Celebrate 2022: Holiday markets spotlight work of local artisans

Casey Beal of Casey Beal Designs in Middleburgh shows off some of her shirts for sale at the Holiday Art Market at Saratoga Arts Center in Saratoga Springs recently.
Casey Beal of Casey Beal Designs in Middleburgh shows off some of her shirts for sale at the Holiday Art Market at Saratoga Arts Center in Saratoga Springs recently.

CELEBRATE 2022 – Brookside Musem is usually filled with exhibits reflecting local history, but during the holiday season it’s also home to a smorgasbord of handmade candles, soaps, pet toys and more.

The Ballston Spa venue, which houses the Saratoga County History Center, is transformed into an artistans’ market from just after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. Local vendors keep the market packed with goodies, a selection that retail manager Beth Silvestri helps curate.

This year’s market is the largest she’s worked on since she started in 2014, featuring 27 vendors.

“I’ve got them all packed in quite tight. We have everything from soaps and lotions, ornaments, jewelry, candles. We have popcorn … pottery, different photography items and pretty much everything in between you could think of,” Silvestri said.

Perhaps the most popular maker among them is Cobble Hill Farm Soap & Mercantile out of Rock City Falls. The business sells goat-milk soap, shave soap, shampoo bars, beard oil, lotions and other skin-care products.

“People will come in specifically to get their stuff at the holiday season,” Silvestri said.

Christmas ornaments are a perennial favorite, and pet toys have also been popular this year.

“We do have another vendor who has little knotted rope toys and different things like that for dogs, and they have catnip balls. Those are really popular,” Silvestri said.

In its first day alone, the market brought in roughly 250 people.

“We had a line at the register, like eight [to] 10 people deep at times, and everyone was super patient, which was amazing. No one was in a rush,” Silvestri said.

Word of mouth through the years has has helped create a buzz about the holiday shopping hub.

“I think word is spreading, and now that things are starting to open up a little bit after COVID, people are just really eager to get out and especially buy things that support local organizations and artists, and are unique,” Silvestri said.

It’s also helped to draw people who’ve never been to the museum before.

“We get a lot of people that come in and say I didn’t realize you were here. … And we do have a couple of exhibits open right now as well, so they get to mill through those, and a lot of them come back in the springtime, too,” Silvestri said.

The market, which also helps raise money for the museum, runs through Dec. 24 at Brookside (21 Fairground Ave., Ballston Spa).

For the history buff on your list, this year the market includes a collection of 10 books written and signed by members of the History Center that cover a range of topics.

Market hours are noon to 5 p.m. Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. For information, visit brooksidemuseum.org.

More: Celebrate 2022 – Traditions, Food, Gifts, Memories

Arts Center
Not far away, Saratoga Arts on Broadway in Saratoga Springs has filled its gallery space with not only a members’ art show but also a Holiday Art Market on the weekends this season.

“There’s just art packed in and we’re bursting at the seams. It’s great,” said Olivia Walton, membership and development coordinator at Saratoga Arts.

The Holiday Art Market began in 2020 as a way to support artists during the pandemic and has grown since then, featuring a variety of local artists each week.

This weekend there will be crystal jewelry from Brianna Cannon, silver jewelry and accessories from Kimberly Dolan, photography by Ron Harrower and tufted wall hanging by Jessica Stapf, among others.

The following weekend, for last-minute shoppers, there will be photography and jewelry by Melissa Simser, weaving and jewelry from Carol Hammer and textile art, including throw blankets, macrame plant hangers and tapestry bags, from Sarah Hotaling.

The market, which runs on Fridays and Saturdays through Christmas Eve, represents a cross-section of the local arts scene and has become a way for artists to connect.

“Not only do they draw more folks into the center who may not have otherwise walked in off the road but I also like to think that they draw in a really unique and beautiful representation of our membership and our local artists,” Walton said. “[It’s] another opportunity for local arts and crafts vendors to not only sell and present their work but connect with each other and the community here at Saratoga Arts.”

Holiday Art Market hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16; noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23; and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24. Saratoga Arts is at 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs.

For information, visit saratoga-arts.org.

Art at Arlene’s
Arlene’s Artist Materials in Albany has always been a hub for artists, perhaps especially during the holiday season.

The store hosts its Holiday Makers Markets throughout the season, including one on Saturday, Dec. 17.

There will be fine jewelry from Lisa Frazer, who runs Zoepea Jewelry, and artwork from Ottavia Huang, a Ballston Lake-based artist who is an artist in residence at Arlene’s.

Huang’s watercolor-and-ink pieces are charming and color-filled, often depicting landscapes both local and farther afield.

Aly Parrott, a local illustrator and jewelry designer who creates in a whimsical style, is also set to sell at the market, along with artist Rosalie Presser and illustrator Christian St. Pierre.

The market runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Arlene’s is located at 57 Fuller Road in Albany.

For information, visit Arlene’s on Facebook.

More: Celebrate 2022 – Traditions, Food, Gifts, Memories

Categories: Art, Celebrate 2022, Life and Arts, Life and Arts, Saratoga Springs

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