The 24th Annual Homespun Holidays Craft Show took place at the Penn State Wilkes-Barre Campus in Lehman Township on Sunday, Nov. 3. The show is part of the Arts at Hayfield, which supports fine arts, crafts and cultural performances in the Back Mountain and Wyoming Valley Area and featured dozens of vendors who brought holiday wreaths, clothing, food items, ornaments, paintings, candy, jewelry, pottery and other hand-made crafts.
Michelle Yaple , of Harveys Lake, enjoyed her first year as a vendor at the display. Yaple found out about Homespun Holiday through her employment with Penn State. A merchant on Etsy.com, Yaple brought an array of cross-stitched pillows and ornaments with her. All of the proceeds from her sales were to going to the Thon Pin fundraiser, which raises money for pediatric cancer. Yaple plans to return to the Arts at Hayfield exhibits next year.
Jennie Veloski and Jean Kaprel brought their handmade quilts aprons, hats, purses and under the tree Christmas runners to the show on behalf of Project DJ (donating joy). The project’s volunteer group has donated over 5,000 handcrafted quilts within the past 10 years to various hospitals, particularly the Hershey Children’s Hospital, as a way of giving comfort to seriously ill or traumatized children.
The volunteers meet every Monday morning at the Trucksville United Methodist Church and accept monetary donations as well as supplies. Veloski explained that the group makes no money from the sales of its items and members use some of their own money at times. Veloski also stated this was the third year the group has participated in the show, and further stated of the work that the group does is to “help people out.”
Mary Button, who started her Hallstead, PA company “Endless Mountain Mustard Company” in 1996, brought a variety of her homemade mustard to the event. Button brought samples such as Gold’n Tangy, Horseradish, Garlic, Dill, Garlic Jalapeno, Lemon Pepper and Whole Grain as samples of her products. She explained the the mustard comes from family recipes and her husband, Norm, helps with the preparation process.
Bernadine Vojtko and her mother Bernadine Borinski are regular participants at the show. Vojtko’s Wyoming home-based business “Flower Finery” featured new items such as miniature Christmas trees and handmade trellises, among other hand-crafted décor items.
Vojtko explained that she wanted to create additional new items, but has been experiencing a very hectic schedule at Wyoming Seminary, where she was choreographing the school’s production of “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” in preparation for its Nov. 8-10th performances.
Vojtko and Borinski are both members of the Arts at Hayfield organization.
Vojtko commented that she enjoys participating in the craft shows as all proceeds benefit a “worthy cause to continue arts in the area.” The Arts at Hayfield has benefitted artistic establishments such as the Kirby Center, The Little Theater of Wilkes Barre and various local library programs. Borinski added that she always enjoys the events as well and is looking forward to returning next year with her daughter.
Arlene Roerig, of Dallas, brought hand-crafted worly gigs and homemade dog biscuits for her seventh appearance with the Arts at Hayfield display. She has been in the worly gig business for over 10 years. Roerig spoke about the homemade dog biscuits, which contain no dyes, preservatives or added salt, explaining at the summer event she brought 80 bags of biscuits with her, and by noon, they were all gone. She brought 45 bags for the Homespun Holiday event and had only four bags left by noon.
Troy, PA artist Bonnie Bell-Hilfiger has attended the event from the first year of its existence, bringing with her various original paintings and ornaments featuring portraits, among her works. Her clients have the option of customized scenes, such as movie or historical event scenes, or even portraits painted on the walls of their homes.
Bell-Hilfiger, who teaches at the Ben Franklin Craft Store in Towanda, has also painted a 384 foot mural at the Towanda Iron and Metal Building.
“People stop in traffic to the view the mural” (which depicts scenes from various Stephen Foster songs), Bell-Hilfiger said. She also described the art work that she created on both the Towanda and Tioga County Courthouses. Her husband, Gary, participates in several of her creations with his chainsaw carvings.
Myrtle Chamberlain of the Lehman Nursery, along with her daughter, Brenda, attended the event for the second year. The nursery has been in existence since 1989 and houses approximately70 sheep. The sheeps’ wool is used to make hats and socks, first by being spun on a wheel and then being knitted into the finished product on a knitting machine. The sales help to pay for the animals’ food. Chamberlain hopes to return to The Arts at Hayfield exhibits next year.