I just love artisan markets. It gives me a glimpse into local creativity and enterprise and puts me in touch with locals. I was fortunate to spend a couple of hours in the gargantuan Eunmundi Markets near Noosa on a recent trip to Queensland. Ceramic artist Christa Barton and her friend Gail Perry-Somers came up with the idea of holding a European style “artisans and farmers” market in Eumundi, a sleepy hinterland town on the Sunshine Coast in 1979. Today the Eumundi Markets are the biggest art and craft market in Australia. Tourists and locals ( and that’s always a good sign) flock here to pick up unique creations from local artists, feast on a multitude of culinary delights from every continent, have their caricature drawn or palm read, or pamper themselves with a shiatsu massage. There is a lot of music too- with world-music sounds, country tunes and tribal rhythms played by local performers.
I loved the focus on handmade products, with the ethos of “make it, bake it, grow it, sew it”. The market insists that businesses must be original, produce high quality, local products, follow environmental business practices, and be closely involved in the production of the goods they sell. No tacky imported or cheap goods here. The few products that were from abroad were finely crafted or woven- like bright textiles from Peru, or ikkat textiles from India made into boho pants.
The unique Heritage listed fig trees under which open air stalls are located. This really adds to the whole ambience of shopping.
It’s a highly environmentally conscious market and wants to make it a sustainable shopping experience.
All compostable waste generated by the market is processed by the worm bank run in partnership with the local state school at Eumundi (this project alone consists of eight commercial sized bins containing thousands of worms with the end product sold as organic fertilizer at the markets by the school). In the future they will be installing their own solar power generation and water harvesting.
The market banned the use of plastic bags in 2010.
It has a strong community spirit with locals baking, cooking, creating and participating with great enthusiasm.
It’s a market that provides a lot of entertainment for kids from face painting and trampoline rides to balloon artists to pony rides.
It has activities like cookery demonstrations by famous chefs.
I loved the energy and vibe of this market with over 600 stalls.
I browsed through stalls brimming with original artwork, sculptures, artisan soaps, hand-blown glassware and unique toys, or just relaxed tapping my foot to some country tunes while sipping a mug of gourmet coffee. There were incredibly unique stalls like that selling slate Ikebana vases with lovely motifs, the Balinese stone mason & some of the ceramics. I also loved the Copper Artist – copper hand beaten designs creating artworks and objects d’art finished with ‘verdigris’. Loved one called Rani’s Circle- Convertible Wraps for Women. Wear it 25 ways – wrap, drape, tie, belt, brooch, flutter and float it!
There is also an indigenous element to the markets, with lots of beautiful Aboriginal artifacts on sale.
Some things that I just LOVED!
Gorgeous timber cheese platters, lazy susans and kangaroo shaped trays made from local camphor laurel trees.
Crocheted Dream catchers
Glass and ceramic in every form.
Trendy clothes for women, men and kids
Herbal and holistic remedies for every ailment
Some of my loot from the market!
Don’t miss these markets if you are in Queensland. The Eumundi Markets are on every Wednesday from 8am to 1.30pm and Saturday from 6.30am to 2pm. They are on Memorial Avenue, Eumundi, a 20-minute drive west of Noosa. For more details about the markets, Eumundi, and transport, visit www.eumundimarkets.com.au.
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