The funny nutcracker, the giant Christmas tree and the handcrafted figures — Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market has it all. The event took place at the Distillery District. The historic site has been transformed into a festival of art, culture and entertainment. The Christmas Market is a street market that celebrates the wonders of Christmas. We had the pleasure of doing a phone interview with Matthew Rosenblatt. He is the Co-Owner and main organiser of the Distillery District and Market.
“The Distillery District is a historic area of Toronto, which includes the largest collection of Victorian buildings in North America. It used to be the major place to make whiskey, but now has become a line of shops and art galleries.” Rosenblatt said.
One shop we visited was Bergo Designs. It looked like a normal store from the outside, but inside it contained some of the most bizarre yet funny items. They are not just crafts; they can be used in daily life, such as the gun-shaped lighter and the cat-shaped bowl. Among them was a nutcracker shaped like a tall metal pole, accompanied with a metal ball with which you can smash the nut. There were many surprises at every corner of the store. One thing that stood out was the “reluctant bride” craft, which was a wedding topper of a groom dragging the bride. Taking photos in the store was prohibited because the designers were afraid their ideas would be stolen.
Shortly after we arrived at the Market, we found ourselves in front of a large, rather grand-looking porcelain store, with lots of pottery and porcelain in the glass stands outside the store. The porcelain items on display were beautifully coloured cups, bowls, teapots, vases and detailed plates. We decided to look inside,
for the richly decorated items on display impressed us. We had a chance to have a private interview with the store owner, Susan Card.
We learned that Susan Card made all the items in the store herself. “Most of my work is “thrown” on a potter’s wheel,” Card said, “Anything that is round, pretty much you can guarantee it was made on a potter’s wheel.”
Card also said that it was impossible to make square items, like a square plate, using a potter’s wheel, because those are made differently on a slab roller. A slab roller looked like a “big, mechanical rolling
pin,” on Card’s opinion. “It’s just like rolling out pastries,” Card explained.
Card told us that once the clay was at the desired shape, she had to let it dry for about a week. It is then put into a ‘kiln’, which acted like an oven, and the kiln was heated to about a thousand degrees, the clay was fired. “Once the clay came out of the kiln, it would be very white and very porous,” Card said. When the clay was
only half-fired, it was called ‘bisc’. The reason she stopped when the clay was half-fired was because the stage drove leftover water from the clay. After that stage, the clay would be dipped in a sort of coloured liquid
called a ‘glaze’, and was fired again at the heat of two thousand degrees. If Card wanted the clay to be more decorated, she would apply coloured pieces of clay on her pottery and then fire it together.
Aside from all the interesting stores, there was a massive Christmas tree with 18,000 lights at the centre of the fair ground. There were many happy faces, and children were thrilled to meet Santa Claus. “It makes me happy to see people enjoying themselves, whether it’s shopping or just having fun,” Rosenblatt said.