Handcrafted gifts for the holidays
13 local artists participate in arts alliance market
Holiday shoppers have their choice of unique, locally-made creations at the Newark Arts Alliance’s holiday art market. That is, if the artists don’t get to them first.
“Some of our members are our best shoppers,” said Linda Majewski, Newark Arts Alliance executive director.
Established in 1993, the alliance promotes the work of local artists through various programming and a gallery space in Market East Plaza. Aside from a couple staffers, it is run by volunteers. Artists pay the alliance a commission to show work in the gallery and can receive a discount if they volunteer a few hours a month as a gallery monitor.
That means the person ringing up a patron is often an artist themselves. And sometimes also making a list.
“You’re in here at least once a month for your shift,” said jewelry artist Karen Hornor. “And every time you come in, there’s new stuff, so it’s kind of hard not to pick things up. There’s a lot of gorgeous art in here.”
With the holiday art market occupying the gallery’s special exhibit space from Nov. 22 to Dec. 30, 13 artists are displaying work. Hornor said visitors can expect to meet one or two of the artists whenever they drop in. She said it’s nice when people can give a gift and tell the recipient they met the person who made it.
Hornor’s own jewelry is brightly colored crochet beadwork and chainmail. She started making jewelry – bracelets, earrings, necklaces – a little over 10 years ago, finding inspiration in bead magazines and at workshops. At first, it was something to keep her occupied while waiting for her children’s ballet or karate practices to end. Then, when a family friend recommended the alliance gallery, she decided to see if she could sell her jewelry.
“This is how I got started,” Hornor said. “My business really was because the arts alliance was here and everybody was real supportive and helpful.”
In addition to Hornor, this year’s market includes work from: Omair Balkhi (photo letter art), Gail Bush (stained glass), Sarah Dressler (fiber art), Eleanor Fink (jewelry), Carole Fox (pottery), Catherine Houghton (alcohol inks), Ingrid Jackoway (stained glass and flame-worked pendants), Gilda Jennings (jewelry), Karen O’LoneHahn (pottery and acrylic paintings), Stephanie Przybylek (acrylic paintings), Wendy Shipman (hand-woven linens) and Mary Jane Tyrie (fused glass).
As is often the case with holiday traditions, Hornor and Majewski can’t quite remember when the Holiday Art Market began. The alliance presents 12 exhibitions each year, and the art market is a major one because it comes during the end-of-the-year shopping season, Majewski said.
“This is very important to the arts alliance, in that our mission is obviously to support local artists and give people an opportunity to have a place to market what they make, but it’s also important to us in terms of income for the arts alliance,” Majewski said.
It’s possible to walk into the gallery and spend a few dollars – there are wooden ornaments for $10 and zipper pulls for $6 – or invest in a larger piece. A couple artworks that seem to be drawing in shoppers are alcohol ink works from Catherine Houghton, who uses the thin, fast-drying paint and compressed air to give the inside of glass ornaments a vibrant, marbled look, and the curious, miniature creatures, fairies and friends from fiber artist Sarah Dressler.
Majewski said she still encounters people who don’t know about the alliance or that it’s on Main Street. She encourages them to follow the mosaic alongside of the building at 276 E. Main St. to the door to Suite 102.
“There’s not two of anything here,” Majewski said. “Even if it’s similar, it’s not going to be exactly the same because it’s handmade.”
The holiday art market at the Newark Arts Alliance is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays, and noon to 7 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 30. More information on the market and other upcoming events can be found at www. newarkartsalliance.org.
Alcohol ink ornaments from Catherine Houghton are on display at this year’s holiday art market.