Leatherworker Attilla Heipel and woodworker Nils Damborg (from left) are among the self-taught artisans participating in the Kris Kringle Craft Market. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin/Marion Damborg)

Kris Kringle Craft Market making its return to Nanaimo

Self-taught craftspeople join trained artisans at seasonal sale Nov. 21-24 at Beban Park

The Kris Kringle Craft Market is returning to the Beban Park social centre from Nov. 21 to 24 and self-taught artisans are among those who will be vending their wares.

When Nils Damborg was growing up, he and his shipwright father would build boats in their backyard. After retiring from a 25-year career as a machinist, Damborg returned to woodworking and started his business, Funky Furniture.

“I started making a few things for my wife and thought, ‘Oh, this is kind of fun,’ and then it kind of built up from there,” he said.

Now Damborg makes furniture with decorative inlays as well as kitchen dining room items and cell phone stands. He was born in Denmark and said that “Danish design flare” comes out in his pieces. Damborg has participated in the “very Christmas-y” Kris Kringle Craft Market on-and-off for the past six or seven years.

Damborg said picking up woodworking came naturally to him and that his practice is much different from his time doing metalwork.

“I rarely even use a tape measure on my work. I spent my whole life worrying about one ten-thousandth of an inch and in this here I’m more free,” Damborg said. “And I don’t draw my furniture out at first … it just kind of evolves as I’m making it.”

Making his Kringle debut is leatherworker Attilla Heipel. He’s been making leather items as a hobby and side gig since 2011, but quit his job last year to start his own business, Fontana Leather Design.

Heipel got into leatherwork after joining a local medieval combat group. At first he was making functional leather armour for his battles. Then when he was in need of a new belt he thought, “Why I am buying a belt? You make armour. Why don’t you make a modern belt for yourself?”

“So shortly after that all my coworkers and my friends all got belts, which allowed me to get proper feedback and test different buckles and styles that would stand up for a long time and eight years later they’re still wearing the same belts,” he said.

Heipel taught himself leather crafting referring to the internet and “every leather book I could find.” At the Kris Kringle market Heipel’s goods will include wallets, bracelets, aprons and medieval armour accessories, among other items.

He said working with leather is “therapeutic.”

“I just zone out when I do it. I forget about time,” Heipel said. “It’s my passion, so everything from cutting it to smelling it to touching it, feeling it … and then seeing the finished product after I’ve put a full art work piece on that I spent hours on, it’s just very satisfactory.”

WHAT’S ON … The 2019 Kris Kringle Craft Market comes to Beban Park social centre, 2300 Bowen Rd., on Nov. 21 from noon to 9 p.m., Nov. 22 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily passes $10, $8 for seniors and students, children under 12 accompanied by an adult get in free. $15 four-day passes, two-for-one daily admission Nov. 21 from 5 to 9 p.m.



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