In the tiny hamlet of Cottekill in Rosendale is an historic white church. Built in 1898, it’s a light-filled and airy space with high ceilings, original wood floors and stained glass windows, with a private home and spacious art studio adjoining. It once served as a place of worship for both Methodists and the Dutch Reformed, but more recently it was home to ceramics artist Ayumi Horie, who lived and worked there for 10 years before moving back home to Maine earlier this year to be closer to family. [It occurs to me that only the pull of family ties could be strong enough to get an artist to ever want to leave a space as special as this one.]
The tradition Ayumi Horie began of holding an annual craft fair on the site will be continued by the new owners this year on Saturday and Sunday, November 24 and 25, when the historic Cottekill Church will once again host Crafted: Handmade in the Hudson Valley; this will be the 3rd annual holiday shop of high quality, fine artisan wares made by regional artists to be held in this location. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, and admission is free.
Craft fairs abound at this time of year, of course, but Crafted: Handmade in the Hudson Valley is an opportunity to partake of a particularly warm and inviting holiday shopping experience. Within the serene setting of the old church, one can meet with friends by the fire while enjoying hot cider and cookies. And since the handcrafted goods are set up in open display, with just one central check-out point to purchase, browsers can feel free to look at the wares to their heart’s content without feeling any pressure to buy from individual sellers in booths.
Very relaxed, indeed.
And then there’s the why of it all. Organizers say that the show is their effort to “bring back the time when craftspeople were an integral part of their local culture and economy and were valued for their skills.” Choosing handmade, they say, “shows that you care about your community and support a world in which independent makers can thrive and practice their craft.”
The artisans taking part in this show are a dedicated and diverse group of local makers with national reputations. Collectively, they’ve been featured in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, American Craft, Huffington Post, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, New York Magazine and more.
Several of the artists will demonstrate their craft at the holiday show. Wendy Hollender will do botanical illustration each day from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. both days, Cal Patch of Hodge Podge Farm will demonstrate wool spinning techniques. Papercut artist Jenny Lee Fowler will cut custom heirloom-quality silhouettes on and off throughout the weekend using her freehand papercutting techniques, and Lauren Sandler will demonstrate hand-building with clay on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Other featured artists contributing to the show are Christine Fromm, who makes fashionable winter clothing from recycled wool, cashmere and mohair sweaters, and Ken Greene and Doug Muller of Hudson Valley Seed Library, offering heirloom seeds from their farm in Accord in “art packs,” each designed by a different artist and worthy of saving after the seeds have been planted. Ken is making seed ornaments for the event, too; clear globes filled with seeds to hang as decoration for the season. After the seeds are planted in the spring, the globes are reusable as ornaments next year.
Gina Dambra has a background in jewelry design, but will express another aspect of her creativity in Cottekill with the one-of-a-kind embroidered handmade pillows she makes; whimsical animal designs outlined with black thread on natural-colored fabric. Jasmine Redfern will offer some unusual home lighting options and home accessories, and don’t miss the tiny postage stamp paintings by Molly Rausch, either. For a complete list of participating artists and a sneak peek into what they do, visit www.craftedhudsonvalley.org. They’re also on Facebook; the link is on the website.
“Crafted: Handmade in the Hudson Valley” annual holiday shop, Saturday and Sunday, November 24 and 25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free, Cottekill Church, 167 Cottekill Rd., Cottekill; email craftedhudsonvalley@gmail, or visit craftedhudsonvalley.org.