Decked out with holiday decorations, the Native Sons Hall was transformed into a boutique filled with artisans, designers and makers during the second annual St. Helena Winter Market last weekend.
Founders of the market Richard Carter and Kelly Farley hand-picked each designer and maker in what they called a “curated” marketplace.
“We wanted to connect crafts people with the community,” Carter said, to give the public access and introduction to artists and makers.
Several of the artists in the room have a long history with Carter or Farley, others were introduced to the men through those connections, and in some cases there were people there who help Carter fire his large specialty Japanese kiln that he uses in his pottery studio in Pope Valley.
On display and for sale were handmade knives and wood cutting boards, laser-cut tote bags, note cards, clothing, jewelry, pottery, baked goods, jams, syrups and more.
Jeorgea Beck, who owns La Fortuna tote bags and lives in Crockett, explained that her bags are made from super-strong material such as sails and tarp with mylar coating. Bags are laser cut and sewn in Oakland, and sold locally at Blackbird of Calistoga.
Million and Clark, makers of handcrafted furniture, kitchen knives and other wood items, had some of their goods for sale. The handles of the knives are crafted from domestically grown hardwood trees such as Valley Oak or Claro Walnut, and the blades are forged from high carbon steel making. They are sheathed in ash grey felted wool with dark brown leather closures.
Showing off her line of culinary carriers was Shujan Bertrand, owner and designer of Aplat. Bertrand is an industrial designer by trade who incorporates origami practices to create her line in a zero-waste manner. For example, the layout patter of the plat – a carrier for dishes such as casseroles with side handles – is cut in such a way that the edges of the yard of organic cotton are saved and used for handles, shipping or ribbon ties. Nothing is left to waste, Bertrand said.
Bertrand first started making bouquet totes out of surplus denim. She didn’t like the thought of using cellophane or other plastics to carry flower bouquets so she designed the cone-shaped carriers that are reusable and made from what is essentially waste.
“Anything from nature deserves to be honored with quality,” Bertrand said.
The garment industry, she said, has a 30 to 40 percent waste of fabric that ends up in landfills. She picks up some of that for her carriers that include market bags, wine bags, bowl and plate covers.
Her baguette and loaf bread totes are inspired by bread bags found in France, she said. After living there for some time she watched the way people there shopped and used their bags. All her totes are washable, but she said the bread bags work best when not washed after every use. The flour from the bread will coat the inside of the bag creating a better barrier. They have a long handle for carrying on the shoulder and a shorter handle for hand carrying and hanging on a hook.
Wendy Furman of Whim and Caprice said she lived in St. Helena for nine years and got her start in her printmaking business at the farmers’ market. Now living in Sonoma County, she’s added pillows and linen to her line.
Furman’s notecards, linen and pillows are available locally at Acres Home and Garden, 1219 Main St., or through her website whimandcaprice.com.
Most of the designers and makers that were at the Winter Market have websites where more information can be found and where their goods can be purchased. They can be accessed through the pop-up Market’s website at StHelenaWinterMarket.com.
Editor’s Note: Anne Ward Ernst is a freelance writer who covers the Upvalley area for the Star and Calistogan.