The Finders Keepers Markets: Week 217

Finders Keepers Market Autumn/Winter 2015: Sydney, Australia

The Finders Keepers is a super hip craft fair that takes places twice a year inside the Australian Technology Park in Sydney. It is pretty much Etsy in flesh and bones and it draws quite a large crowd. The hall was originally a locomotive workshop, so it definitely lends a shabby chic atmosphere to the markets.

Barret and I paid a small donation to enter the event center and we were immediately swept away by the crowd. There was everything from clothing to candles in the shape of doll heads that, when burned, exposed a waxy pink brain.

The Finders Keepers Market- You Me & Bones Candles: Sydney, Australia

My guilty pleasure at craft fairs is quality ceramics and the best products I found were at a small booth called Skimming Stones. The artist who designed the collection of six plates worked in collaboration with a Japanese ceramic company named Kihara.

Skimming Stones plates at The Finders Keepers markets: Sydney, Australia

The result was an interesting fusion of Australiana with the traditional blue and white colors of Arita pottery. Barret and I couldn’t resist a plate with the kookaburra. They are very cheeky birds that sound like monkeys and one once stole the food right out of Barret’s mouth.

The Finders Keepers Markets - Fluffe Cotton Candy: Sydney, Australia

The queues for the food trucks were very long, so I made the sensible decision to buy a piña colada flavored cotton candy with a pink umbrella. Later on, while Barret was distracted, I made another sensible decision to buy a ceramic necklace in the shape of a giant piece of macaroni.

Flower vendor at The Finders Keepers market: Sydney, Australia

There was so much to see that it took us just under two hours to visit only half of the booths. I was also trying to photograph all of the cute stuff I saw, but it wasn’t easy with the crowds.

Bowtie vendor at The Finders Keepers market: Sydney, Australia

Towards the exit, and a few stalls down from a Polaroid booth, Barret and I found screen printed tea towels. At this point we were running low on cash, but we scraped up enough for two. One had Sydney scenes and the other had sketches of terrace homes. I had a sinking suspicion that our luggage was going to be overweight, but it was definitely worth it.

Vendor business cards at The Finders Keepers markets: Sydney, Australia

About: The Finders Keepers

About: You, Me & Bones candles

About: Skimming Stones plates

About: Fluffe cotton candy

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Rozelle Markets: Week 215

Vintage picnic photo from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

I’m not the kind of person that glances over a rack of clothes and makes a quick decision. I’m the person that will go through the rack, one piece at a time, and rub each item’s material between my fingers. This is especially true for thrift stores.

Kitchenware demands to be picked up, flipped upside down, and inspected. Books require at least the first three pages to be read. Knickknacks need to be walked past, circled back around, and then contemplated for another minute. I can’t help myself; this is just the way I like to shop.

Vintage Avor Stone Ginger Beer bottle from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

Because I was due to leave Australia within the next few weeks, I decided one of the last things I had to do was visit the Rozelle Markets. It is the best place in Sydney to find antiques. The booths are full of old bottles, coins, plates, ashtrays, vases, lamps, toys, clothes, and bric-a-brac.1947 Australia Penny from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

My visit to the Rozelle Markets also coincided with ANZAC Day, which is a holiday that celebrates Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in war and is especially associated with WWI. Because it is such a patriotic holiday, it seemed like a good day to pick up all things Australiana.

Vintage Australian stamps from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

Unfortunately for my friend Emma, who had accompanied me on this trip, she was unfamiliar with my method of shopping.

My morning began within the worn pages of a stamp album. While the grumpy vendor slowly plucked out my favorite stamps one at a time, Emma had already looked through half of the stalls.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Shortly afterwards, I picked up a book from a famous Australian author- The Narrow Road to the Deep North. It had been on my book list for a while. After that I poked around overpriced teacups and then dug through cheap silverware.Vinatge Towradgi Park Bowling Club pin from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

Two hours later, Emma found me browsing through bowling club pins. She’d already been around the market three times and had had a long conversation with her twin brother on the phone. “You’ve spent more time there today than when you lived in Rozelle,” he told her. Emma took this to mean that a lunch break was in order. We left the markets to find sushi and cider.

