By James Robert Shaw
(The Wind up Geek)
In all my travels and in all the conventions I visit (Van Isle Comic Con, Tsukino-Con, and Fan Expo Vancouver), I have been amazed at some of the cool merchandise that can be bought at the vendor tables. I don’t just speak about the mass-produced items with names like Funko, Bandai, and Hasbro, but of the finely crafted local items as well.
At the 2017 Tsukino-Con, I spent much of my money on said items and a roll full of prints from local and more internationally known artists. I even bought a My Neighbour Totoro phone charm (which I will highlight at another time). For now, I will bring to your attention merchandise I discover and to share them with you, our readers. Perhaps along the way I will help you find something new.
The articles will be presented in two different ways, the first is to focus on one or two items sold recently, whereas the other is meant to mention multiple items that I have purchased along the way.
Our first highlight is on a couple of really cool mugs sold by The Handmade Empire, a handcrafted business run by Anneka and Megan, based out of Kelowna, British Columbia. The Handmade Empire, according to their Facebook page, “specialize in hand-painted mugs, handmade jewelry and knitwear.” Some of their merchandise include Deathly Hallow ear studs, air balloon Christmas ornaments, TARDIS tea cozies, hand knitted Forest Cowls, and novelty fan girl mugs with images of Benedict Cumberbatch, Alan Rickman, and Tom Hiddleston.
But the two mugs that appeal to me are mugs inspired by Harry Potter. Being a fan (but not a true fan since I have not read the books by J.K. Rowling), [LOL – Ed] there are two mugs I would use year round.
The first is a white mug with a black (and a dash of red) hand painted quote of “Life’s a struggle when you’re a Muggle.” This mug sold out at the 2017 Kelowna Fan Xpo (KFX). I feel an affinity to this mug because at times the quote could be applied to my day-to-day life.
The second mug is also in a black hand painted quote of “Get sorted” with an artist’s rendering of the famous Hogwart’s Sorting Hat (I like to call this product the Sorting Mug). The hat (for those not in the know) gets placed on the head of each new student and it decides what school sub-unit (called “houses”) the child would belong to for the rest of their days at Hogwart’s.
For those wanting to purchase these great mugs, The Handmade Empire does get around. Anneka and Megan will be at the upcoming 2017 Penti-Con in Penticton, British Columbia. Besides the aforementioned KFX they have also sold their wares at the 2016 Woman’s Fair, The Momma Collective Spring Market, and The Pink Spotted Goat Artisan Variety Market in Vernon.
You can buy products online through their official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thehandmadeempire/. Or you can purchase stock in-store at Cranberry Junction on Pandosy Street in Kelowna and Fresh from the Farm on Casorso Road.