Senior Center and CAA Offer Crafts to Kick Off Holiday Season

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The holiday craft and handiwork season got an early start last weekend in Hopkinton.

Both the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) and the Senior Center were home to artisans and crafters offering their wares for sale. Resident and regional artists provided a myriad of gift ideas to the steady stream of weekend customers at both locations.

On Saturday, November 6th, the day long craft fair at the Senior Center filled the meeting room with holiday themed floral arrangements, fabric articles of every shape and purpose, and intricate quilts that looked toasty warm just hanging from a display stand. But the most popular craft item was the beaded jewelry. A number of vendors sold shimmering necklaces, earrings and bracelets that tastefully mixed beads with stone and leather.

At the “Earrings By Veronica” table, 7th grade entrepreneur Veronica Lee was doing a brisk business selling simple, but elegant bead earrings. Already in her third year as an earring maker, Lee said she is hoping to save some of her profit for college.

For many crafters participating in the show it was also a chance to just get out and meet people. An almost common theme of the group seemed to be, it’s a labor of love, and we’re not in it to make money. A 30 year craft show veteran mentioned, “It keeps me out of the mall.”

Over on the other side of town, the CAA was hosting a “Holiday Boutique”. The three day long event presented shoppers with eye catching displays of stained glass, artwork, and pottery. Also in the mix were jewelry items and pieces that bordered on the whimsical.

One of the more eclectic pieces that produced many second looks was a “Shoe Tree” made by Karyn Koulopouslos. Using a small artificial tree and a supply of shoes from the Salvation Army, Koulpouslos created a tree decorated with painted and bejeweled shoes. Koulpouslos sees her work as an artistic play on words. She said she’s likes to create objects that rework common expressions like one of her recent projects called “Card Shark”.

Another prominent presenter at the CAA fair was stained glass artist Karen Weiskerger. Not a big show participant, Weiskerger said she works primarily on commission pieces because her art is so volatile and doesn’t travel well.

“But sometimes I just want to play”, said Weiskerger, “so what I end up with at a shows is, most of the time, something different, something that is a little more modern”.

Echoing a number of artists at the Senior Center, many of the CAA artisans said they work at their craft for the creative satisfaction and pleasure they derive from the activity.

Given the commercialization of the holiday season it’s an interesting change to hear from local artists and craft designers who provide a different and very personal perspective on what’s important to them and why the do what they do.