I cannot believe in the 18 plus years I've lived in Melbourne that I never ventured to the St Kilda Esplanade Markets! Why? I have no answer for that; me who goes to everything that moves, including the St KildaTwilight Markets which I frequent. I only live three and a half kilometres away for heaven's sakes! A recent visit to the newly refurbished and reopened (Nov 2018) Espy a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday sparked the thought to go as the Market lay spread out below, visible from the balcony on the top level of The Esplanade Hotel. To digress for a moment, the refurbishment of the Espy, 18 months 'ish in the making, is nothing short of amazing!
To be honest I haven't been to a full-on huge market in quite a while. Perhaps that's why I was all excited to see all the new vendors I'd not come across before, or perhaps it was the perfect weather on Sunday just gone. Markets are always a delight to visit as the vendors are pretty chilled and up for a quick yarn and a friendly hello. It's a perfect Sunday when the people you meet are engaging, the weather is at its best and the views! What can I say, it's hard to beat that St Kilda shoreline, especially at sunset, as the waves lap the shores and there are only happy people frolicking in the vast body of water. I'll be back soon enough with the St Kilda Festival biting at our heels. The lineup is going to be amazing, and I'll be there up front as usual, by the stage, immersed in the music with my festival buddies I go with every year.
Food For Your Skin (0428 711 480) & Sunrise Woodcraft (03 9755 2639)
Back to the markets; I doubly wanted to go when I heard Ginkoh Jewellery was going to be there. I met the owner and creator/jeweller Stephanie back in 2014 when I went to Torquay, the same year I started writing for Weekend Notes earlier in the year. It was a magical kinda day, sprinkled with fairy dust and that one visit to Steph has sparked what feels like a lifelong connection, not to mention the fact that I love her edgy jewellery that keeps changing and evolving over time.
Since meeting Steph, I have had a few pieces of custom jewellery made and they are nothing short of top quality work with a good solid feel of generosity. Naturally, I had to have a few customs made this time as well when I saw some of her new designs. Couldn't miss the opportunity to put in an order to have a couple of rings and a bangle handmade for me in sterling silver. I met a lot of stallholders that impressed and here are a few of my favourites that struck me on the day. Suffice to say I burnt a huge hole in my pocket, and literally had to buy a new wallet, but I'll get to that. Let's just go back to the beginning.
El Inca; Rapt In Hide (0425 724 306); Legendary Aussie; Snoring Bulldog Creations
If we pay close attention to the world we live in; it's pretty amazing. The beauty of nature aside, walking past the big smiley face of Luna Park always makes me smile. Did you know this theme park has been around since 1912? Before I digress again about this magical day, the Esplanade Market is a walk from right beside Luna Park, located between Fitzroy St and Acland Street in St Kilda. The end of the market took me right up to The Espy on foot. It's open every single Sunday from 10am to 4pm (5pm daylight savings hours) except for the second Sunday in February, due to the St Kilda Festival. Do check the weather forecast before you go, as if weather conditions indicate wind speed higher than 70kph or heat higher than 45C, the market may be closed, and some stallholders may choose not to trade in extreme weather conditions.
Top - Ginkoh Jewellery; Bottom - Karyn De Jong (0438 852 406)
I didn't get very far as I walked towards the long row of stallholders. A few stalls in, walking past Ash Sumpter and her guitar, Big Blue Cosmetica caught my eye with her handmade natural skincare products, made right here in Melbourne. Some moisturiser and tinted lip balms later, Food for your Skin's olive oil based skin care nabbed me and I walked away with, shall we say, more cakes of gorgeous soaps than I needed. Natural fragrances were the order of the day as the next buys were two beautiful Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum Camphora) timber cutting boards (I needed new ones - true story) that are made from salvaged logs and are waterproof, self-healing and antibacterial. According to Sunrise Woodcraft, all I need to do is keep taking care of it by oiling it with grapeseed oil monthly. The fragrance of the boards were incredible.
I picked up a macrame necklace for my friend Steph from El Inca whom I've bought from before at another market. He makes beautiful macrame jewellery combined with gemstones, which are my favourites at his stall. Legendary Aussie impressed me with the vintage look of their packaging, for the handcrafted solid colognes and perfumes they sold, but I didn't get any as I don't wear perfume. Rapt in Hide's leather creations were intriguing as the stallholder mentions her bags were made from upcycled couches. Now, who'd think to strip down a couch, but she did, so good on her little sustainable heart.
Busker Ash Sumpter @ashsumpter; Shirley and her handmade puppets; Sterling Silver plated Copper Jewellery
Snoring Bulldog Creations travelled all the way from Numurkah with their handmade purses, bags and giftware which were excellent and beautifully made, so now my old leather wallet that needed pensioning off eons ago is out of my life, and my new washable fabric black and white Wonder Woman wallet is the reigning queen in my handbag. Karyn De Jong is another stall I spent a lot of time in, and basically bought the dress off her back, literally! This exhibited artist is not just about painted tees and other goodies, she has some original, reversible cotton dresses that I just couldn't walk past. They were creative, cool and astonishing in their simplistic beauty.
There are food trucks and coffee vans and wrought iron benches to sit on under shady palm trees and I caught up with a stall that sells sterling silver plated copper jewellery that I had bought from before in Torquay. What made my day was 85 year old Shirley and her handmade puppets, Her zest for life is admirable as she pointed to the love of her life sitting behind the mountain of hand puppets, whom she met at a dance when they were 16. How could I walk away without a puppet that's a reminder of this inspiring grand lady. Can life be any sweeter.
Enjoyed the article Jen. Brought back a few memories from over 40 years ago when we bought a coffee table there and carried it home up-side down on the Falcon roof rack, hoping the tiles were well glued down. They were as we are still using the table. Like your articles, quality lasts.
Regards, Neil Follett.