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Risque Crochet and Other Kinky Crafts

The Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair turns on Torontonians with a kink in their yarn.

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Pinup playing cards by Michelle Smith

With Valentine’s Day coming up, finding the perfect gift and saying the right thing is always a bit of a challenge. But if you were looking to say either “I <3 Spanking" or "I love you"—or maybe both—over the weekend the seventh annual Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair gave Toronto lovers some of their most creative shopping opportunities.

While Friday’s blizzard kept things at the Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair from really being hot and sweaty, the Gladstone Hotel was filled with 22 local vendors and their naughty, raunchy, and openly sexy crafts, and a steady flow of patrons.

Annanda DeSilva is one of the co-owners of Come As You Are, Toronto’s only co-operative sex shop, and chairs the crafts fair. She says that it’s possibly the only type of craft fair of its kind in the world (although a little Googling found an erotic arts show in San Francisco, no surprise) and was born out a realization that many crafty folk were already making textiles, wearable arts, and other items, with a lot of sexiness thrown in.

As one greeting card we found, with a silhouette of a trench-coat-clad woman flashing us, put it: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.”

The overall theme was more tongue-in-cheek erotic than downright pornographic (unless you’re stimulated by 50 Shades of Gray), but the range of items included professional photography, lamps with shades made of out of vintage pin up cards, a lot of sketches of the human figure, and erotic sugar cubes. Yes, erotic sugar cubes.

Miss Nibs' erotic sugar cubes are a mouthful.

Ms Nibbs made her world debut of the erotic sugar cubes, which are the traditional bricks of sugar topped with sugar penises, breasts, and hearts. “I’ve always loved sugar cubes and wanted to decorate them,” Ms Nibbs shared, and when she began she thought that her designs “looked like boobs and dicks.” Ms Nibbs, a rather straight-laced middle aged woman, told us she had been giggling all day (but was rather matter of fact when she told us that she has another side business called Sineptra, which she explained is “penis art” backwards).

The crafts, in all their whimsy and edginess, are fun to poke and prod and give as a gag gift (if you’re into gagging) or a token of love, but what we took home (in addition to some erotic sugar cubes) were the stories of the vendors themselves.

erotic-arts-and-crafts-fair-toronto-cupcakes

Phoenix Black, the brains behind the ceramic dildos and butt plugs that were on offer, said it all started when she made a some ceramic bowls as a wedding gift for a friend, who also happened to love sex as much as she did. A stroke of cheekiness inspired her to make her friend a matching ceramic sex toy to complement the bowls and soon her side-project business of making these was born.

She also was selling “cooch cakes,” vagina-shaped cupcakes, for $6 a pop. If there were a contest, this easily would have won “Thing I Most Want in my Mouth.” They were not only delicious but also truly artistically done—although the small batch took a whopping 15 hours to prepare.

Sex on a Stitch's rainbow array of pasties.

Sex on a Stitch’s rainbow array of pasties.

Susan of Sex on a Stitch originally hopped on YouTube to learn how the art of amigurumi, Japanese crochet, which produces rounded items. Combined with a few drinks and a few comments from friends, Susan soon found herself in the business of crocheting pasties and tassels for burlesque dancers. (“This is not what my grandma taught me,” she laughed.) Walking past her table was like being a kid in a the proverbial candy store, enticed by all of the colours and homespun textures. And just like a toy store, there was something for everyone: “Sometimes sexual things can be intimidating, but you can’t be intimidated by yarn.”

Despite the rather niche market, many vendors said that they love coming out to the Erotic Arts and Crafts Festival, where they are free to express just what’s on their mind. “This is my favourite craft show,” said Emily Cocarell of Crass Stitches, a needlepoint business with raunchy messages stitched in pastel colours. “Normally I would get a stern talking to [at other craft shows], but here I can let it all out.”

And when she does, she will have first pick of all the of tassels on the table behind her.

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