Arts / Holiday

Craft fairs offer local, hand-crafted gift options

Joanne Cole creates one-of-a-kind hats and her special Gold Hill Goo salve.

By Jennifer Pund
Holiday craft fairs are the perfect place to find unique, one-of-a-kind and hand-crafted gifts for anyone, including yourself. They are also one of the best, and sometimes only, places to support your community’s artists and crafts-people. By creating events and assembling numerous local artisans in one place, holiday craft fairs also make holiday shopping easy and connecting with neighbors almost assured. All across the Peak to Peak and Clear Creek Valley regions, several fairs are planned for the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Holiday Mountain Market
Discover the creative works of over 50 artisans and dozens of musicians at the Nederland Area Seniors’ annual Holiday Mountain Market in Nederland on Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A silent auction with over 130 gifts artwork, gift certificates and more is a highlight of the event.

Find jewelry, ornaments, ceramics, candles and hundreds of other items for everyone on your list. Enjoy festive foods, visits with Santa—at 3 p.m. each day—enter the 50/50 Cash Split Raffle to win hundreds of dollars and support the NAS.

The event features many new artists as well as popular returning ones like Gold Hill’s Joanne Cole. Although her winter hats are what most folks look for on her table, her Gold Hill Goo is something mountain people swear by. Cole started as a soap maker, but was always intrigued by the alchemy of mixing salves, particularly with fragrances. “Making soap is not an easy magic, especially when you improvise or stray from the directions, as is my habit” she said. Gold Hill Goo is “good for what ails ya,” but is specifically made to heal skin. Try it on chapped hands, rough spots on feet, elbows or knees or any other chapped or dry spots.

Cole loves the mountain market because she not only gets to see her neighbors, she can sell her salve and unique winter hats for additional holiday income. It also funds her habit of buying yarn.

Johnnie and his sister, Peggy, of Two Mile Creek create a signature Habanera Hot Pepper Jelly made with whiskey-infused apricots. They loved their experience last year and will be back again. The small family specialty foods business specializes in jams, jelly and sauces. Holiday sales are essential to their business and although they do large shows in Denver, they return to Nederland for the small “community centered” atmosphere. “These [markets], like the one in Nederland, are important to us. It’s well organized and homey and has products that customers will never find in Walmart or Target.” Johnnie said.

Inspired by art she saw in New Orleans, Pam Leland appreciates selling her bottle-cap earrings and collage note cards at the market. “I love interacting with neighbors and friends and
people in other mountain communities. There is a level of
understanding and common ground between mountain dwellers,” she said.

Photographer Catherine Hewins visits her son in Nederland regularly and always has her camera. Known for her carousel photos for sale at the Carousel of Happiness, she will be selling 2015 wall calendars full of her best photographs from her visits to Walden Ponds and other surrounding areas at this year’s market.

For Hewins, the benefits of buying from a local markets is obvious, “they are buying locally made items and they can meet and talk to the artists.” She also feels a sense of community with the other artists that participate year after year. “We are all inspired by the beauty and changing seasons in this gorgeous state,” she said.

Gold Hill native Maggie Simms hopes to outfit the “not-so-rich and yet-to-be famous talent” in the Rocky Mountains with her Scarlet Montana Unlimited featuring cool jewelry, awesome dresses, hats and flashy blue-jean jackets.

Simms was also inspired to make jewelry after the Four Mile Fire in 2010. “A friend was pointing out… these great globs of metal left from her house after the fire. I picked up a small piece and thought I could do something with it. I brought it home and, voila,” she said. Simms believes she has donated over $1,000 in jewelry to support area residents, and has been known to give pieces to women who lost their jewelry in the fire. Simms will also be selling re-purposed sweaters and denim jackets along with aprons made from old jeans.

Nederland jeweler Rocky Stiers will be displaying his work at the Nederland event for his second time. He designs and creates sterling silver contemporary jewelry using a wide range of techniques like lost wax casting, granulation, hand fabrication and patterning and cold forging. He will be debuting two new mountain necklaces this year and says by participating in the market, he can see the Nederland friends he misses when working so much. Also, his sales last year rivaled other holiday shows he traveled much further to attend.

