Cool holiday crafts Tradition: Holiday bazaars signal the beginning of the season of gift-giving.

Up Front

November 13, 1997|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,SUN STAFF

All year long, there are craft shows going on somewhere in the world. Yet craft shows and the holidays just seem to go together like motherhood and apple pie. From churches to art collectives, the Baltimore area has dozens of craft shows for holiday gift shoppers.

One craft fair that is going on every weekend through Dec. 7 is in the historic Baltimore County community of Oella, which is adjacent to Ellicott City, Howard County. It is in the old Oella Mill. At this craft show, there are Christmas ornaments, stuffed animals and other artsy, crafty things for nearly every taste.

And there are angels, in all their many incarnations, decorating the walls or perched on tables. White angels, black angels, crocheted angels, stuffed angels, metallic angels and ceramic angels are all available for purchase.

Not in the market for an angel? Visitors have plenty of other

crafts to choose from, including individually painted glass ornaments, wall hangings, stuffed snowmen and potpourri baskets.

It's enough of a variety to please even the most discerning of shoppers. "This is very creative," shopper Vera Harp of Woodlawn commented. Harp was perusing the merchandise on a rainy Saturday afternoon with her friend. She is a veteran craft show attendee and knows a good one when she sees it.

"We go to garage sales and things like this," says Harp. "We spend every Saturday doing things like this. You might say this is how we keep our sanity."

The crafters at this show do not have to be present to sell their work. The show's producers, Celebrations of Crafts LLP, handle the sales. One shopper says that is a plus and makes for more comfortable shopping.

"I like not having the people there hovering over their things," the Ellicott City woman says. "They make you feel guilty when you don't buy anything. So sometimes, you don't even want to walk over to their table."

Katrina Bellafatto has participated in different craft shows for the past five years. The Odenton resident, whose full-time job is a florist manager, has pine cone baskets decorated with lights, dry potpourri baskets, rose pedestal arrangements and other things for sale at the show.

"The pine cone baskets with lights seem to do very well," Bellafatto says.

Artist Jill Poole creates stuffed Santa Claus and snowman crafts. "I primarily have Old World Santas," Poole says of her stock at the Oella Mill craft show. "They are kind of large, in the two feet to three feet range. And I have mantel snowmen and Santas. They are weighted on the bottom."

They usually have to restock the snowmen and Santas, which means they must be popular items, Poole says. They range in price from $22 to $65, says the Sykesville resident, who also runs a drapery and light upholstery business with family members.

Art lovers may be familiar with the name Myra Copus. She is an artist with work displayed in Maryland galleries. About four years ago, she began displaying crafts at craft shows. "I have always painted," she says. "And now I do hand-painted Christmas balls. They are glass ornaments with little scenes on them."

Crafts people who sell items like Copus, Poole and Bellafatto can tend to other matters while their work is being sold at the Oella craft show.

"They drop things off and we take care of the setup. We call them to restock," says Rita Linder of Celebration of Crafts. This is the fifth semiannual craft show Linder and her partner, Linda Stanislaw, have produced. Last year it was held at Hebron House in Ellicott City.

"This is going to be our permanent home," Linder says of the Oella Mill location. While at the craft fair, the Oella Mill itself is worth looking around. The building, built in 1808, was used as a woolen mill and burned in 1919, says Peter Ruff, one of the building's co-owners. It was rebuilt the same year and was a working textile mill until the early 1970s.

Except for one wing, which was added in 1951, everything has been here from 1919, Ruff says. The building now houses various antique shops, the Dorfman Museum Figures Inc., the Oella Mill Arts Center and a few other businesses.

The craft show at Oella Mill is not the only one going on. The Perry Hall Community Hall will be the site of the "10th Annual Christmas at Perry Hall" show taking place Nov. 21 through Nov. 30.

"I have 75 crafters that will be doing the show," says Janice Hall, who produces the Perry Hall craft show. "There will be a variety of gift ideas and crafts for family and friends."

Hall said she wouldn't guess what this year's hot seller will be. "I think every year there is something new. I think last year it was snowmen. But it varies each year because certain people are looking for certain things."

Pub Date: 11/13/97

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