The name matches the vibe perfectly.
At least that’s what vendor and committee member Laurel Fredin said of the 43rd annual Creative Chaos, which overtakes the Vernon Recreation Complex Friday through Sunday, June 1-3.
The biggest of its kind in western Canada, Creative Chaos brings in the work of more than 200 vendors from across the country for a weekend of all things artisanal.
“It’s (Creative Chaos) a real staple in Vernon,” said Fredin, who sits at booth 134 this year. “It’s kind of well-needed chaos. It’s a great sale. You’re not in it to make money.”
For Creative Chaos, Fredin’s first sale every year, she has been hard at work creating more than 500 items with which she will adorn her booth. However, crunch time is upon her and other artisans.
“That’s where I am — the panic mode,” Fredin laughed, adding that she made 180 mugs in April. “I’m fairly efficient with my time. I’m someone who pots on high.”
Fredin picked up her craft while she was in college about 25 years ago, but it wasn’t until about 2008 that she truly put her all into it.
While living in Vancouver and working as a graphic designer, Fredin would spend her Wednesday nights at the arts centre and churned out crafts. Now residing in Vernon, Fredin pulls out the wheel every opportunity she gets.
And as a beginner wheel-throwing instructor at the Vernon Community Arts Centre, Fredin knows that discipline is what pushed her work forwards and lives by the saying that pottery is 75 per cent practice and 25 per cent artistic ability.
“People don’t realize how much is involved. You have to put your hours in. There’s a lot to learn,” Fredin said. “When you get past that then you can create your own style.”
Fredin’s style borrows from her past graphic design career and current freelance work in the field for a modern and clean aesthetic.
While she loves the classiness and simplicity of a crisp white in pottery, Fredin — clad in a purple cardigan, purple pants and with a purple purse in hand — is also an advocate of colour.
“I’m a little bit sassy now in my 40s,” Fredin laughed.
Fredin pots out of a small home studio and the grand Vernon Community Arts Centre facility, though she hopes to soon finish building a substantial home studio for her and her boys.
“My happy place is pottery,” Fredin said.
And, when she sees people enjoying the products she crafts, Fredin knows it’s time well-spent.
“People drink coffee from my mugs every day,” Fredin said. “I love knowing that I’m part of making their day.”
To ensure everyone at Creative Chaos has a chance at purchasing a mug, however, artisans work overtime and many — Fredin included — run an extra kiln Friday night to replenish their stock.
“Hundreds of hours go into the event every year,” Fredin said. “It’s amazing we get it all done.”
Vendor preparation begins in the fall when artisans put their applications in the pot. Names are drawn in the spring and vendors discover the status of their application in March.
“We get a lot of return vendors,” said Fredin, who has exhibited her work at the show for five years and been on the committee for four.
Live entertainment graces the stage and a Scottish pipe band tour the three buildings, but Creative Chaos is about more than just celebrating art: it’s about community.
During the three-day event, Creative Chaos collects both money and non-perishable food donations for the Salvation Army food bank. The Society also awards three scholarships to Vernon graduating students who are pursuing post-secondary studies in the arts. Each year, a local elementary school is also awarded $500 and student artwork is displayed in the curling rink entrance. This year’s student showcase award winner is Lumby’s JW Inglis Grade 4 class.
And, Fredin said, it’s all made possible through a love of art.
“We’re a non-profit doing a craft sale for the sake of crafts.”
The 43rd annual Creative Chaos takes place at the Vernon Recreation Complex June 1 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., June 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and June 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free but food bank donations are appreciated. For more information, visit www.creativechaos.com. For more information about Fredin and to purchase her work, visit www.laurelfredin.com or sign up for her VCAC classes online at www.vernonarts.ca.