Nederland Holiday Market veteran Annie Thayer will have Christmas cards, greeting cards, boxed card sets and her framed, original watercolor paintings. “It is rewarding to have a painting or two go home with someone who connects with the way I have captured a special place, scene, or still life,” she said. “I really enjoy listening to the [live] music and visiting with those who come to shop or just wander through the market.”

Nederland-based Angie Samadhi will also be on hand with her Mystic Makers handcrafted potions and gifts for mother and baby. Samadhi’s mists, toners and balms were created through her quest to find high quality, natural and gentle skin care products that fit an earth-friendly approach to life.
Stage Stop White Friday Market

For the second year, the Stage Stop in Rollinsville hosts a White Friday Market, Dec. 5, beginning at 5 p.m. It is a great opportunity to purchase mountain gifts made by mountain artists. Heather Taylor, event co-founder, will be on site selling her art-related jewelry, “weird” trinkets, shadow boxes and her distinct artwork in all sizes and even on coasters. “It’s my goal to have a small piece of me in everyone’s home. I’m enjoying whatever creations want to come out and play, and seeing them find homes.”
Tommyknocker Holiday Bazaar

The 17th Annual Tommyknocker Holiday Bazaar takes place at the Victorian decorated Teller House in Central City, Dec. 6-7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Crafters, vendors and entertainers present their wares and talents. Kids activities and local Girl Scouts and musicians will perform during the event.

Many well-known, well-liked vendors are retuning. For the second year, Lynn Hirshman will be showing her “Handknit by Lynn” shawls, cowls, scarves and hats from extravagant and elegant yarns. She is currently working on the popular fingerless mitts in silk and merino yarn. “I love being part of an established tradition in Central City,” she said. “The market attracts people from all over the area, who come to enjoy the lovely Victorian ambiance of a Central City Christmas and I love the atmosphere at the Teller House, with a Victorian Santa and music you can actually hear.”

Georgetown Christmas Market
The 54th Annual Georgetown Christmas Market, Dec. 6-7 and Dec. 13-14, is a free outdoor European-style marketplace offering Christmas ornaments and decorations, Victorian items for the home, Colorado wine, rare books, jewlery, clothing, antiques and more from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. The market also features food vendors, museum tours and much more.
Look for the Baker Babes with their homemade croissants, lemon tarts and artisan breads. They strive to meet a variety of dietary needs and create amazing flavors. They believe that ingredients is what makes the difference between good food and great food and they are excited to be part of the Christmas Market.

Lyons Holiday Craft Bazaar
More than 75 vendors will be selling locally crafted and homemade goods at the 40th annual Lyons Holiday Bazaar, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lyons Elementary School gym.

Winter Arts Festival
The Gilpin County Community Center hosts the 12th annual Winter Arts Festival, Dec. 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event features arts, crafts, gifts and baked goods along with a visit from Santa, face painting, cookie decorating, live music and choirs, children’s ceramic handprints and more.

Wild Bear Holiday Arts & Crafts Market
Nederland’s Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center hosts a number of vendors at its first annual Weekend Holiday Arts and Crafts Market, Dec. 13-14 and Dec. 20-21, in its Eco-Arts Lounge.

Angel O’Grady will be selling her cook book, “Down Home Cookin’ From Up On The Mountain” along with some goodies made from her recipes. Check out her children’s books and art created by Anne Ott.

Look for silversmith John Kelley’s silver pendants and selenite boxes along with fiber artist Anne Stiebing’s found object jewelry and rust-dyed shirts and scarves. The two have been collaborating the past few months, exploring and innovating together to create hand-made hemp paper cards, which they will also have for sale.

Michelle Quigley, who has been handcrafting aromatherapy and artisan products since 1994, will be selling Colorado hand-made natural gifts like agate petrified wood and rock candles, essential oils, sun catchers, tapestries and more.

Support local artists and crafts-people, see your neighbors, find one-of-a-kind items and wrap-up holiday shopping at one or more craft fairs this season.

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