The festive mood at Featherstone Center for the Arts will be expressed in music, garlands of lights, display tables draped in holiday red, and an extravagance of handmade gifts created by Island artists.
Featherstone’s month-long eighth annual Holiday Gift Show opens with a preview party on Friday, Nov. 19 from 7 to 9 pm, and Featherstone’s director, Ann Smith, says it will extend its popular tradition. “This show is our major fundraiser,” she says, and laughing, adds, “and as the saying goes, ‘Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.'”
While the prices — from $5 to $250 — remain reasonable, the list of participating Island artists continues to grow, and the artwork continues to become more varied.
Among the artists participating in the show for the first time is enamel jeweler Lucinda Sheldon, who will be selling her gemstone bracelets along with enameled Island charms on necklaces and bracelets. Her delicate pieces range from $38 to $198. With a studio in the Arts District in Oak Bluffs, Ms. Sheldon is enthusiastic as she describes preparing for the show. “I need deadlines, then I get motivated,” she admits.
Linda Ferrini, another artist new to the holiday show, paints floor clothes and table runners, a craft derived from 19th century England when — she explains, they were used to cover the rough and dirty surfaces. She’ll be showing seasonal designs painted in acrylic on heavy canvas and sealed with a water-based poly-blend finish coat that makes it extremely durable. Her decorative and functional pieces range from $85 to $195.
“Of all the different holiday shows I’ve done during the past 10 years,” Ms. Ferrini says, “Francine [Kelly] and Ann make this one so nice. The atmosphere is so warm — it makes a big difference.”
It will be understandable if the gift shoppers who come to Featherstone are inclined to keep their purchases — and who could blame them. Wendy Weldon’s paintings, Deirdre DeCarion’s unique and carefully fashioned walking staffs, talking sticks, and other practical wooden items, Alison Convery’s decoupage boxes, photographer Lynn Christoffer’s cunning “Cats of the Vineyard” note cards (eight cards for $18), and the variety of functional ceramics by Nancy Blank, Helyane Cohen, and Eva Weinstein are just a sampling of the handmade temptations.
Featherstone’s own Knitting for Others group will offer scarves, hats, and mittens, their proceeds going to the Island Food Pantry.
Fifty-percent of the gift sales go to Featherstone’s operational costs and programs, as well as helping to keep the classes affordable.
There will be art in all media and descriptions — everything from monoprints to painted rocks; from seasonal ornaments and shell wreaths to handmade soaps; from wampum jewelry to wool jackets, fleece blankets, and tapestry bags — all created on-Island by artists from the Island’s talented community.
8th annual Holiday Gift Show Preview Party, Friday, Nov. 19, 7–9 pm, Featherstone Center for the Arts, Oak Bluffs. Show runs daily, 12 noon–4 pm, through December 19. 508-693-1850; featherstoneart.org.