Early Bird Bazaar showcases local talent
Liz Leech, of Cabin Fever Creations, displays her 100 percent soy candles at the Early Bird Bazaar.
As Christmas shoppers stormed the massive malls and box stores the weekend after Thanksgiving, fighting to get in the door, even pepper spraying to get ahead, about a dozen local Seward artisans and small home-craft business people plied their unique wares Saturday at the Early Bird Bazaar at the Breeze Inn. It was a chance to shop for gifts locally a weekend before the Holiday Craft Fair arrives at the Alaska Railroad Terminal. But more, it was a chance to socialize, and support one’s talented community members, and keep shopping money in the community.
Teresa Anderson, who is expecting a child in January, tended a booth featuring her mother-in-law’s aprons, gift bags and recycled shoulder bags. Anderson also contributed some sets of glass ornamental bulbs she painted with acrylics. Anderson is hoping to start a window-painting business in Seward and the bulbs were a way to showcase her artistic abilities to potential customers. Art takes time, and Teresa and Dan’s 18-month-old toddler puts plenty of demands on her attention as she attempts to paints her bulbs, so she couldn’t wait for Dan to come home and amuse their daughter for a while, so she could get more done. The ornaments have historic Seward themes; such as one taken from an old photograph of a sled dog team in front of Brown & Hawkins, which was taken in July, along with a map of the Iditarod Trail. The sled was carrying half a pound of gold, Anderson said. But what’s more amazing perhaps, was the fact that there was enough snow in July that year for dog sledding, she said. Can you imagine it snowing during the Mt. Marathon Race?
Monica Chase, a mother with another full time job, has a workshop in which she makes organic soy-based gourmet caramels, occasional wedding cakes and 3-D cakes on order. The online small business she created boasts all manner of flavored caramels, including a vegan one without soy, and a blueberry one. Chase uses no corn syrup. She doesn’t sell her caramels anywhere but folks can order them from her website at AlaskanDermish.com. Monica’s realistic little Extra-Tuff boots on a stick, made from chocolate cake, were a big hit at a recent Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance fundraiser desert contest, taking first place in the popular vote.
Ron Holland has been experimenting with bead making for the past six years, having purchased a torch, a kiln and the other materials needed for forming glass. His booth featured bowls of colorful glass beads in all shapes, carved wooden walking canes and soft gift bags he fashioned from recycled work gloves. His art work is more of a hobby at this point, Holland said. As far as making a business of his hobby, well, it’s problematic. For one, he’s still learning, and also, the hobby is expensive. Postage costs have recently skyrocketed, making the shipping cost more expensive than the glass itself. “I do what I can do, and sell what I can sell,” Holland said.
Collette Brantingham, another talented Seward resident from Hooper Bay, proudly displays some of her miniature basket earrings, each of which could fit on a thumb fingernail. They are intricately woven, and one can remove and replace each basket’s top. Brantingham learned to make beach grass baskets, plucked from the grass dunes where she grew up, as a wee child, from her mother. She and her siblings used to make the starters for the baskets that their mother made to barter for things like flour, coffee or tea at the local store. Collette gave up her Native Alaska crafts in her teens, returning to them only as a hobby during her later working years. Now retired, she can make them whenever she wants, and clearly loves the process. She also sells some beautiful beaded dream-catchers.
Ron Holland showed up at the Early Bird Bazaar to showcase his hobby of forming glass, wood carvings and much more.
Liz Leech, of Cabin Fever Creations is widely known in craft circles for her colorful, sweet smelling, 100 percent soy candles, with flavors such as Jasmine, Plumeria and Lily Garden. She also creates beaded chokers/hat-bands, earrings and high-end necklaces. Leech also sold the SOS Pet Calendar that features photographs of local pets such as Bingo, on his yacht on the cover. Miss August is Luna the Kayaking cat, shown aboard a Kayak on the water. There’s also a lizard named Dog. All of the money from those calendars go to the local SOS program to help spay and neuter pets, among other things. They can be purchased at Megan’s Stuff, at Alaska Beads N’ Things, at the Yukon Bar and Breeze Inn Bar.
Megan, of Megan’s Stuff also had a booth featuring knitted hats, local handmade postcards, print hoodies and much more. She plans to keep regular store hours throughout December to allow more people to fill their gift list for the holidays.