The weekend of November 18 and 19 is going to be a special one for hunters. Gift and treasure hunters, that is. This is the weekend for both Holiday Craft Fairs, one in Schroon Lake and another two-day fair in Newcomb.
Craft fairs might be my favorite place to shop for gifts for people I love, and to find things I love.
I love wearable art
I tell my husband he lucked out, in many ways, of course! But I am not a woman who longs for expensive jewelry.
I am easily pleased with some beautifully crafted, and unique, items. My favorite is earrings, since I have less of a tendency to catch them on things (necklaces) or bang them on things (rings.) Craft fairs are my perfect hunting grounds, because my earring budget will stretch further, and I get some things that suit my unique style.
This was some of the jewelry available at Newcomb Day this summer. My favorite earrings all came from craft fairs.
The pine cones (left) are beautiful for any occasion, and the "Tree of Life" (middle) is both mythology and Adirondack-appropriate. The purple shells (right) are real Wampum, crafted by a Native American artist.
The joy of what an artisan brings to their work is reflected in its styles and colors. This isn't mass produced stuff at all. It is the opposite, where someone cared enough to make it, and then passed it on to someone who cares enough to wear it.
For a sense of style that is all our own, the special items crafters make are going to be just the flair we need for special occasions, or that accessory that becomes a favorite.
There's also the more traditional art to hang on the wall or display on a shelf, or works of art that hold or display stuff, like the pine-cone-themed objects in the header photo. That would be an easy choice for me gifting my mother-in-law, who lives elsewhere, but loves to be reminded of the Adirondacks.
I recommend a craft fair gift for anyone who loves the Adirondacks, and yet cannot be here as often as they would like. It's a great way of bringing some of that "lake and forest feel" home.
Appropriate for everyone
Some things are just the right size and shape for everyone. I like cute homemade soaps because everyone needs to wash up, and they are a wonderful quality that pampers our skin.
I once gifted a friend with one she put in her guest bathroom. But not for long. She called me, laughing, saying she would just have to go to the next craft fair with me. "I keep telling myself it's for looking, but it feels so good I'm showering with it."
Another nearly universal gift I have discovered at local craft fairs is many varieties of homemade jam. This is another instance of crafter quality making an entire planet of difference with the fresh local fruit, made with care. There are also flavors not found in grocery stores, like strawberry rhubarb or peach raspberry.
I have to be gluten-free, but have figured out I can still have jam on slices of sharp cheddar. It's actually better. All kinds of similar treats can pop up in our famers markets, which double as craft fairs, too.
Another thing about such gifts is they have to be used. From morning shower to morning toast, such gifts are enjoyed day after day, as long as they last.
On the other hand, for some things, I don't want to use them.
Too gorgeous to use
I hauled home these finds last summer from Newcomb Day, and my husband revealed a basic misunderstanding. "What nice potholders," he said. "I hope they don't get too messed up being used in the kitchen."
"They will not," I said. "Because they are not for grabbing hot pans. They are for sitting in front of the books in the bookcase and being fabric art."
It turns out these potholders are based on the art of Cicely Mary Barker, who first published her work in 1923. I am completely capitivated by these whimsical matches of accurate botany (Ms. Barker would get specimens from Kew Gardens, a botanical garden in southwest London) and models from the children in her sister's private kindergarten.
Likewise, I have some throw pillows I got from craft fairs that are too nice to stuff behind my back or let the cats sleep on. Finding one-of-a-kind things can mean not using them if that is going to spoil the interplay of color and light that drew me to them in the first place.
Here are two autumnal themes that appear in my living room in fall to add some seasonal color in places they won't get sat on.
It's all a form of art I can afford and enjoy and gift to others.
I can't wait for the next craft fair.
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