Friday, November 9, 2012

Artisan's Fair - a few favorites

This is the season of craft fairs - nearly every weekend there are churches and community groups offering the chance to shop for unique hand made items for holiday gifts.  I went to a local fair recently and saw lots of wonderful items.  I left with my wallet a lot lighter and my mind spinning with inspiration.

One of my favorite things about shopping at craft fairs is meeting the artists and learning about their creative process.  I have met some lovely and wildly imaginative people and it is always fun to talk to people who love what they do!

In the very first room I was charmed by the delightful work of Barbara and Arnold Goodrich of Carriage House Crafts.  Barbara was a fashion illustrator for many years and now creates whimsical art with a witty twist.  I bought a stack of notecards - here are photos of a few to give you an idea of their style.

Some of the themes of the illustrations are cats and dogs, nursery rhymes and fairy tales, holidays and witty phrases.  The Carriage House Crafts website is HERE and there are dozens of designs to choose from.  The notecards are very reasonably priced and the wooden plaques would make great gifts.  

Downstairs at the fair I met Rick and Roxanne O'Neal of Quillusions.  They do several types of paper art - quilling, paper jewelery and scherenscnitte.  They specialize in framing and decorating photos and invitations for gifts.  Roxanne does her paper cutting without a machine - she is very handy with the exacto knife!

photo from Quillusions website

Here is an example of one of the beautiful paper creations they sell.  They will do mail orders and you can contact them through their website HERE.

Across from the O'Neal's booth was Al Wheeler who makes wonderful wooden items with his scroll saw.  The baskets look like they are woven but the are actually built up in layers with rings of wood cut in wavy shapes.  Al doesn't have a website but will do special orders, email him at blue631 (at) (written this way to prevent spam - put in the @ sign to email).

Here are some of the ornaments Al makes with his scroll saw.  I think he said he can cut five layers at a time.  If you have never seen scroll saw cuts, do a search for scroll saw patterns and you will find many large collections of files - some for sale and some free.  You can use these files to create cutting files for a Cameo or other computer controlled cutting machine.  I'll share a few examples soon.

This fair was in a church and the booths were spread out through many rooms.  In the last room I visited, I found Rebecca Schreiber and her amazing Paper Confections.  Rebecca creates wonderful original artwork by making iris folded paper designs.  She uses beautiful handmade papers and makes her designs reflect the shape of the natural objects rather then using the iris as a focal point.

You can read a brief description of her technique above (click on the image to enlarge it).  The original designs are scanned and used to create super high quality printed images on cards.

The notecards are printed on lovely textured 100% cotton paper and the images seem to leap off the surface of the card. 

This close up of the gecko shows the clarity of the image - it looks like you could tuck your finger under one of the iris-folded sections.

In addition to the relatively flat iris folded designs, Rebecca makes some that are puffy like the red one in the shadow box frame on the left.  You can see more examples of her work on the Paper Confections website HERE.   In addition to stationery and invitations, they also offer designs printed on marble as coasters and trivets and a variety of linens and baby items printed on organic cotton.

I had a wonderful time at the show and I hope you enjoyed seeing a few of the things I found particularly interesting.  I like to support small businesses and local craftspeople by shopping the fairs.  There is a pretty good chance that no one else will buy the same thing to give as a gift and while gift cards are nice
I like to give actual objects as well (sometimes with a card tucked inside).

Do you shop at craft fairs?  Do you make things and sell them at fairs?  What is the most unusual hand made item you've ever seen at a fair?  Even though I like to do lots of crafts, I still buy many items at these shows.  A few years ago I saw a great sign in a booth - it said "Sure you could make it yourself - but will you?!"

I hope you have some nice plans for the weekend.  I just looked at the calendar and realized that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away - Yikes!

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  1. I love shopping at craft fairs! They always have some unusual yummy food items too!

  2. looks like you found some wonderful goodies at the craft fair.


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