If you had the choice of receiving a handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift or something that was mass-produced, which would you want? I know what I’d choose–something made from the heart, providing it is artfully made, of course. There is artful, and then there is “artful.” A family member once made me an “artful” sweatshirt. I still can’t talk about it.
Normally I make paintings specific to each gift recipient; it beats buying a soulless item from a big box store, although such gifts have their place. Back in the ’60s, my dad built a color TV from a kit–remember Heathkit?–but not everyone has the patience and expertise to do something like that. Plus, Heathkit is no more. And it wasn’t all that much fun for the rest of the family because Dad was overly picky and constantly adjusting the contrast and color on the TV even while we were watching it. This was especially devastating when Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom came on, and he wouldn’t quit until it was perfect. Which it never was.
Thinking back, I have a hunch he built his oscilloscope and tube tester from Heathkit kits as well. I was in love with that tube tester, but only rarely would he let me test any tubes, and only if I caught him testing some. He was so darn secretive about it.
Anyway, I digress. I usually make paintings for my special recipients, but this year I’m not; my paints and other art supplies are packed away because I’m moving soon. No problem, thanks to UICA’s fabulous Holiday Artists’ Market.
Here are only some of the cool things you’ll find this year: Beautifully crafted gifts and goods from dozens of regional artists—from jewelry, home goods, and fine art to holiday cards, accessories, and toys. Live music by The Kent County String Band Friday 6-8 pm for your enjoyment, and local food and beverage vendors both days while you shop… plus craft stations for kids and grown-ups, and a photo booth. You can even create your own gift wrap.
This year the UICA Holiday Artists’ Market is at the Steelcase Town Hall, 901 44th St. SE, Grand Rapids so you can browse, meet the artists and have more room to stroll. Admission and parking are both FREE at this two-day event.
It’s a win-win-win: Not only will your gift recipient be pleased and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you made someone feel very special, but you’ll be supporting local artists, too. Here are even more cool things you’ll find… and this by no means an exhaustive list:
– One-of-a-kind assemblages
– Handcrafted leather work
– Bonsai plant balls
– Pewter works
– Fine-art photography
– Decorative ceramic art
– Fiber arts
– Illustrated paper goods
– Functional ceramic art
– Ecological art
– Organic jewelry
Two days only. If you miss it, you’ll have to wait another whole year.
Friday, December 4th:
UICA Member Preview: 5:30-6 pm
Public Welcome: 6-9 pm
Saturday, December 5th:
Public Welcome: 10 am-7 pm