The Hope Town Harbour Lodge held its fourteenth annual Arts and Crafts Festival on November 29. This has become a well-loved tradition for both locals and visitors to gather on the day following Thanksgiving to enjoy an excellent and varied display of arts and crafts and also to socialize with friends over a glass of wine and some hors d’oeuvres.
According to Dianne Carey of the Hope Town Harbour Lodge, this year, though not the largest show ever, there was quite an increase in numbers over last year’s 16 participants for just over 20 artists and artisans took part. Items on display included a large variety of jewellery, paintings, shell craft, woodcarving and turning, photography, Christmas ornaments and fabric crafts.
The majority of participants are regulars at the show who, though they come back year after year, always try to add something new to their wares. However, there were a couple of first-timers, one of whom was Julie Sawyer with her line of jewellery. She uses silver and gold fill in the crafting of her pieces, many of which include sea glass and semiprecious gems but she also likes to use natural items which she finds such as driftwood, corals and seeds.
Roshanne and Richie Eyma are a very talented husband and wife duo of fine artists. They are well known in Nassau and indeed worldwide and have shown at other shows on Abaco, which is now their home, but this was their first time at the Hope Town Harbour Lodge Show. The only original painting they had at this show was a small one by Richie since all of their major works will be shown at their family art show in Marsh Harbour shortly. However, they had a large selection of prints of their works for sale.
Fabric artist, Maureen Koepp, was happy to be back at the Lodge art show this year. “It is exciting getting back since it has been a long time since I was at the Lodge show but this was originally the first show I ever did,” she stated. Maureen is a fabric artist who creates incredible pictures with cloth. These contain hundreds of small pieces and take months to complete. Her amazing work was very popular at the show.
The Every Child Counts stall is always very popular and always manned by a couple of students assisted by their art teacher. They produce a lovely variety of items which include Christmas tree ornaments, jolly driftwood Santa Claus, fabric dolls and attractive red and green holiday utensil packets produced by Starfish Enterprises at the school’s new vocational centre. A striking mosaic created entirely from buttons was the centrepiece of the ECC stall and was purchased very quickly.
Christine Sawyer uses pine needles to create her handwoven and uniquely designed pine needle baskets and jewellery. She also combines raffia and sometimes coloured thread to create the interesting patterns of her baskets. She also incorporates coloured polymer clay into her baskets, necklaces and ear-rings. When asked about the very unusual and attractive designs of her baskets she replied; “I let the pine needles direct me.” She also displayed key chains made with handmade beads.
Brenda Bain travelled all the way from Sandy Point to display her jewellery and shell crafts all made out of native materials. The sea glass she collects from Crossing Rocks and the Cays and the shells from Sandy Point and Crossing Rocks. She also makes jewellery from conch horns and fish scales which she asks the local fishermen to save for her.
Corella Sands and Vonda Bethel are two Cherokee natives who are very talented with the sewing needle. The variety and multiplicity of their crafts was amazing and included quilts, bags, iPod and phone cases, placemats, painted T-shirts and Christmas decorations.
Beautiful works of art crafted from native woods are the hallmarks of Andy Albury of Man o War Cay and Steve Knowles of Bahama Palm Shores. Mr. Albury is well known for his half boat models and Mr. Knowles for his wood bowls, billy clubs and spinning tops.
Other exhibitors were Mary Balzac, Leo and Renée Bethell, Brigette Bowyer, Kevin Carrol, Kent Le Boutiller, Marlee Mason, Kim Brody, Ann Schadt and Ginny Warner.
The Elbow Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society was represented by Tom Hazel and Paul Thompson. Their stall, from which they sold specially printed Elbow Reef Lighthouse T-shirts, was perfectly positioned on the patio overlooking the famous candy striped lighthouse itself for which they were raising funds.
A variety of excellent wines, provided by Bristol Cellars, was enjoyed by patrons and added to the festive atmosphere of the occasion along with hors d’ouevres by the Lodge. Ovidia Neilly, employee of Bristol Cellars, was very helpful in imparting information on the various red and white wines from Germany, Italy, New Zealand, California, France and Australia.
It was obvious that patrons of the show once again thoroughly enjoyed this annual event and many of the exhibitors expressed pleasure at how happy the patrons were to open their pocket books to purchase their wares. The recent renovations of the front office area made a nice addition and enlarged the space available for some lucky exhibitors. Unfortunately, those in the backroom were a little less happy as they felt that many people were not making it through to the back and they are hoping that next year traffic can be directed somewhat differently. However, the overall atmosphere was one of festivity and Christmas shopping.