Local Artisans Reveal Handicrafts at Community Market

Local artisans made good use of a warm spring day by offering their handmade products for sale during the City of Sweet Home’s second annual weekly Community Market event on Saturday, May 11.

Chris Tenbusch hangs up wind spinners at his wife’s booth, Jess’s Craft Therapy. Photos by Sarah Brown

A wide variety of selections were made available for anyone interested in items such as plants, clothing, hand-drawn designs, jewelry, used goods, face painting, crafts, refreshing drinks, wool products, meat, indigenous beadwork and baked goods.

Terry and Shawna Penix seemed happy to find Annie’s Backyard Sourdough at the market, where they bought a jalapeno sourdough loaf. They said they’d first tried it several weeks ago and really liked the flavor.

“You can taste everything in there in every bite, the jalapeno and the cheese,” Terry said.

Their friend Chad Van Scyoc also chimed in, raving about the flavor.

“You can taste the difference between a store-bought bread and this bread,” he said.

Cindy Moore walked from booth to booth searching for tie-dye t-shirts. While she didn’t find any vendors selling her desired fashion, Moore did find reusable egg cartons and some hand-printed canvas bags to purchase.

Terry Penix purchases fresh sourdough bread from Annie’s Backyard Sourdough at the Community Market.

Multiple booths displayed the wide range of skills of craft artisans residing in Sweet Home and the surrounding area. Caryn Wise sold fused glass art, Freddie Bigelow offered bird houses designed with faces of old bearded men, and Kitana Waterman and Kylyen Kaping had jewelry made from tiny rubberbands.

According to Mayor Susan Coleman, the Community Market was implemented by the city in response to requests for opportunities to sell locally-made goods.

“We’re just trying to stir up local interest in our downtown and give people something to do to go shopping in Sweet Home,” she said.

Coleman explained how the weekly Saturday markets differ from the weekly Tuesday Farmers’ Market held in the same location.

“The Farmers’ Market is locally grown produce and the Community Market is more like artisan things, like woodworking or t-shirts,” she said.

Andrea McClintock paints the face of Kylyen Kaping during the first Community Market of the year.

Clarice Lugo and her friends were selling handmade Native American seed bead jewelry.

“I think it’s a good opportunity, mainly because it’s my first time ever doing it and it was very accessible,” Lugo said about the opportunity to sell at the market. “You just need to sign up and it’s free. Those are all pros, especially when it comes to being a first-time (seller).”

Next to her was Pam Hewitt’s Rock ‘N Wool Ranch booth, where one could find a variety of unique items made from the wool of her own Navajo-Churro sheep, raised here in Sweet Home.

“They’re an endangered breed, so we’re trying to bring back their genetic diversity,” Hewitt said. “They produce many different colors, typically one or two colors per sheep. The wool is relatively primitive, relatively coarse, so it’s good for weaving and making the blankets, as well as felting.”

Hewitt’s booth included felted wool mats, dryer balls and soap wrapped in wool. She explained that the wool helps lather the soap and reduces the chance for the soap to slip out of the hands; also, after the soap is used up, you’re left with a washcloth.

Felicia Smith rubs her hand on Pam Hewitt’s felted wool mats to see what they feel like.

Rock ‘N Wool Ranch also sells beef, lamb, chicken, eggs and herbal tea.

Library employee Joy Kistner helped coordinate the market this year, directing vendors where to place their tables in the parking lot behind All Star Pizza. She expected more than 30 vendors at the first market event, but a couple unexpected vendors showed up as well.

Kistner noted that, although there is no charge to have a booth at the Community Market, it’s important for sellers to register online through the city at sweethomeor.gov/community/webform/community-market-vendor-registration.

The Community Market is expected to operate every Saturday through Sept. 21, but there might be some dates canceled due to city wide events, such as Sportsman’s Holiday.