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'Tis the season

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, December 4, 2008

INUVIK - This past weekend's craft sale was a success and the people who took part agree the new site works better for the event.

The fair, which is organized by the Great Northern Arts Festival Society, is held every year in time to usher in the Christmas season.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Barb Chalmers was at the Great Northern Arts Festival craft fair this past weekend selling homemade fudge. She had samples ready for tasting and a wide variety of flavours to tempt even the most conservative snackers. - Dez Loreen/NNSL photo

This year, the venue was changed to the community hall in the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex from the gym at Sir Alexander Mackenzie School.

GNAF executive director Tony Devlin said the move to the rec complex was made because the fair needed more space.

The event ran from Friday night until Sunday afternoon.

Shona Barbour is a veteran of the craft fair. She said the new location in the complex is a better choice for the event.

"I like it in the rec centre and I think there is more room," she said.

"I think people have enjoyed it and it seems more open. I hope they keep it here."

Barbour was selling Christmas greeting cards she had decorated with a stitched panel on the front.

Traditionally a master of quilting and sewing, Barbour said the cards were a festive and creative way to use the smaller pieces of fabric she had left from other projects.

"I work with a lady in Yellowknife to make the cards," she said.

"She's actually at a craft fair in Yellowknife this weekend."

Last year, when Barbour debuted the cards at the fair, they sold out on the first night.

"This year, I came prepared and brought three times as much as last time," she said.

Barbour said she makes cards all year round. In the summer, she makes cards with Northern images on them.

Barb Chalmers makes fudge in many different flavours and has been a part of the craft fair for seven years. She prepares for the event by making batches of fudge the week of the fair.

Chalmers said she buys most of her ingredients locally for her creations, but buys sugar in the south due to costs.

"I've brought in 10-kilogram bags of sugar, just because you can get it for half price in the south," she said.

When asked how she makes her fudge, Chalmers declined to reveal her technique.

"It's a secret," she said with a smile.

Chalmers said she started making fudge because it was what her mother did when she was younger.

"She would make chocolate and vanilla," she said.

At the craft fair, Chalmers' table was decked out with many different flavours from the staple maple to more exotic kinds such as chocolate spice.

She said the maple walnut is always gone on the first night of the sale.

"I think it's because those people know what they want and get it right away," she said.

Chalmers said she also makes fudge during the summer and sells it during the Saturday sales at the community greenhouse.

Curtis Taylor of Tuktoyaktuk was on hand at the fair selling carvings.

Taylor, who is new to the craft fair circuit, said the event was a good way to meet people and introduce himself to the arts community in Inuvik.

"This is my first time travelling here with my carvings," he said.

"I've never been to the arts festival before and I'm hoping to be involved this upcoming year."

Taylor said he learned to carve from his father, who spends his time carving as well.