SPRINGFIELD — I have lived in Springfield for almost fifteen years. As an artist and instructor of classes at Willamalane, I am always surprised when I learn about events from press releases that I receive as a journalist, advertising events that have been going on in my community that I have never heard about. One such hidden gem I recently learned about is a spring craft fair right here in Springfield. Willamalane has been hosting the Holiday Marketplace for thirty one years. This year it hosted its second annual Spring Marketplace.
According to Tinker Flom, the director of the program, “The success of our annual Holiday Marketplace inspired the Spring Marketplace event. The event is a way for us to support and celebrate the creativity and passion of our community members and showcase local artisans’ unique and handmade goods.”
This year’s Spring Marketplace had over 30 vendors. Their wares featured spring and garden-themed items like birdhouses and fairy doors, Mother’s Day gifts such as coffee mugs with mom themes, vintage decorations and furnishings, art, woodworking, and handcrafted items. Also on sale were soup, salad, and sandwich options by Willamalane’s culinary instructor, Chef Stanley.
Sheila Barry of SMB Custom Crafts in Springfield was selling a variety of upcycled creations, from fairy decorations, cards made from old magazines, bamboo vases, and recycled fencing turned into fairy doors. Her “chain-pulled” paint pours are unusual and different from other paint pours typically displayed in galleries. She first started out making natural products with dried flowers, moss, cones, and nuts, but they didn’t sell. She tried something new with recycled materials to save costs, but also found a market for her products. Her cards featured spirelli, a string art technique, that makes each card an original work of art.
Like many artists, she found it difficult to talk about her art. But it wasn’t difficult for her longtime customer and friend, Sherry Kessel, to rave about Barry’s style. “She is queen of making something beautiful out of other people’s junk!”
Pat Engelmann of Earth’s Candy in Springfield rocked—literally. She has been wire wrapping stones to make jewelry for twelve years, more recently moving on to assemblages of rocks that form landscapes. Engelmann runs the rock shop at Willamalane Adult Activity Center (WAAC), where they help people cut, polish and identify rocks. She also is president of the Springfield Thunderegg Rock Club. This group offers $100 scholarships to seniors planning on majoring in Earth science or geology, and they legislated for the thunderegg to be the state rock.
Jason Eury, who works at WAAC, was selling resin rounds, a combination of wood and resin art. His booth sold clocks, magnets, key chains, and jars. His most popular items were the magnets and dragon journals. When asked what made him start this art form, he said with a laugh, “I got bored!” He only started this new passion during Covid to pass the time and now sells items at random events and the gift shop at WAAC. His next event is the Eugene Pride Parade.
Jackie Isaksen of Begonia’s and Friends sold cuttings and plants. Sweet Candy Farm was one of the vendors selling confectionary delights. Lulu’s Lair sold 3-D printed dragons for reasonable prices. (So reasonable, I bought three!) There were many other venders selling craft items, too many to list.
The musician at the event was 10-year-old Mateus da Silva, who played a variety of genres, including classical, jazz, and show tunes. This young performer started playing music when he was five years old. When asked what he enjoyed about performing, da Silva said, “I feel like a lot of the time, I come to events because people enjoy the music. . . . I can look around after I am done and enjoy looking at the stuff.”
If this is the first time you are hearing about this event, mark your calendars for next year to attend the craft fair in the spring—or sooner. The holiday craft fair will also be at Bob Keefer Center.