The more, the merrier

Victorian Christmas Artisan Market moves, grows

This year, the Victorian Christmas Artisan Market has found a new location on a new night.

The market will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17 in the YWCA front meeting rooms, 815 W. Third St.

The Victorian Christmas Artisan Market began as a way to connect the local talented artists with the community, Deb Parsons, show coordinator, said.

Someone on the planning group for Victorian Christmas asked the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen about doing a show in conjunction with the tour.

“We decided we would be involved with it,” Parsons said. “We organized a large show. We did it in churches. We dressed Victorian. We decorated and kept it with the theme. It was a realistic artist market.”

In the beginning, homes would feature artists before they had the market.

“We decided to try an art market,” Parsons said. “We chose a home that would have enough room that would have up to a dozen artists.”

Every year the location would change, but then they tried to find a site they could use every year. However, if it was the same location every year, some years, people would miss it if they did not want to go to the same house year after year.

“We decided to do a separate event to have its own identity,” Parsons said. “A Friday art market. Hopefully we could turn it into a tradition for people to come and shop for artists on Friday and tour homes Saturday. That was our whole idea.”

“The artisan market began as a sort of add-on, you might say, to the Victorian Christmas events,” said Meg Smith, Victorian Christmas Artisan Market chairwoman. “One of the (Victorian Christmas) homeowners would open up their home to choice artisans and this year we’ve decided to make it its own independent event in conjunction with Victorian Christmas.”

Having the artisan market as part of a separate event allows the public to visit, rather than just limiting it to people who purchase tickets for Victorian Christmas, Smith said.

“We’ve developed a really nice collection of artists and people seem to like the art event, so we wanted to give them their own location and their own event. And we wanted to give them a larger location.”

Choosing the YWCA as the location just made sense because it had been a part of Victorian Christmas since its inception, Parsons said. Not only is the building in the same neighborhood as Victorian Christmas, but it was an opportunity for people to see the building’s architecture and artistry from Marguerite Bierman.

In the past few years, the YWCA opened a boutique, which helps women in crisis acquire clothing for jobs.

“And it’s open for the public to get really great stuff for really cheap,” Parsons said.

The boutique will be open during the market, Smith said.

The location also allows for more participants so the event can continue to grow, Smith said.

In addition to being a historically significant building, the location is ideal. The YWCA also is located across from Park Place, where the Tree Lighting and Carol Sing will be held, following the artisan market.

“We’re doing this in conjunction with the tree lighting,” Smith said. “It’s another artisan event because of the music we’ll have.”

Sara Scott will be singing at both the artisan market and the tree lighting. She’ll be performing a mixture of Christmas, original and Christmas songs.

The tree lighting used to occur a number of years ago, but was revived last year.

“Last year we put it together in 30 days,” Smith said. “This year we’ve had a year to plan and try to get things much better aligned.”

Before the tree lighting, the market will feature artists who use a variety of mediums.

“We have a mixture of artists from fiber to wood, clay, jewelry, painting, stained glass and Christmas decor,” Smith said.

Artists are chosen to participate in the market based on their work quality and price point. Parsons said they strive to find artists who use different mediums.

“Each artist is celebrated and honored for what they do,” she said. “That’s how we always try to do it. We limit categories based on the fine craft and fine art that we already have there.”

The timing of the artisan market is to allow people to start early Christmas shopping, Smith said.

Just like with Victorian Christmas, the artisans will be dressed in Victorian style. The market features artists that are located in central Pennsylvania.

“We’re trying to keep them relatively local,” Smith said. “We’re trying to work more locally.”

Even without advertising the artisan market in the past, the event has been successful.

“The artists seem to be coming back,” she said. “The community has responded really well.”