Valley craft fair opens Friday

I usually don’t get anxious at the hairdresser’s but last week was different.

THE COMOX VALLEY Christmas Art Gallery Christmas Craft Fair is one of Paula Wild's favourite “find something for everyone” shops.

I usually don’t get anxious at the hairdresser’s but last week was different.

Not because of what wonderful Stefanie was doing to my hair. It’s what she said.

“I’ve already bought a lot of my Christmas gifts,” she announced while trimming my bangs. “There’s less than 60 days left until the Big Day, you know.”

Each snip of the scissors increased my panic. I hadn’t even thought of Christmas much less bought anything.

But by the time Stefanie switched on the blow dryer, I had relaxed. One of my favourite “find something for everyone” shops would surely save the day again.

The 39th Comox Valley Christmas Art Gallery Christmas Craft Fair opens Nov. 15 and runs through Dec. 28. Opening day features a discount of 10 per cent to the general public and 15 per cent to gallery members.

CVAG shop manager Rhonda Burden promises a dazzling selection of fibre art, jewelry, candles, pottery, two-dimensional art and more.

“You’ve heard of the 100-mile diet,” she says. “The fair is a 100-mile array of arts and crafts primarily from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Everything is handcrafted and distinctive for its quality and style.”

Some familiar favourites include hand-blown glass ornaments by Ted Jolda and David Sivertz, hand-painted wooden ornaments from Tree and Bee Treasures and fabric and whimsical fabric and wood ornaments from Sawdust & Stitches.

New artistic gems include beautifully turned wooden cases for pens fashioned from different types of wood, as well as wooden salad bowls, which Burden says are always popular.

“We’ll also have some cedar and spalted alder wine boxes,” she says. “These make unique hostess gifts and can be used to store special bottles of wine or anything else a person wants to put in them.”

People looking for something non-traditional might be interested in the recycled aluminum ornaments created from repurposed pop cans and aluminum wire.

“We’ll have two-dimensional art assemblages created from found objects,” adds Burden. “Some people think of them as home protective charms.”

And for the yoga crowd the fair has wrist warmers and yoga socks featuring open heels and toes created from “upcycled” sweaters.

For those looking for something to impress, large scale landscape photographs — some measuring more than a metre long — make a dramatic statement.

Vibrant colours with shiny embellishments on repurposed port, wine and Orangina bottles combine elegance with usefulness.

“The bottles are designed for olive oil or special vinegars,” says Burden, “but can be used for any liquid such as hand soap. They’re really lovely.”

Foodies will welcome Dark Side Chocolate, Big D’s Honey and As You Like It barbecue/dipping sauces and salad dressings. “As You Like It also offers vegetarian mincemeat, which comes with a mincemeat square recipe,” says Burden.

As well as a gift for everyone, the fair also provides a price for all budgets. “People will find stocking stuffers for as little as $2.50 and objects d’art for $500,” says Burden.

“CVAG always welcomes new volunteers and we especially appreciate the extra help for the Christmas fair,” Burden adds. “Anyone interested can contact the gallery. Training is provided.”

CVAG will be open late Nov. 22 — the kickoff for the Downtown Courtenay BIA WinterFest 2013 and Moonlight Magic Sale — as well as Dec. 19, 20, 21 and 23. Visit CVAG for Sunday shopping on Dec. 15 and 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. but remember, they close at 3 p.m. on Dec. 24.

Paula Wild is a published author and regular contributor to the Comox Valley Record’s arts and entertainment section. www.paulawild.ca.

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