Aldona Bird, Columns/Opinion

Fairs, markets showcase talent in community

Have I mentioned  that I love craft fairs and artisan markets? I’m loving the trend toward handmade, rather than vendor fairs (with resold objects or pyramid scheme sellers).

Over the weekend I went to three markets. I’m still a little worn out, and as not yet totally broke, bemoaning resisting a few purchases.

The first market of the weekend was WV Artisan and Farmers Market, hosted by the WV Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, at the Morgantown Marriott.

This modest market, consisted of edible goodies and a few absolute treasures including baked goods, hand-poured small-batch candles, locally grown veggies, jams and other handmade crafts and foods.

One of my regrets from this market was not investing in a stunning wooden cutting board from local woodworker, Larry J. Lutsie. These boards would add artistic flair to any kitchen. Larry created them with a patchwork of various sizes, shapes and colors of wood, unlike any other cutting boards I’ve seen.

I’ve quelled my regret by getting his promise of an interview for a future column, and the knowledge that he is local and puts his work on Facebook — Double L Woodworking. So I will get another chance to purchase this functional art.

The next market I visited was the Arthurdale Cabin Fever craft show on Saturday morning. Again I was overwhelmed by the talented vendors and beautiful items.

I’m a sucker for pottery, so I lingered at the booths of pottery vendors Studio D Pottery and Jewelry and Trail’s End Artworks.

Saturday afternoon found me at Opening Day for Trails and Spring Handmade market at Terra Cafe, in Morgantown. Again, it was hard not to buy something from every vendor.

At this market I bought wooden earrings from Wood Crafty — a vendor I interviewed and wrote about a couple years ago. I loved his work, and when I first saw it, bought some necklaces as gifts. Since then I regretted not getting anything for myself, so I was happy for another shopping opportunity.

Other fabulous vendors at this market included Eddie Spaghetti Art with wood-cut prints, Bare Mountain Studio with eco-printed clothing and Cindy Bandy O’Brian with her original children’s books.

The three craft fairs made for a busy weekend, but markets with artisans selling such fantastic works kept me interested and looking forward to more shows.

The next fair I’m particularly excited about is the Handcrafted Cooperative market on May 5, in Morgantown. The Handcrafted cooperative had its first market last fall, and the quality of work, friendliness of the vendors and community spirit really made this market a treat.

I talked to the organizer, Megan Ursic, after the market, and she said vendors were selected based on quality — she wanted customers to see that items were not only handmade but were also made with heart.

Her vision for the market was to provide a special shopping option right at home in Morgantown. Since the May 5 market will have more than 30 vendors, I think Megan’s vision has already become a reality.

Another aspect I’m loving about the Handcrafted Cooperative is that every day Megan has been using social media to introduce a vendor who will be at the market.

I love these craft fairs because I love shopping. But even more, because I love our community and seeing the talent and creativity we have amongst our friends.