Your Kingston Maker Holiday Gift Guide

By Sara Smith

When it comes to holiday shopping, Kingston’s thriving community of creatives and makers have got you covered. There’s something for every hard-to-buy-for person when you take a trip to the Limestone City.

Kingston Maker Holiday Gift Guide
Image via Kingston Sail Loft
For the sailor in your life: A new sail, or an expert repair job, from Kingston Sail Loft

A lifelong boat enthusiast and sailmaker for almost 30 years, John Clark has been providing quality handmade sails to Kingston’s boating community since 1988. “I love building sails. It’s really a creative thing,” he says. “They’re all a little bit different — you get to pick your own materials, and change little things here and there, and you go through stages of making them just like an artist would. Every day here is different.”

He also shares his excitement for being able to help sailors stay on the water. “People come in here with damaged sails, and they’re really appreciative of the fact that I can fix them up, turn them around, and get them back out on the water,” he says. “I love that.”

Contact John at:

Kingston Maker Holiday Gift Guide
Image courtesy of @kerenzayuen/Instagram
For the host with the most plans to entertain this season: A modern cheese/charcuterie board from Nick Allinson

For the last two years, woodworker Nick Allinson has been making stunning charcuterie boards and bespoke home items from local lumber. “I go to a guy who mills wood in Mallorytown,” he says. “Then I’ll strap it to the roof of my little Volkswagen and take it to the shop. I take some time to measure and get to know the raw piece before I start working on it.”

Hours are spent cutting, planing, sanding, and rounding the item until he’s satisfied with it. “I just keep working it and working it, until I end up with an almost porcelain-smooth piece.” He describes the unpredictable nature of wood as part of the excitement of his work. “Every piece is unique and full of character,” he says.

Contact Nick at:

Kingston Maker Holiday Gift Guide
Image via Jenny Perkin
For your bag-obsessed bestie: A tote that goes with everything from Sandpiper Handcraft

Jenny Perkin launched her business in 2016, and now Sandpiper Handcraft designs can be found at local farmers’ markets, holiday craft shows, and storefronts such as Meraqi Art Annex. Her signature tote bags and home decor products invoke a clean, classic feel, drawing inspiration from nature and life on the waterfront.

Perkin also aims to combat the wastefulness of the textile industry with her beautifully-designed, lovingly handcrafted wares. “I want to inspire people to be intentional with their purchases,” she says. “When they purchase from me, they know that somebody within their community or their country was paid a fair wage, and wasn’t exploited to make their product.”

Find Sandpiper Handcraft at:

Kingston Maker Holiday Gift Guide
Image via Whitney Haynes
For someone who finds beauty in unexpected places: Jewelry by Whitney Haynes

Whitney Haynes makes her living creating intricate and original jewelry and accessories. Her pieces evoke a raw, unrefined style that’s the result of her intuitive approach to jewelry-making, and love of the outdoors. “When I’m outside I’m always picking up inspiration from the elements, and always thinking of ways to integrate that sort of thing into my design,” she says. “The more organic, the better. The more raw, the better.”

Her most recent collections include a line of pendants made from fallen, locally-foraged birch bark, another that finds beauty in the molten forms of scrap silver, and the decidedly unique leather Stable Ring.
Find Whitney Haynes’ designs at:

Kingston Maker Holiday Gift Guide
Via Bryce Murdoch Photography
For someone who’s been REALLY good this year: a box of decadent chocolates from CocoaBistro

When shopping for your loved ones, skip the run-of-the-mill drugstore confections — local chocolatier Audrey Brown of CocoaBistro believes that great chocolate is something to be experienced.

“My foundation is pure Belgian chocolate,” she says. “I don’t believe in using cheaper compound chocolates, which are lower quality and contain palm oil. I use only local dairy (from Limestone Creamery), and I seek out local produce and herbs as much as possible.” The quality of Brown’s creations isn’t the only thing that makes CocoaBistro stand out. Her flair for experimental, surprising flavours has made her business a local favourite.

Find CocoaBistro chocolates at: