Holiday shopping is pretty awful, considering all the crowds and the traffic and the sensation of being trapped in that moment when Charlie Brown feels alone and dismal about the ugly “obligatory” plasticity of Christmas, but these local art sales are truly a beacon of light. The people who make these items really put their heart into it. Regardless of what you celebrate or believe, this is an opportunity for you to acquire a beautiful item and support a local artist who, frankly, could really benefit from your support.
There have already been three big local craft sales — Artlandia, Mistletoe Markert, and Kingsport’s — but there’s still more to come. If I’ve missed anything, I’ll add them to the list later, so you might want to check back periodically. There are also local businesses that sell artists’ work year ’round, but I feel less confident in my ability to comprehensively list them. I highly recommend looking in the downtown area to start, where you’ll find many such businesses, like Venus & Fur, Nelson Fine Art Center, Bernina In Stitches, and Unique Treasures.
The SCA Holiday Sale takes place on November 28-29, opening each day at 10 AM and closing at 7 PM in the Culp Center (top floor) of ETSU. Although in the past this sale has welcomed all media from students, faculty, and local artists, the current SCA group has decided to focus the sale to ceramic artists and SCA members both past and present. So, this is a great opportunity to buy some beautiful handmade cups, vases, platters, and other ceramic goods inexpensively. For more information, contact Daniel Huxtable at Huxtable@goldmail.etsu.edu.
The Kingsport Farmers Market annual holiday craft sale is Saturday, December 1st. I heard about it through Good Fork Farm, who will apparently be there with all sorts of goodies. I’m sure there will be other great vendors as well. To my knowledge, this special December market is open in the same place with the same hours as normal Saturday Kingsport Farmers Markets.
The Slocumb Holiday Art Sale and Silent Auction is a yearly fundraiser for Slocumb Galleries that features the work of student groups and local artists (though individual artists can still earn money for themselves through this sale). The sale will be up December 3-13 in Slocumb Galleries at ETSU. Gallery hours are, I believe, 8 AM to 5 PM. This sale typically includes a varied mix of items: jewelry, pottery, paintings, prints, and fiber art. More than likely you’ll find something fantastic AND help out local artists/the gallery. For more information, you can email Karlota Contreras-Koterbay at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Barely Designs Holiday Craft Show is happening Saturday, December 8th from 9 AM to 3 PM at The Bristol Grind House. I’ll share more details soon. (I’ve sent them an email.)
Handmade Trade Holiday Craft Fare at Earth Fare will be on Saturday, December 15, 11 AM – 4 PM. A selection of local crafters will be set up in the foyer and in the cafe at Earth Fare in Johnson City. Purses, aprons, knit scarves, brooches, prints, dolls — you name it, it’ll probably be there. Of the crafters I’ve seen affiliated with Handmade Trade, all of them have been super talented and more than reasonable about their prices.
I’ve also heard that Shakti in the Mountains and Milligan College are hosting holiday sales, but I’m not sure when those dates are yet.