The Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair is not your grandma’s craft fair. That is, unless your grandma is into queer sexuality.
The annual fair is coming to Toronto for the seventh year in a row, and just in time for Valentine’s Day.
No two years are the same, organizers say. This year, the fair is showcasing 22 vendors, all boasting unique, handmade goods with a sexy flair. Shoppers will find ceramic dildos that can be filled with water and heated, cum-rags printed with faces, and handcrafted metal cockrings, to name a few of the most intriguing items to treat yourself or your sweetie.
Organizers describe the fair as an “incredibly energetic” event.
The team at the cooperatively run sex shop Come As You Are, a shop whose staff is dedicated to stocking its shelves with local and handmade goods all year round, host the event.
Come As You Are staff Sarah Forbes-Roberts (left) and Annanda Desilva.
“There is a movement afoot of people making crafts that are very traditional -- crocheting, knitting -- but taking those very traditional, almost conservative, art forms and giving them a queer, political twist,” says co-owner Sarah Forbes-Roberts.
The Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair is where all these artists come together. It’s the only time during the year you’ll see this type of work put together, and organizers say it’s a great way to meet people and explore sexuality in a positive space.
Shy newcomers don’t have to worry about sticking out like sore thumbs: though the fair started out a little smaller, drawing about 500 people in its first year, now it usually attracts about 3,000 people.
The artisans take a fun approach to sexuality, something that makes it easier for people to open up and talk about their desires, Forbes-Roberts says. “Sex is a scary territory for most of us. Our culture doesn’t allow us to feel comfortable in our desires and bodies, so [this artwork] gives it a humorous spin and makes it a little bit safer,” she says.
The event concludes with a cabaret and afterparty. Though admission to the fair is free, the cabaret costs $5, but that will get you access to a multi-disciplinary live show featuring burlesque, body painting, rope bondage and craft competitions.
“It’s not your usual burlesque show, let’s just say,” Forbes-Roberts says. “It’s a different level of erotic engagement.”
It’s all going down Feb 9 from noon to 8pm at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St W.
Admission to the fair is free. The cabaret begins at 9:30pm and the afterparty starts at 11pm. Get into both for $5.