This time of year, there's nothing like spending a few moments sniffing every single handmade soap on a table, trying to decide between honeysuckle and ginger. A handmade terra cotta lamp is one of life's sublime pleasures. And you don't have to be a kid to appreciate the soft calico floppiness of a handmade rag doll or the clean lines of a wooden pull toy. And then there's the invisible element, the indelible warmth around something made by hand.
In an excellent article for the Aug./Sept. issue of American Craft, jeweler Bruce Metcalf wonders, "How, under the double onslaught of consumer culture and new technologies, does one justify craft practice? " The answer lies, perhaps, in the feeling the craftsperson has in working, whether the finished product is a piece of exquisite porcelain, jewelry made from salvaged bits of metal or even the ubiquitous paper towel holder. As Metcalf writes: "The importance of emotion to craft -- the way people feel about their chosen work -- cannot be underestimated. "
& & by Sheri Boggs & & & &
& & Spinning Wheel & &
The first of this season's crafts shows opens today at the Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds with the merging of the & & IDLE WHEEL CRAFT SHOW & & and the Junior League Gift Galleria.
"This is our second gift galleria; we held it at the Ridpath last year, " says Wendy Kenison, co-coordinator of the Idle Wheel Craft Show. "One of our Junior League members, Joan Winston, had been doing the Idle Wheel Craft Show for 21 years, and this year she turned it over as a gift to us. Having a new venue, and then putting the two shows together was just a perfect decision for us. "
The Gift Galleria brings together top gift retailers, including Joel, Wilderness Creek and Austin's Fine Jewelry, while the Idle Wheel Craft Show is a sampler of the region's best craftspeople.
"About 90 percent of our crafters have participated in Idle Wheels in the past, " says Kenison. "And most of the new vendors were referred to us by vendors who'd been in the show before. "
In addition to the tole painting, dried flowers, needlework, stationery, soaps, candles and holiday items, the show will have a cafe serving soup, sandwiches and, of course, coffee. Proceeds from the show benefit a variety of Junior League charity projects through the holidays.
& & & lt;i & The Idle Wheel Craft Show and Gift Galleria is at the Spokane Interstate Fairgrounds Thursday, Oct. 12, from 6-9 pm, Friday, Oct. 13, from 11 am-9 pm, and Saturday, Oct. 14, from 10 am-6 pm. Tickets: $4. Call: 328-2801. & lt;/i & & lt;/center &
& & Cup and Saucer & &
The Spokane Porcelain Artists present & & A HARVEST OF PORCELAIN & & this weekend at Heritage Congregational Church, and while a significant share of the work displayed is of a traditional variety, the show's planners hope to attract a young, new audience.
"We would love to attract young people, and we want to keep the tradition of porcelain painting alive, " says Olga Forv & eacute;, a spokeswoman for the event and a painter in her own right. "It's not just old-fashioned art; it's not just cups and bowls and lots and lots of plates. There are new techniques, new paints, new ways of doing things, that I think would appeal to many younger artists. "
For traditionalists, there will be a variety of fine porcelain objects -- cups, bowls, plates, dresser trays, boxes, vases and dolls -- and even a few examples of what Forv & eacute; hopes will be the new wave of porcelain painting, the simple porcelain tile.
"The tile is the canvas, " says Forv & eacute;. "You can do anything you want. You can paint in a variety of styles, you can paint abstract, traditional, realistic, whatever you want. It can be whatever you imagine. "
& & & lt;i & A Harvest of Porcelain runs Saturday, Oct. 14, at the Heritage Congregational Church, 1801 E. 29th from 10 am-5 pm. Tickets: $3 donation. Call: 466-6264. & lt;/i & & lt;/center &
& & Upcoming Pleasures & &
The month would feel incomplete without a show of cozy, comforting quilts, and fortunately the Spokane chapter of the Washington State Quilters comes through with a show of more than 500 quilts at the Spokane Convention Center Oct. 20-22. & & A STITCH IN TIME & & is the name of the show, which also includes a lecture by featured quilter Karen Schoepflin Hagen, a merchant mall and demonstrations of quilting techniques.
& & & lt;i & A Stitch in Time is at the Spokane Convention Center Friday, Oct. 20, from 10 am-9 pm, Saturday, Oct. 21, from 10 am-7 pm, and Sunday, Oct. 22, from 10 am-5 pm. Tickets: $4; $3, seniors and students; children 12 and under free. Call: 468-8132. & lt;/i & & lt;/center &