Handmade Food Hall. From coffee, to inventive new spirits created by the raft of innovative distilleries setting up in the region, there is plenty to sample and sweet and savoury treats aplenty.

See you there!

the essentials

What: Handmade Market March 2017
When: 17 and 18 March. Doors open at 10am and close at 4pm
Where: EPIC Exhibition Park
Entry: Free but donations to charity collectors are encouraged

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Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism - including a Walkley or two - along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials. More about the Author