Wandering through the Native Sons Hall on Spring Street last Saturday and Sunday was a treat beyond all expectations as the first St. Helena Winter Market got underway. Cars were lined up and down Spring Street, while the hall’s parking lot was filled with Silvertip Christmas trees trussed and ready for sale and transport in support of St. Helena’s Nimbus Arts.

Inside the old meeting hall had been transformed into a beautiful Christmas bazaar filled with the works of some 20 Napa Valley and Bay Area artists and designers.

These included, among so many others, the ceramic works of Kiyomi Koide from Koide Studio from Berkeley and Mitsuko Siegrist from Orinda; the hand-crafted cutlery from Million and Clark; the creative Yoloti designs from Nicole Woerner Kelly and the handmade leather sandals of her husband Mikey Kelly.

There were so many displays, in fact, of hand-made clothing, art and other items that it was almost impossible keep track of the vast variety.

And in the smaller meeting front room of the hall busy hands from Healdsburg’s Russian River Flowers were fashioning wreaths for sale along long tables. There was also a “Holiday Bitters How-to” with Katherine Novick of Napa’s Native Valley Gardens and a “Kids Ornament Making Class” with Nimbus Arts.

It was truly a festive atmosphere perfect for a slightly-gloomy first weekend in December and the event created that “contagious” (almost panicky) air of realization that the holidays are upon us. It was time to find gifts for family and loved ones, and this was surely the place to be. The hall seemed mobbed with interested locals, who came to see and support the works of artisans and designers.

The event was collaborative effort of design editor and writer Sarah Lonsdale and artist and ceramist Richard Carter who decided to do something locally. According to Lonsdale, “Richard initiated the event and booked the hall and enlisted me to help him.”

Five local businesses, The Charter Oak, Pearl, Archetype, Acacia House and Flats, also offered special discounts to those who attended.

According to a note to the St. Helena Star, Carter wrote, “The St. Helena Winter Market was a HUGE, HUGE success. Our Christmas tree lot was also very successful selling out and the proceeds are going to local nonprofit Nimbus Arts. There were hundreds in attendance — many local — from the Bay Area and as far as LA.”

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Reporter

Tom Stockwell is currently a staff writer for the St. Helena Star. He is an author of fiction and non-fiction books and has been a working journalist for a variety of technical publications as well as a consultant for numerous wineries in the Napa Valley.