Daily photos by Gary Cosby Jr. |
Donna Henderson lavishly decorates her potpourri “cakes” and gives them various scents between getting to know crafters and customers.
Crafting a revival
Skilled artisans now have local corner to sell their wares
Shop attracts variety of crafters looking for a creative outlet
By Patrice Stewart
Some people drop by the shop to check out the “gourd people” in overalls and housedresses that hang around out front.
Then they see the wooden waterwheel and the outhouse built for use as a potting shed.
They go inside to browse the variety of handmade items inside Crafter-Corner. And as they leave, they say they’ll be back to do some Christmas shopping — and bring friends and relatives.
Artists and craftspeople say they are glad to have somewhere to display and sell their items without having to stay in a booth at a craft show for two or three days.
These gourd people, which double as birdhouses and scarecrows, are among those crafted by D.A. Ray. They attract attention in front of Crafter-Corner.
There’s nothing like it in Huntsville, said Gloria Christian, whose items were the first to go on display in the shop.
The Huntsville woman has been decorating gourds for nine years and recently added scented soaps made with coconut, soy and olive oils, soy candles and floral arrangements to her line.
“I do a lot of craft shows in Huntsville, but in between shows my items are just sitting around, so I’m glad to be able to have them on display where people can see them,” said Christian.
She said last year some artists and crafters talked about putting together such a shop in Huntsville, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Most of the other crafters represented are from Morgan County and nearby. Christian, however, took the lead early in helping alert crafters to the new shop by getting an e-mail sent to fellow members of the Alabama Gourd Society, asking them to mention it to friends with other types of crafts.
“If any one person helped open the doors for us, she did,” said Roy Henderson. “That’s how we found D.A. Ray and his gourd people and other work. We’re all like one big family now.”
Gene Sheridan of Decatur said he just happened to see the Crafter-Corner name on the window and stop in one day.
While all the crafts in the shop are made in the Valley, some reflect the Southwest and other areas, such as this cutout wooden skull and necklace featuring turquoise.
“We got to talking and I took it from there,” he said, and now his wire-wrapped jewelry creations are on display in a Crafter-Corner case. He has led workshops in other states and would like to teach classes there if the shop owners begin to offer them, as they hope.
“I think this town needs more support for crafts people,” Sheridan said. “It doesn’t even have a bead shop, since the one that was here closed.”
In his travels, he said, “I’ve seen a shop that was similar, but not nearly as professional as this one is.”
He dropped by Thursday to chat with the Hendersons and found they had sold four of his rings, bracelets and pendants recently.
One woman from Arkansas who visited recently while her husband was in a fishing tournament here said she would send some of her tatting.
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