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The Fine Design Market

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by Justine de Jonge (subscribe)
Justine de Jonge is a Melbourne freelance travel writer and blogger who loves travelling the vegan road. She also loves blogging about her vegan travels at www.fireandtea.com .
Published April 18th 2013
Quality art and design in a quality market setting
It's a little overcast on this autumn day in Doncaster, though the buzz in the air is warm and inviting. The Fine Design Market at Manningham City Square (MC²) is where locals and visitors to Doncaster are spending time purchasing pretty and unique gifts.
A busy day at The Fine Design Market
The Fine Design Market was devised by Michelle Stagoll and Susie Lunt, two lovely ladies who are committed to bringing lovely art and design to suburban Melbourne. Their independent art and design market has been running at the Square on the second Sunday of each month since September last year. Even though the market's presence in Doncaster is still in its early days, the commitment to local art and community is unwavering. One of the market's goals is to present quality art in a quality market environment where artists can connect with their audience.

The market hugs the perimeter of this arts precinct, yet brings an organic feel to its concrete surrounds. Even the drone of Doncaster Road is left behind as visitors drop their gold coin donations into a bucket and wander through the stalls. A wonderful selection of art, from jewellery to clothing, furniture, notebooks and pottery, is available to visitors; a colourful indication of the professionalism and individuality in Melbourne's esteemed art scene. Not only does the market host established Melbourne artists, it's a nurturing opportunity for the city's emerging creatives. The Fine Design Market can host 50 to 70 stalls at a time, so it ensures that 10 to 15% of these stalls feature upcoming talent.

Pieces from Sawdust Timber Furniture
What's appealing about The Fine Design Market is that there's something special for a range of tastes. Dulcet, acoustic tunes hum over the crowd, kids enjoy face painting or colouring sessions at a kids' station, while the adults enjoy a latte in the café or a sausage and veggie burger sizzle after purchasing some surprises. Those who are still wandering find gifts for loved ones or a personal treat for the wardrobe.
Crochet pieces from Antonija
Sawdust Timber Furniture is one of the larger stands, selling modern timber furniture with a retro edge. To complement the furniture, there are retro cushions and tea-towels to be found in neighbouring stands.
Confetti coloured pieces from Elm Tree Studio
If ladies are looking for a jewellery piece that's pushing boundaries, then Antonija offers intricate crocheted necklaces. Elm Tree Studio spruiks confetti coloured clay pieces on silver chains. For those who adore stationery, Leaf Paper and Journals sells fun stationery items and journals. Stephanie Margaret, an emerging book-binder, salvages materials and brings to life carefully-bound notebooks. For new mums, bubs and tots, stands like Bunny Hutch can be found selling gorgeous pastel clothing.
Adorable stationery from Leaf Paper and Journals
To appeal to the art buffs, PopcornBlue sells quirky and playful paintings, and commissions can be ordered on demand. Funky purses at Kathykoo, vibrant pottery from Liz Kent, Blossom and Bloom soy candles and enticing textiles from Kaamer Boutique are all intriguing pieces to please curious visitors. Macramé from Radish & Joan accentuates the intrigue.
Bright macramé from Radish & Joan
For the locals, The Fine Design Market brings a versatile market experience that champions local products at affordable prices via a changing rotation of stallholders. For the artists, the market is a launching pad for those starting out, or for those who have shrugged off the 60-hour working week in favour of a more fulfilling career. For the market, there is flexibility onsite to host its vendors outdoors on glorious sunny days, or indoors during the cooler months.
A rainbow of pottery from Liz Kent
Such community spirit and connection is not always seen in a Melbourne market and these are the small successes that Michelle and Susie are achieving along the way. They have thought of everything and their hard work is paying off.
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*Justine de Jonge was invited as a guest
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Why? Quality art and design in a quality market environment
When: Second Sunday of each month from 10am to 3pm. There will be no market in June due to public holiday.
Where: Manningham City Square (MC²) 687 Doncaster Road Doncaster Victoria 3108
Cost: Entry by gold coin donation. All proceeds support Rotary Club of Doncaster community projects.
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