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October 21, 2014
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Handmade for the holidays

Valerie Taggart's whimsical holiday ornaments are all hand painted and made from dried gourds.
TRR photos by Jonathan Fox


An active member of the Sullivan County Visitors Association (www.scva.net), Duke reflects on what the yearly event means to her by saying that “a lot of folks who visit don’t realize how many shops and artists are scattered about the area, on both sides of the Delaware River” and that “if they [the tourists] have a good time in the county, then we all win. ‘Buy local/shop local’ is what we’re all about.”

While some may be under the impression that handmade gifts are out of their price range, there is a wide variety of items and price tags at this annual show. “Where else can one purchase individually crafted silver earrings for seven dollars and fifty cents?” Duke asks while touring the showroom. On closer inspection, Jane Blake’s colorful, hand painted silk scarves are reasonably priced and many items are “inexpensive and easy to ship” anywhere in the world, she concludes.

The variety of gifts is expansive and diverse. Valerie Taggart’s hand-crafted ornaments are each created from dried gourds and Donna Greenthal, who teaches second grade in the Roscoe school district, has watercolors on hand for purchase. “People love her work” Duke enthuses, while explaining that Kathie Fitsgerald’s lampshades, Jack Yelle’s paintings and Weiner’s pottery are all perennial favorites as well.

Authors and musicians are represented, too, at Handmade for the Holidays in the form of books by local authors Marcia Nehemiah, Mary Greene, Barbara Winfield, Wendy Townsend, Joe Freda and Stacy Wakefield and Jazz pianist Kazzrie Jaxen’s new CD, “A Million Shimmering Fish,” debuts alongside recordings from “A Weekend of Chamber Music” and more. Furniture, soaps, handbags and greeting cards line the walls at Duke Pottery, as well as hand-spun wool, Claire Coleman’s tutus for the kids and sheepskin rugs produced by Apple Pond Farm.