Wholesale buyers were eyeing and buying products that ranged from glittery to edible during the 13th annual P.E.I. Craft, Art and Giftware Buyers’ Market in Charlottetown Friday.
Sixteen first-time exhibitors are among the approximately 50 Island producers that are pitching their wears in booths packed into the Confederation Centre of the Arts at the two-day wholesale show that ends at 4 p.m. today.
Ayelet Stewart picked up the attention-grabbing nod for best new product with her artistic creation of sterling silver earrings in the shape of seahorses set off with small turquoise stones and tiny corral beads.
Stewart is a thrilled with winning the award for a second time after first enjoying the distinction eight years ago in her inaugural participation in the buyers’ market.
“Oh it’s an enormous compliment because there is very beautiful stuff here,’’ she said. “It’s always fun to be appreciated.’’
Many, over the years, have taken a shine to Stewart’s handcrafted earrings, bracelets and necklaces made from a variety of gemstones and sterling silver.
Ayelet grew up in Israel, where she received a BFA in jewelry at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.
In 1992, she established an independent studio in Tel-Aviv where she designed and created handmade jewelry for four years.
She received a scholarship to complete a Master’s degree in Fine Arts and Jewelry Design in Kanazawa, Japan.
Ayelet started her own jewelry business called Ay Designs in 2005, five years after moving to P.E.I.
She says her work, which is on sale in a gallery attached to her home in Stratford as well as by several retailers in P.E.I. and the Maritimes, is inspired by the beautiful landscape and ocean that surround her.
She uses many techniques to give texture and colour to her pieces, including hammering, dyes, stamps, enameling and etching.
Ayelet says the annual buyers’ market allows her to “make a connection’’ with buyers.
“It’s not really about the numbers (of immediate sales),’’ she said.
“It’s more about being visible.’’
Ayelet says the key to catching the eye of potential buyers is in providing quality product that has variety in both look and price. Her items range from $12 to $150 a piece.
Susana Rutherford, president of the P.E.I. Crafts Council, says visitors to the province like to go home with locally made products.
The exhibits had a diverse range of product from jewelry to soap and from glasswork to woodwork.
“We’re seeing an upswing in some specialty food products,’’ added Rutherford, who is a stain glass artist.
Innovation PEI estimates that the two-day buyers’ market usually results in about $250,000 in sales for the exhibitors.