Vintage Halekulani Bowling Club pin from Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

After lunch I convinced Emma to go back to the markets for a little bit longer. “I just want a quick look through the rest of the booths that I’d missed.” As soon as Emma was out of sight, I found a big pile of vintage photos and went through them one at a time.

Vintage soldier photo from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

I wasn’t as sneaky as I thought I was though, Emma had seen me pick up the stack. Eventually I noticed Emma’s presence corralling me along. Aside from a quick stop at a bucket of vintage tea towels, I was artfully maneuvered towards the exit.

“You know, there’s usually more stalls than this,” Emma mused as we left the markets. I don’t believe I am wrong in thinking that was said with a sigh of relief.

Part of a vintage Lightning Ridge tea towel from the Rozelle Markets: Sydney, Australia

How to get to the Rozelle Markets: 663 Darling Street, Rozelle 2039

Glebe Markets – Week 127

Two vendors at the Glebe Markets: Sydney, Australia

If Paddington is for the stylish and Eveleigh is for the gourmand, then Glebe Markets is for the Bohemians. Every Saturday, like clockwork, the vagabond jugglers and hair stylists convene to spin their wares and weave feathers into their customer’s hair. On the other hand, the Glebe Markets attract more than just the dreadlocked.

Under the shade of the Eucalyptus trees, entrepreneurial bakers enticed shoppers with rosewater cupcakes and cocoa bridgadeiros (Brazilian bonbons made with butter and condensed milk). Alongside the professional vendors, college students set up metal clothing racks in the brightest patches of lawn and offered their best second-hand clothing. The prices always lowered as the day wore on and the merchants wilted in the afternoon sun.

Sydney Designer Daniel Cozens and his cockatiel at the Glebe Markets

Glebe Markets is also where artisans like Daniel Cozens of Mountainboat Design sell repurposed gifts. If his beard-snuggling cockatiel hadn’t caught my eye, I might not have noticed his quirky potted plants- each manicured succulent rested right inside a stack of books. Words still out on whether cockatiels are effective salesmen, but they definitely draw a crowd. I just hope Daniel never walks into the Manly Beach guy with the cat on his shoulder.

Although I have been to the markets before, this was the first time I was on a photography mission with my friend Shweta. Usually I’m more timid when taking a stranger’s photo, but having a photo buddy and a goal really helps. In fact, after a few shots I realized that most people will either ignore you or gladly pose for a photo. Well, everyone except for the fortune-teller, but how was I to know that? I’m not the psychic.

Sydney designer David Attewell at the Glebe Markets

Shweta and I had a tentative shoot list and a time limit for the Glebe Markets, but I was able to sneak in just enough time to buy Barret a shirt from local designer David Attewell. His organic and hand-painted shirts were minimalistic in a very thoughtful and conscious way. I bought a black shirt with a brown dandelion-head pattern and snapped a picture just before our thirty minutes was up.  I was looking forward to our post-shoot review- not only is Shweta a motivated and talented photographer, but she also makes the most delicious cup of Chai. Lucky me!

How to get to the Glebe Markets: 40 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe NSW 2037

About: Mountain Boat Designs

About: David Attewell

About Shweta Pai Photography

Paddington Markets: Week 100

Polaroid of Paddington Market: Sydney, Australia

The afternoon was measured in sips of iced coffee and conversation. In between forkfuls of strawberry crème sponge roll we chased the wandering shade with our picnic blanket.

We were at the Paddington Markets, the most popular and longest running markets in Sydney. The beautiful clear summer skies and close proximity to a stone-hewn church meant the setting was ripe for an Agatha Raisin mystery in the British Cotswolds. I’m pretty sure every good British fete is in the vicinity of an old stone church and every good amateur sleuth must attend said fete at some point.

The sun began to gently filter across my shoulders; time to shift our blanket again. Across the way a magician drew a small crowd around his booth.

