Holiday market supports LGBTQ+ artists and business owners

Pop-up queer market launches in Halifax

Robbie Clayton’s embroidered skull patches with the transgender pride flag may not be traditional holiday decorations, but they fit right in at the Queer Holiday Market.

The market’s interest in queer art was the reason it drew in Clayton, who had been working mostly through online commissions.

“It’s a huge deal for smaller businesses, for queer folks that might be a little intimidated by the whole market scene in Halifax,” said Clayton, who identifies as non-binary.

On Saturday, Clayton sold patches, embroidered hoops and prints featuring skulls and different queer flags.

Robbie Clayton started selling embroidered patches online over a year ago.   Marianne Lassonde

The pop-up market was created to give local LGBTQ+ artists and business owners a place to display and sell their crafts to people who could relate to their art.

“Having this marketed specifically towards queer people is important to the queer community,” said Clayton “It’s like, ‘Oh, there’s a space I can see myself in a lot of the vendors and a lot of the products and stuff.’”

Supporting queer artists in a venue for people with similar interests was a defining factor for attendees like Rachele Manett.

“I am queer, I want to be around queers and it makes me feel good and happy and safe,” said Manett.

Coffin Skate Shop’s market was composed of nine local artists boxed in by tables of colourful products. Customers walked into the niche shop and headed straight to vendors, chatting casually with each other and forming an instant bond.

Vendors Holly Steeves and Sam MacIntyre at the holiday market.   Marianne Lassonde

Stephanie Coffin, an owner of the skate shop and event organizer, said safety and support was the driving point for creating the market.

Coffin said many queer folks have a hard time displaying their artwork in markets due to the high price tag of booths as well as the themes surrounding queer art — what she described as “in your face.”

“In your standard market you are not necessarily attracting the people who are resonating with your queer art,” she said. “So, where we have a group of like-minded people, a group of like-minded artists, and a common theme, we found that people are specifically coming out to not only find that art but also to help support the artist.”

Clayton felt the immediate interest of customers browsing the different booths.

“Having the chance to take part in this market has allowed me the space and time to explore my art and create things that I may otherwise not have,” Clayton said.

Marianne Lassonde

Marianne Lassonde

Marianne is a journalism student at the University of King's College. She calls Sherbrooke, Quebec, home. When she is not reporting, she is either on stage performing or in the audience of a play or film.

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