WAYNESBURG – In five years, the Nathanael Greene Foundation Holiday Craft Blast has managed to outgrow the basement of First Baptist Church, Waynesburg, and the 4-H building at the county fairgrounds.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, more than 65 crafters, artisans, authors and chefs will fill the new Readiness Center at 500 EverGreen Drive with some of the best locally grown holiday presents money can buy. And best of all, those who do the making will be there to tell you how it’s done.
“At first, I thought the most exciting thing about this year’s Craft Blast was the new location, but then I started meeting the new vendors and I am even more excited by what they’re bringing to sell,” organizer Jeanne Stacher said.
“It’s wonderful that this many artists are interested in joining us. Shoppers will appreciate the Armory – no steps to climb and plenty of parking. Nat Greene is making homemade soup and sandwiches like they always do. Some people claim the thing that gets them back every year is the soup!”
Returning crafters have a fan base that comes to shop their newest line of jewelry, pottery, stitchery, candles and painted furnishings, Stacher noted.
“We look forward to seeing Lena and Phil Galing with their wonderful line of alpaca products, Becky Keck Pottery, Beth Beads Jewelry, Janie Deemers Primitives and Kim Stoll’s handmade soaps,” she said. “We have new crafters like Mary Bainbridge from Mannington, W.Va., with quilted bags and fashion scarfs by Rita Shimek and Mary Carney. Mary McKee has hand-poured scented candles, Janice Barzanti makes FireRocks oil lamps and Black Cat Valley Farms is bringing their private label jelly.”
First-time vendor Jan Klinefelter of Waynesburg is no stranger to the disciplines of cutting glass, and it shows in her bright, well-crafted offerings made in her own garage.
“I started 25 years ago and always loved it. When I lived in St. Charles (Missouri) I worked with stained glass for 10 years. People would come into the shop and say ‘I want to buy something that isn’t from China.’ Now that I’ve moved here I’m back into it, doing shows and having house parties.”
Her original designs are some of her most popular – dragon flies on long metal gardening rods and leaves and butterflies dancing on decoratively twisted rods, ready to hang in the window or place in a flower pot or garden plot to catch the rays.
Wintering in Florida and doing craft shows there gives Klinefelter an insight into how geography affects people’s taste in design.
“In Florida it’s sea horses, starfish and sand dollars. Here it’s butterflies, dragonflies and birds. I had a house party recently and made a lot of angels because it’s the season. But I ended up selling all my hummingbirds instead. I must say, people here really like birds.”
“I bought one of her birds as a gift, but I liked it so much I kept it. Now I want to get everyone she has,” Nancy Riggle of M and N Jewels, admitted. Her own line of jewelry that will be for sale on Saturday also reflects the taste of the times.
“One year it’s pearls and crystals, then stones. Now it’s back to stones,” Riggle said. “Wherever we travel we shop for beads and stones, whatever we can find. Our motto is ‘This is fun!’ and it still is. Our specialty orders are growing and I think most of the crafters at the show are willing to do custom work, so don’t be afraid to ask.”