Nothing could be more perfect on a crisp autumn day in October than heading to an artisan fair. The Americal Civic Center in Wakefield held the fair on Saturday, raising money for the Hallmark Health VN and Hospice, which provides care for many in the greater Boston area.
Among the tables in the Americal Hall, Janine Degusto (and Mom! as her sign said) presented an array of crocheted and knit hats and scarves. Janine’s mother handles the knitting as Janine herself prefers to work with one needle. Although she has a machine, Degusto said she hasn’t used it, preferring needlework on her own or with company when it comes to working with challenging materials like eyelash yarn.
Just the Thing had an adorable setup featuring stuffed bears, bunnies, and other animals — all dipped in soy. The stuffed creatures were not candles, just immersed in soy so that they retain and give off a wonderful scent without having to burn. The soy stuck just so to the fur, creating a butter cream texture for the toys as they sat looking out from their shiny cellophane tents.
Judi Keleman, helming her Westwind Designs table, showed off a host of items ranging from scented sachets to soaps to original photography. Keleman said she buys her soap in bulk from a supplier in Michigan, all made from goat’s milk. The aromatic balsam fir inside the sachets came from Maine. As for taking pictures, Keleman said that she likes to take her camera with her everywhere she goes. With a Fine Arts degree in film from Mass Art, Keleman used to do photo gigs, finding that the work brought her to interesting places she’d normally never see. For her own work though, she likes to find a route in local towns and areas and just go, snapping foliage, lighthouses and other New England staples.
Lison Scalzo, specializing in paper crafts, displayed loads of adorable pieces — cards that held hot cocoa packets, hidden Hershey bars, and gift card holders. Scalzo said that she gives classes for making paper crafts out of her home in Wakefield. Called Saturday Morning Craft Café, all ages can attend and learn how to create their own paper goodies.
At a table juggling both Bags for Bookworms and Lee’s Fabric Creations, Lee R. Dixon literally had her hands full working on a Dammit Doll. With a supply of quilts, cozies for wine bottles and glasses, she is willing to do plenty of custom creations. Her Bags for Bookworms line was rather new — a prototype on display sat on top of a stack of literature, the bag itself made from the hardcover of an old book. Lined with an olive fabric as a nice chromatic match, Lee said she was testing different handle types. The present model had black rectangular handles and closed with a button loop. The greens and the aquas, she found, were the prettiest —Lee also said she’s working on a Pride and Prejudice bag for her daughter.
Kathy Fortini and her mother Jane Danielson showed off their doll clothing tailored for American Girl dolls. Rain slickers, party dresses and holiday cape and muff sets hung on a petite clothes line, bookended by custom, handcrafted beds. Kathy said her grandchildren often pick out pieces they like the best and shop for their dolls. The holiday time brings some pressure to creating outfits, but Kathy said she and her mother find they have a week in between each craft show that they appear at to catch up.
Every vendor at the artisan fair also put an item up for silent auctions that occurred throughout the day. Those proceeds provided additional fundraising for the Hospice. It was a charming day to shop around that helped a great cause.