Kinky Crafting
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Kinky Crafting

Creativity on display at the sixth annual Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair.

Crochet pasties from Sex on a Stitch.

It’s rare to see bondage gear and knitting yarn in the same place, displayed side by side. But such was the layout on Saturday at the sixth annual Erotic Arts and Crafts Fair, where vendors created their very own niche market by mixing crafts with kink.

Sponsored by Come As You Are, The Gladstone Hotel, and—oddly enough—Yelp, the day-long event featured a group of 15 or so crocheters, illustrators, and other DIY experts who presented their wares on a series of tables in the Gladstone Ballroom.

Up for grabs was the usual sex-show fare: chocolate-covered strawberries, penis cookies, and vintage erotic prints, along with craftier items like crochet pasties and XXX “adult” colouring books. While nude illustrations and erotic greeting cards comprised the majority of the items, there were a few more mystifying objects, such as breast-shaped pottery that bore an uncanny resemblance to a pair of fried eggs. When asked about the inspiration behind her work, the artist replied, simply, “Boobs are great!”

Fair enough.

“This is our subversive Valentine’s Day event,” said organizer Ananda DeSilva, an owner of Come As You Are. “People find a little shock value and amusement in the idea of exploring their sexuality through crafts, which are traditionally seen as adorable and innocent.”

The atmosphere was more cheeky than sexy, and the event felt closer to a regular craft fair than a sex show (plus the DJ blasting K’naan wasn’t really adding to the mood). But the vibe fit the clientele, who appeared to be more interested in the knitted “hickey hiders” than the few dildos lying around.

“Some of my clients are burlesque dancers, but it’s mostly people interested in knitting and crafting,” said the owner of Sex on a Stitch, who crafted the previously mentioned crotchet pasties. Also a professional copywriter, she launched the side business after teaching herself to crotchet through YouTube videos.

As for the rest of the vendors, their erotic crafting seemed to be more a labour of love than a moneymaker. “This is just a side thing,” said an artist exhibiting a series of nude drawings. Yet all the crafters appeared to take pride in their creations, including the founder of a “creative crap” business called Pretty Poopie (whatever that means). And although this stuff might not be for everyone, the buyers in the crowd certainly appreciated the strange blend of sex and craft.

“We’re into all this stuff. It’s so individualized!” exclaimed a chatty middle-aged man who had brought a small entourage of friends with him to the show. “It expands people’s imaginations and gives them a better idea of what’s usable in the bedroom!” Long live the creative class.

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