Shop till you drop this weekend

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By Special to the Monitor

The original Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair is here and it will be better than ever.

A Los Alamos tradition for 41 years, the annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair will be held from 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Los Alamos Middle School.

The Los Alamos Arts Council (LAAC) will host the event. Admission is free. To keep the tradition of a pre-Thanksgiving, holiday shopping spree alive, the LAAC has lined up more than 100 artists from across New Mexico. As in past years, jewelry, pottery, painting, and photography will be among the highlights, as well as a wide range of holiday-oriented crafts.

New to the fair this year is jeweler Ralph Sena. Sena works mostly in silver with turquoise, but he also uses gold combined with precious stones in his pieces. His basic techniques are fabrication, lost wax casting and filigree. His style has evolved over 30-plus years and his work has been shown in Great Britain, Japan and Italy. It also can be found in the International Museum of Folk Art in Santa Fe and the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, as well as several galleries in the area.

Sena will be sharing a booth with Carol Maberry who paints in oil and acrylic.

Lauren Tobey, another artist new to the fair, runs Meltdown Studio, a jewelry studio/school in Albuquerque. After studying small metals at UNM, she found herself unable to create due to lack of a studio and equipment, and was inspired to design a new space. The studio offers a membership and members can use the studio as they choose. There are also classes for individuals and groups in small metals, glass fusing, resin techniques, stone and more. Tobey and other Albuquerque artists teach the classes.

Painter Carolyn Barford also makes her first appearance at the fair this year.

Her images show what life would be like “if we were bears and dogs in a world where all things are possible.”

She has found scenes for these pieces in everyday experiences in the mountains, deserts and farms of Colorado and New Mexico during the last 20 years.

Returning artist Mary Val Whitesides will be at the fair with her very popular vintage quilt items, which are all one of a kind.

She travels the country searching for old quilts then returns home and makes her collections of animals using these pieces of antiquity.

Barbara Campbell will again be at the fair with her Artifacts Stoneware. Her work has been exhibited nationally since 1971 and has become part of major collections across the country. Her tableware is high-fired stoneware. All pieces are non-toxic, dishwasher safe, oven proof and may be safely put into the microwave.

Sometimes the search for artistic talent is close to home. For instance, some of the popular exhibitors at the Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair hail from Los Alamos. Kathy Hjeresen of Kathy’s Natural Designs makes jewelry and has been coming to the fairs for years and Carol Hogsett does gourd art and will also be showing gourd baskets this year.

The LAAC also donates spaces to nonprofit organizations.

Among this year’s groups, the Animal Shelter will be on hand publicizing its calendars, DALA will be there to sell tickets to the Nutcracker performance, and the LAHS Band will be taking orders for poinsettias.

As in past years there will be food and beverages offered for exhibitors and shoppers alike.

The Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair is a major fundraising event for the Los Alamos Arts Council.

Proceeds from booth rental fees are used to present cultural programs throughout the year.

For more information about the Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair, call 663-0477 or check out the LAAC Web site at www.laartscouncil.org.