Artisans’ Fair

After several days of Black Friday gargantuan best-ever unbelievable don’t-lose-out bargain  e-mails, I vowed that on the day after Thanksgiving I was not going to patronize any establishment that used “Black Friday” in its PR. For a while there it looked as if this meant I would spend no money at all. This was no tragedy, since I have 95% determined that in the very near future I am going to commit Nook — whether Tablet or Color I haven’t decided, but either way that will take care of my disposable income for the next three months or so.

The Ag Hall in November

Presently it dawned on me that the Artisans’ Fair was up at the Ag Hall today and tomorrow. Neither the fair nor the artisans include Black Friday in their lexicon, and it was highly unlikely that anyone in attendance would pepper-spray her fellow shoppers in an attempt to get the best deal. As Reuters reported late this afternoon: “Up to 20 people were injured after a woman used pepper spray at a Walmart in Los Angeles to get an edge on her competitors. In a second incident, off-duty officers in North Carolina used pepper spray to subdue rowdy shoppers waiting for electronics.”

Jeri's glass

So after doing a decent amount of work and going for a bike ride with Travvy, I headed over to the Ag Hall. It was a little after three, late afternoon this time of year. The fair closed for the day at four, but there were still plenty of cars parked in more or less orderly rows in the field. What greeted me as soon as I passed through the door were the glowing colors of Jeri Dantzig’s glasswork. Nothing black about this Friday!

At least half the fun of the Artisans’ Fair is greeting friends and acquaintances among the artisans and the browsers. This I did. Tom Barrett was there, from whom I bought a most wonderful pair of brown sheepskin slippers at the Labor Day weekend fair. I told him how well-made the slippers were, and how comfortable and warm. Back in September Tom told me that he repaired damage done by dogs. I didn’t say that any damage done by Travvy would likely be irreparable. I was pleased to report that no dog damage had been done, though the brown sheepskin was now liberally garnished with malamute fur.

Photographer Lynn Christoffers, with Cynthia's cat, Daphne, looking over her shoulder

Cynthia Riggs and Lynn Christoffers were selling copies of Victoria Trumbull’s Martha’s Vineyard.  A bit of background: Cynthia is the author of a series of mysteries — 10 so far and she’s still going strong — set on Martha’s Vineyard and featuring Victoria Trumbull, a 92-year-old amateur sleuth based on Cynthia’s late mother, the remarkable Dionis Coffin Riggs.

Author Cynthia Riggs signs a book

This is a wonderfully idiosyncratic Vineyard guidebook that features snippets from the mysteries, excerpts from Dionis’s poems, and the marvelous images of Lynn Christoffers, one of the island’s greatly undersung photographers. Step Wesley drew the maps, and Janet Holladay came up with a design that combines these myriad parts into a cohesive whole. I copyedited the manuscript, but I hadn’t seen the final product. It’s beautiful. I bought two.

Washington Ledesma was there with his always colorful and intriguing ceramics. Knitwear and woodwork were well represented, as were painting and photography. I forced myself to walk past all the jewelry — I really want a pair of gold post earrings (I’ve got three unmatched ones whose mates have gone permanently missing), but that’s the kind of splurge that’s off-limits if I’m going to commit Nook. Ditto Betsy Edge’s Fleece Dreams booth: her velvety skirts and dresses make me forget how seldom I wear anything but jeans or shorts.

Linda Alley of New Lane Sundries

Edible artisanship is more likely found at the Farmers’ Market, which is now on its biweekly fall schedule, but Linda Alley was there with her New Lane Sundries. She had bowls set out so one could sample her jams, jellies, marmalades, and mustards. So what if yesterday I swore I’d never eat again? First I sampled, then I bought one jar of hot English mustard and another of ginger pear marmalade. I’ve got some excellent bread to spread them on.

Black Friday was never mentioned. No one was going ape for electronics because there were no electronics for sale. Shoppers and shopkeepers were all cordial to the max, and no police officers were in sight. Just another post-Thanksgiving Friday in West Tisbury . . .

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About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has two blogs going on WordPress. "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories" is about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard. "Write Through It" is about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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2 Responses to Artisans’ Fair

  1. Sell those unmatched gold earrings at Moonstone…you might get enough to buy a matched set.

    Like

  2. Sylvia deMurias says:

    Thanks for the wonderfully descriptive piece
    about this event; I wish I could be there (and
    I so agree – I happily avoided stores today)

    Like

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