While the bread and butter of craft stalls were represented (i.e. handmade soaps, candles and bad landscape paintings), there was also a significant presence of young and edgy designers showcasing jewelry, accessories, men’s and women’s clothing.

“This shirt has a different colored back because I didn’t have enough fabric.”

That’s not something I often hear when shopping. The clothing in question was made in Sydney by a young designer named Ly Yin. Her label evyie was fashion-forward in a minimalistic, feminine regard. While I never need an excuse to support local artisans, I really did need a new shirt for work. After trying a gamut of Australian sizes, I chose a sheer floral top- the same one Yin was wearing.

Polaroid of the Paddington Resevoir Gardens, Sydney Australia

Walking back from the markets we passed the Paddington Reservoir Gardens. Once a vital part of water supply in the 1800s, the original structure has been salvaged and thoughtfully incorporated into a modern, sustainable garden.

I know it’s not the Cotswold, but if M.C. Beaton ever wrote about Australia she could easily use Paddington as a background. Not only is there an old church, but the cool shallow waters of the Reservoir Gardens would be a good place to find a corpse. How twee.

How to get to the Paddington Markets: 395 Oxford St,  Paddington NSW 2021

How to get to the Paddington Reservoir Gardens: 251-255 Oxford Street, Paddington NSW 2021

Glebe: Week 92

Polaroif of the summer skies in the Sydney neighborhood of Glebe

I glanced up to see our Japanese roommate.

“Hello, are you staying home today?”

Because of a fortuitous twist in the staircase and because we were the sole occupants of the upstairs unit, Barret and I were used to privacy. It was completely unexpected to hear someone thump thump thumping up our stairs; she was lucky she only caught me in pajamas and a freshly washed face.

“Uh… yeah.” I wasn’t sure where her question was going. I also couldn’t remember her name, I hardly ever saw her.

“Ok. It’s just that I have been really itchy you know and I am going to bug bomb my room. So, you should leave in an hour.”

As if to authenticate her claim, her fingers grazed the maroon bumps on her forearms before settling down to scratch them.  She asked if I was itchy.

I did suddenly feel itchy but I said no as if saying it forcefully enough would save me from the same ravaged ankles and forearms. I definitely didn’t want whatever she had to migrate upstairs.

“No problem, we can leave the house for a few hours.”

“Ok.” Our roommate was already hurrying downstairs to warn others.

Turns out, the bug bomb dropped at an auspicious time. As soon we stepped outside we were greeted by a beautiful sunny day, literally. There was a smiley face in the sky.

We walked down Glebe Point Road, the heart of Glebe, and stopped in at Wedge Espresso for brunch. It was a narrow café, wide enough for three people to theoretically sit next to each other. Since Barret and I sat along the counter overlooking the sidewalk, our waiter walked outside the café to deliver our salad and toast & eggs.

He was a friendly young Aussie who wore both overalls and two dark hickies with stylish aplomb. He was interested in our Polaroid camera, so we showed him the photo we had just taken of the sky. When we paid our bill, he shook our hands and invited us back like old friends.

We had only been gone about an hour, so we spent the rest of the afternoon looking for a Secret Santa present. The only thing I knew about my coworker was that she didn’t like chocolate or anything else I covertly mentioned at work. After scouring the local book and vintage stores we ended up at the Broadway Shopping Centre, the mall at the end of the road.

Barret liked a ring-shaped ice cube tray, I thought it was too risky- she could have just broken up. Barret liked the gift set from Target, I thought it looked too cheap. He also liked the Jamie Oliver recipe box, but I was like who even uses recipe cards anymore? Then Barret chose a heart-shaped box made from rolled newspaper, which I vetoed. My Secret Santa didn’t have any soft spots (btw I found out later her favorite food is meat, I think that proves my point).

I was beginning to suspect that Barret liked anything that would get us out of the mall faster.

Just before the Christmas crowds in Trade Aid engulfed us, I decided on a set of organic tea. By that time we had been gone for several hours and we figured our home was ventilated enough. Barret, of course, liked that idea.

How to get to Glebe: bus 431 or 433 from George St, downtown Sydney

About: Glebe’s history

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