By Benjamin Cohn
Weaverville – For a quarter of a century now, Weaverville United Methodist Church has hosted an annual Christmas Craft Bazaar. This year’s fair took place last Friday and Saturday and featured hand-crafted items from two dozen local artisans. Booth rental fees and sales from a silent auction went to support Lynn for the Animals, a foster service initiated by local artisan and animal lover Lynn Daniel.
Michael Wright, one of the craft fair’s many craftspeople, explained his products – ornamental, wooden boxes – to the Tribune. “I make them as a hobby, and, like I said, I’ve just got so many of them that I decided to start selling them. I’ve been coming to this bazaar here for the past four years, I guess. I live out here in Stoney Knob.”
Wright crafts his boxes from “African wood, South American woods, it’s all exotic woods I get from Reem’s Creek down here. It started as a hobby and I enjoy making them. It’s just a good pastime. I haven’t ever actually had time to myself, because there’s a lot of sawing, gluing, sanding. It’s a long process.” His boxes sell for “anywhere from $15 to $25,” he said.
Rita Willis also came out to church this past weekend to show off her products. “I make stained glass and I also crochet like a fiend. I’m hoping to sell some of my wares,” she said. “This one I’ve had quite a while. It’s a birdhouse. This one is particularly lovely because of all the pretty colors. It’s hard to show it without a light behind it. I make ornaments and I just enjoy the crafts.”
Nancy Clark, a first-time bazaar vendor, spoke candidly about her new passion, crafting jewelry. “It’s fun, you know. It’s creative. I only do one-of-a-kind [pieces]. You can do all kinds of things with the jewelry. I use bone beads, I use wooden beads, I use gemstones.”
Clark, who’s only been working with jewelry for a few years, showed off one of her favorite pieces, a lovely, ornamental necklace featuring a dragonfly and amethyst accents. “I make it [jewelry] for men and women. I taught myself [the craft]. I repurpose if I go to a yard sale, or I have dealers online. They have repurposed jewelry, [I] take it apart, make a new piece.”
Finally, the event organizer, Janet Cress, filled in the Tribune on her role in the annual event.
“This is our 25th year. Of course, crafters are raising their own funds, but the booth fees and the food court sales go to benefit different mission projects within the church.
“I wear multiple hats here, in that I organized it, put out the signs, got all the different crafters, cooked food for the food court and then did my crafting, as well. I laughingly refer to my booth as ‘rock, paper, scissors.’”
The first part of her booth featured handmade jewelry, while the middle part showcased pieces made through quilling (paper filigree), an art form that involves rolling strips of paper into intricate designs. “You take the strip of paper and you roll it around a hat pin. You might pinch it, you might let the curl open, you might glue the curl shut. It depends on what shape you want.
“I also do scissors cutting, which is scherenschnitte, that’s a Pennsylvania Dutch, very old craft. I’ve been doing scherenschnitte for 48 years, quilling for 30 years and beading for 43 years.”
Craftspeople, connoisseurs and customers will now wait for next year when Weaverville United Methodist will host its 26th craft bazaar to see what treasures will be produced.