This weekend I went to the North East Alabama Craftsman Association (NEACA) craft show with my mom and boyfriend. I’ve been going to this craft show for several years, and I see many of the same vendors there year after year.
Some of the vendors are wonderful. They make crafts with heart and wit and skill.
My favorite lady at the NEACA craft shows is one who makes old-style holiday themed dolls and such. I can’t tell you her name, because she doesn’t have a business card or any tags sewn into her work.
This is a snowlady that my mother bought for me last year at the craft show.
I love her. She has so much character and charm. It is a little hard to see in this photograph, but she has eyelids over her button eyes. Her dress isn’t brand new, the lace is crumpled and the satin looks like it has been worn for centuries. Her little mouse friend has wooden stick-arms, and his fabric body has been dipped in wax and baked. Everything in this artist’s booth looks as if it has come out of an old chidren’s book, where adults were mean and cold and you weren’t sure the story would end happily.
When my mother bought the snowlady, I told the artist how much I loved her work. Her husband was standing behind the booth, and he overheard me.
“She’s got pieces of these things all around the house, baking in the oven, drying in the bathroom.” He said.
I love the image of art being in pieces all around a person’s home, and of her bringing all of those pieces together to make a piece of art, a craft, that is singular and delightful.
Yet there are other booths at the craft fair that we pass by and whisper, “I could do that.” We hear ourselves echoed in other people, “I know how to do that.”
A canvas bag with an iron-on image of Pooh Bear traced in gold puff-paint.
A plastic glass with a monogrammed initial stuck to the outside.
A bag of marshmallows labeled as “Snowman Poop” with a rhyming poem attached.
I do not know if my snowlady is made with the best stitching, if the techniques for aging her clothes and rat companion came out the way they were meant. But she makes me smile each Winter when I pull her out of storage and set her in my living room.
She holds together. She’s interesting. She has Story.
And that’s all it takes to make me come back to the snowlady maker’s booth each time, excited to see what’s new.