A Fabulous Find : an interview with Rio Branner, founder of Fabulous Finds Artisans and Collectors show

Photo by Jaclyn Herzog

Last week, Brit Bachmann sat down with local artisan, Rio Branner to discuss community, cultural exchange, and the power of artist initiative.


oook: Tell me about the origin of Fabulous Finds.

RB: I was an artisan doing shows in Vancouver and Victoria. When I moved to the Okanagan, shows were limited. A lot of the people I knew on the Coast were crafters and artisans, but there wasn’t the same community here. There was definitely the need for a bigger show. I thought, “If there isn’t a show, I will just have to build one.” In cities there is more of a shopping crowd, an artisan scene. There was [an artisan scene] here, but it just wasn’t showing up. Even now, there is still room for more shows.

oook: How is Fabulous Finds different from an average craft fair?

RB: It has become a community event because of the people that return to every show. [Fabulous Finds] is also community-based among the vendors; everyone is welcoming and warm. There is no competition at this show, just good vibes. Fabulous Finds brings everybody together.

oook: What sorts of items are exhibited?

RB: There is a variety. Everything is handmade or vintage. Basically, I look for interesting and fun stuff to show.


Photos by Christine MacDonald and Natalie Larose


oook: How has Fabulous Finds contributed to your own work?

RB: I have been showing my own art at markets and craft fairs for almost 15 years now. I make things out of recycled materials; I use leather jackets to make handbags and belts. I also make earrings out of recycled materials, like wallpaper. Doing these shows has helped my products develop and change. I am very social. I like to be in the public, and see peoples’ reactions to what works and what doesn’t.

oook: Perhaps the reason why people are so drawn to Fabulous Finds is because the objective isn’t money-based?

RB: Definitely. It is an exchange.

Photo by Rio Branner

oook: How important is Summerhill Winery as the venue for Fabulous Finds?

RB: I really enjoy having it at Summerhill. Everyone loves having a glass of wine while they shop! It is a combination that works. Fabulous Finds brings a lot of people to [the winery] that have never been before. Sometimes the wine industry appears to have a wall around it, but Summerhill is involved in the community. Next March, I am hoping to expand the show to the upstairs of the winery as well [as the downstairs].

oook: I noticed that Fabulous Finds has a Facebook group- do you think that social media plays an important role in organizing an event like this?

RB: Majorly! Every participant is asked to invite their friends on Facebook. A lot of them also use Twitter. It is a collaboration between all those involved in Fabulous Finds to get the word out. Everybody does their part, and it unfolds organically.

oook: Do you think municipal governments should help sponsor events like Fabulous Finds?

RB: It is good for cities to be involved in the art community, but it is also the artists themselves that have to bring it out.

oook: Artist initiative?

RB: Yes, we make it happen. 

Fabulous Finds is on Friday, November 4th from 4-9pm and Saturday, November 5th from 10-4pm at Summerhill Winery. Admission is free.





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