Handmade Christmas comes to Columbus this weekend

Published 9:48 pm Thursday, November 28, 2013

Linda Wulff is one of several value-added vendors who will sell items at the Handmade Christmas market n Columbus. (photo submitted)

Linda Wulff is one of several value-added vendors who will sell items at the Handmade Christmas market n Columbus. (photo submitted)

A Handmade Christmas, the new winter Saturday market in Columbus, will link Polk County folks with new sources of homegrown happiness.

“People can buy locally and feel like they’re doing good,” said Linda Wulff, a local artist and marketplace organizer. “If people buy locally, that gives our artists an income, and the vendors will turn around and put that money back into our community. It makes it easier to keep our community strong and growing.”

The Columbus Farmers Market by the county courthouse has closed for the winter, but weather permitting, 22 vendors will set up shop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown Columbus. A Handmade Christmas will occur at Stearns Park on Nov. 30 and Dec. 14, and near the courthouse where the farmers market occurs, Dec. 7 and 21.

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“People often say they want to get gifts for friends and family, but then the farmers market closes and they don’t know how to reach the vendors,” Wulff said. “Now they can find us.”

Ernie Kan, artist and town commissioner, worked with Wulff and other vendors to create the opportunity. They plan a Santa’s mailbox, where children can leave notes for Santa and get a response, and there will be a drawing for a basket of goodies for anyone who spends $20 or more.

“Many vendors have second jobs, or don’t have full-time jobs, and some of us depend on those Saturday earnings to buy our own groceries and presents for our families,” Wulff said. “What goes around comes around, and we can keep our own community vibrant by supporting each other.”

A Handmade Christmas features pottery, ceramics, handmade jewelry, wreathes, wool felted gift items, fabric and yarn art, metal work and woodworking. Vendors also feature jams and jellies, and pet gifts, such as homemade dog biscuits and pet beds.  The setting creates a personal connection between people who create the goods and people who purchase them.

“I love it,” Wulff said. “It satisfies my need to create and I get to see other people smile.”

A Handmade Christmas will offer many unique and beautiful items at a very reasonable cost, she said. A bitter storm inspired one of her own most popular items.

“I hand carve designs into a hollow round ball, and the designs project onto the walls when the candle’s lit,” she said. “I lived amid pine trees, and we had a massive down and went without power for six days, no television, no nothing except candlelight. I thought it would be fun to make a sun face on top of one of the candle holders, and then when I lit the candle, that sun face flickered and moved with the candlelight.”

Wulff also makes wind bells with materials specific to the woods here. When she lived in California, her wind bells were made of driftwood and animal figurines. Here, inspired by the birds in these woods, she creates the bells using mountain laurel and bird figurines.

Many people grin when they read her plaques, with phrases like, “I wish my dog had a snooze button,” and “Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency for me.”

“People like to buy the plaques as gifts, and sometimes a phrase will suit someone to a tee,” she said. “Mostly I like to see the smiles they bring, whether people buy one or not.”

Every vendor offers something unique, she said, and A Handmade Christmas will help to support a kind group of people.

“We talk and enjoy each other, and hear how each other’s families are doing,” she said. “It just feels like home here.”