Pilot story and photos by Bill Lundquist
The holiday season began Saturday with the 34th Annual Community Christmas Bazaar, held at the Brookings-Harbor High School.
Joined by sales and bazaars at churches and organizational halls near the schools, the celebration lacked only a Christmas parade to make it the fall version of the Azalea Festival.
With 99 vendors, the community bazaar was not lacking in shopping opportunities, food, fun and even music.
The Sound of Music
A small brass band welcomed visitors at the main entrance to the high school gym.
Mason Johns, Skyler Shuford and Kyle Botnen were literally tooting their own horns to raise money for their eighth grade history class' trip to the nation's capital. Johns said each student must raise $1,495.
For the first time, the bazaar also overflowed into the high school's new multipurpose/cafeteria room.
Visitors there were greeted with accordion music from Nancy Pettet and Karen Warwick.
Warwick, who lives in Harbor, directs an accordion class for Southwestern Oregon Community College.
She is also a resident of Williams and a past president of the Rogue River Accordion Club.
The variety of goods offered by the 99 vendors was almost unlimited, but a couple of them took completely different approaches to crafting bowls out of wood.
Ralph Smith let nature take its course in the bowls he fashioned from myrtlewood. He said the wood was cleared from an Elk River ranch about 100 years ago.
Smith did not turn the bowls on a lathe, but fashioned them with hand tools to emphasize the colors and patterns.
"Mother Nature is the artist," he said. "I just show her off."
Smith said his wife, Plumm, started a restaurant in Brookings 25 years ago. He crafted silver for a time, but now prefers to be a wood sculptor.
Some of his bowls have naturally pointed or angular rims, but most are rounded and curved.
"I like to keep the rhythm of the wood," said Smith, "let the eye flow pleasantly around the rim."
Smith can be reached at (541) 469-7162.
All of Norm Hansen's bowls are round because he cuts various woods into rings and glues the segments together before sanding and finishing them.
Hansen obtains exotic materials such as purple heart, canary wood, and zebra wood at a lumber yard in Blue Lake, east of Arcata, Calif.
He then cuts the wood into rings on a ringmaster machine. Some of his bowls are assembled from one type of wood, while others have interesting patterns and colors from several kinds of wood.
The bazaar was Hansen's first craft show. He also makes intricate pine needle baskets and chip carvings. He can be reached at (541) 412-1809.
You Name It
The bazaar featured everything from clocks made out of cast iron frying pans to
reindeer droppings made out of, well, hopefully something other than reindeer droppings.
Louie Prudhomme, however, did make a beautiful necklace out of wooden beads and deer droppings.
His real specialty is the ancient art of intarsia, defined as "the making of decorative and pictorial mosaics by laying precious and exotic materials into or onto a groundwork of solid wood."
"It's mostly just a hobby," said Prudhomme, but the lighthouses, Father Christmas figures, and other designs offered showed he spends a lot of time at it.
Some were assembled from 150 to 200 pieces of wood.
"I don't have much patience," said Prudhomme, "but I do for this."
He can be reached at (541) 469-4274.
Kathy Faust makes pretty much everything from pretty much everything else. She walks on the beach and turns what she picks up into various creatures.
"I don't get bored," she said. She backed that up by saying she once made 181 robes for wheelchair patients at a veterans' hospital.
"I can't watch TV without doing something," she said.
Vanessa Keys made Father Christmas figures of various sizes, among other Christmas items. One was nearly life-size and wore a beard made of wool from her sister's sheep.
Another person making the most of what nature has to offer was Frank Serroni of The Miner 49'er & Company.
He makes gold nugget jewelry and (believe it or not) gold dust snow globes from gold he pans in the creeks above Grants Pass.
"There's still gold in all these streams," said Serroni. "Sometimes I can get up to $1,700 in one day. Some days I get nothing."
On other days, Serroni makes model biplanes out of pop cans. They were a big hit at the bazaar. Serroni can be reached at (541) 476-2371.
It'll Never Make It Home
Vendors also sold fudge, carmel corn, pie, breads, cookies, rolls, pickles and other delectables. Most of the bags were probably empty by the time the customers reached their cars.
Those able to resist tearing into their treats crowded the new cafeteria for a wholesome holiday chicken casserole lunch prepared by the Oregon State University Extension groups.
The lunch was popular, according to Wyn Dioletto, one of the bazaar organizers.
"We thought (the bazaar) was great," she said. "The vendors liked the new room. Everyone was very happy. There was a good crowd all day."