Are you wonderfully weird, or do you have an oddball on your holiday shopping list?
A beloved annual holiday shopping event returns to the city with a smorgasbord of eccentric items for people seeking unique gifts in 2020--but this year's experience will offer more opportunities to shop.
Since 2017, the Weirdos Holiday Market has been Vancouver’s annual shopping destination for locals seeking totally unique gifts. However, to provide a safe shopping experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's event will be a pop-up shop, rather than a market.
Typically, Weirdos is a two-day market held over a single weekend in December. This year, the holiday shopping event will take place for over a month as a storefront pop-up at 2308 Broadway (near the corner of Broadway and Vine) called Weirdos Holiday Pop-Up.
The pop-up organizer, Rachel Zottenberg, proprietor of Vancouver’s much-missed oddities boutique, This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven, tells Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone interview that this year's event will function as a retail shop, but that each artist has their own section.
Since the pop-up will run for over a month, Zottenerg says it will give people numerous opportunities to shop. Right now, she says there's room for about three customers in the store at a time, and customers must adhere to physical distancing guidelines when they are inside. They must also wear a mask.
While attendees will find numerous items to choose from over 30 vendors, Zottenberg underscores that the event will not operate the way it has in year's past: "The word market gives people the idea of crowdedness and things all happening at once--we want to emphasize that this is a pop-up."
That said, Weirdos maintains its eclectic charm, with vendors showcasing their odd and artistic prowess in a variety of one-of-a-kind gifts, explains Zottenberg. In fact, lockdown measures have inspired the crafty community to break out their paintbrushes, needles, kilns, and much more.
“The shuttering of community spaces and the loss of small shops all over Vancouver – including my own – created an experience of collective isolation and gave way to a lot of great weird stuff being created,” she says. “Much of what you’ll see this year at Weirdos Holiday Pop-Up is the fruit of that creativity. My callout to local artists summoned more weirdos than any of the previous markets. At home alone, respecting the need to isolate for each other’s safety, people have had the time to explore their craftier, artsier, stranger, sides. What’s been produced is magical, and I feel so lucky to be bringing some of these secret joys to everyone's eyes.”
Zottenberg adds that her own shop, This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven, closed due to COVID-19. For her, the pop-up offers the chance to bring together a community of strange, like-minded artists during a difficult year. She says she'll even arrange a viewing outside of store hours for people who are immunocompromised and don't want to go during business hours--even though the store will adhere to strict safety guidelines.
When asked if pop-up-goers will find a variety of 2020-centric gifts on hand, Zottenberg says, "It's funny when you're working with weirdos, because we all have such dark sides already. So a lot of the stuff that seems to be 2020-themed to other people are things that people have been creating for a long time."
For example, one of the vendors has been crafting "plague doctor" masks for several years, long before the foreboding, crow-like pieces became timely.
And how does Zottenberg define "weird?"
"To me, it's always the stuff that not everybody is going to like. It's the stuff that's a little left of centre, and often it has something that's a little grotesque or abnormal or a little antique or a little strange or a little snarky or a little over-the-top silly," she explains.
"But to be a weirdo is just to have those feelings in your heart while you create. To be an artist in itself is to be a weirdo."
In addition to items that Zottenberg has personally sourced – including mounted insects, smudge kits, crystal balls, wands, incense, posters, cards, and even owl pellets – shoppers can browse unusual finds from the following vendors:
- Bonetique: Yolanda Mason’s delicate and whimsical sculptures, created using salvaged animal bones and found organic matter.
- Brutally beautiful: Photography, sculpture, jewelry and prints by artist Amanda Bullick that ponder the cycles of life, death and rebirth.
- Caitlin Ffrench A pagan artist working in East Vancouver, Cailtin works with wildcrafed pigments, plants and other magic to make into paint, dyes and charms.
- Jessie's potions: Herbal remedies and skincare with a touch of witchcraft, sustainably made by Vancouver-based “queer plant witch” Jessie Robertson
- Kwest Costume Art: Handmade leather masks, including “plague doctor” masks.
- Puppyteeth Local queer artist Jaik Puppyteeth’s dark humour informs the illustrations on his awesome prints and cards.
- Ultraviolet oddities: Deconstructed plastic dolls become recycled conversation pieces for your body and home – including wacky planters for a variety of succulents and cacti.
- Mush Appreciated: Beautiful, educational, strange jewelry created from real forest-foraged fungi.
- Inner Wolf Jewelry: Ashya Elizabeth’s First Nations and Turkish heritage influences her life and art. She creates jewelry using materials primarily sourced from the earth, including crystals and naturally shed antlers.
Pop-up attendees will also find several other eclectic offerings from many other vendors at this year's incantation of Weirdos.
The Weirdos Holiday Pop-Up
When: Nov. 19 – Dec. 14: Thursday and Friday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Dec. 14 – 24, open daily Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday: 11 a.m. – 6 pm. and Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: 2308 Broadway (corner of Broadway and Vine)
Full safety protocols will be in place at the Weirdos Holiday Pop-up, including limited in-store occupancy, hand-sanitizer stations, and clearly marked distancing lines. All visitors are asked to wear a mask and to respect physical-distancing guidelines.
Find out more information HERE.