WHEN the Port Douglas Markets closed at the end of March, it meant many of the shire’s artisans were left without a place to sell their work.

Around 70 per cent of the 200 stallholders sell handcrafted products which range from exquisite jewellery, designer clothing, shampoos and soaps through to fishing lures and hand carved coconut heads.

Some, like Rose Mercer who designs and makes jewellery created with recycled material, was all set to return to the markets after her usual wet season break, but that didn’t happen.

“Normally I would be working in my home studio all week while the kids were at school, then really enjoy the weekends spent with them,” she said.“Now I spend weekdays home schooling my two children – and I don’t get to spend time in my workshop, which I love, until the weekends.”

Rose does however, have a website and has been able to continue selling products online, although not at the same volume as at the markets.  And like many artists, even with the markets open, has to have a second job.

“I’m a lollipop lady at Miallo State School, and I’ve been able to access Job Seeker, so compared to some so we are doing okay.”

Visit Rose’s website here.

Another stall holder, Lydia Clayton at “Perfume in Port” has been making roll-on perfumes, and selling essential oils for ten years. Lydia studied aromatherapy as part of her certification as a massage therapist, which later became a passion for creating perfumes.

“When my granddaughter Amahlia was born, nine years ago, I created a perfume for her, which has become my bestseller.   Later a men’s perfume named after my grandsons, Maxx and Blaze, and now with the recent birth of Maya,  I’m working away in the ‘engine room’, trialling a new perfume in her honour, which isn’t far away.”

“These blends are synthetic free and are quite complex with up to nine oils.   I have also made a very simple range, Six Scents which have just three oils.  I don’t have a website, but my email and phone is on the label for repeat orders.”

When Lydia popped into Beechwoods Cafe for her regular coffee, soon after the market closed, the owner Sharon Beechey invited her to display her range of perfumes in the cafe.

“I am delighted to be there, my products are selling, and it has inspired me to keep working … Sharon’s faith has affirmed what we local artisans do,” she said.

“In the face of this imposed hibernation, Sharon and her team have kept us buzzing along, not only with take away coffee and cakes and other deliciousness, but has diversified in a way that has enhanced the experience now, and when we come out of hibernation.  She’s a clever cookie!”

Douglas Shire Council is currently reviewing the ability to hold the Port Douglas Markets in the future in line with the latest Federal Government health advice.

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