Cultivating a community culture
The growing arts and crafting community in Jefferson County is gearing up for the busiest season of the year, when members showcase and sell their products at local bazaars, boutiques and markets.
One of the most popular local shows, "Angels in the Attic," set for Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, was the brainchild of Lisa Zachary, a longtime Madras resident who started the event in her home with a few crafting friends 22 years ago.
"It started out with probably six to eight people, in my farm house, and now we have around 28 crafters," said Zachary, adding that as the event grew, she moved it from her home to other locations, such as the Culver Grange, Madras Masonic Lodge and Episcopal Church, before landing at the current location, in the building above Busy Bee Market.
"I think the crafting community's growing," she said. "People that purchase are tired of the made in China stuff, and want something homemade."
Zachary, who has been crafting as long as she can remember, does woodcrafting, makes candles and sews — particularly what she considers "upcycled clothing."
"A lot of (the crafters) have other jobs, but just enjoy doing their art and making a little money on the side," she said. "It's a big social event."
Zachary considers the "Angels in the Attic" event more of a "boutique," rather than a bazaar. "Crafters' items are not on individual tables, but displayed boutique style, like a store," she said. "I think that makes us unique. All items need to be homemade or recreated."
Signs and rustic decor
One of those who participates in "Angels in the Attic" is Julie Hartman, who has lived in Madras for about 20 years. Over the decades, her artistic expression has evolved.
"I used to be a huge scrapbooker; my interests have adjusted and changed," said Hartman, noting that when her three sons were young, she didn't have much time to craft. "About six or so years ago, I started back up; I decided to make some signs. My kids were going into water polo Junior Olympics, and I wanted to raise some money."
Working out of her garage, Hartman, who works part time doing design and contract work, successfully created and sold signs as a fundraiser, which got her back in a crafting mode that has continued unabated.
"Year-round, I make stuff for family and friends," said Hartman, who specializes in signs and rustic decor, such as boxes, toy bins, benches and small furniture items. "In the fall, it's a full-time job getting ready for the shows. I start in September, and it's pretty crazy until Christmas."
Earlier this month, Hartman displayed her wood art at the Sip & Shop holiday bazaar, which she helped organize, at the New Basin Distilling Co., for which she designs the labels. Over the next two weekends, she plans to be at "Angels in the Attic" and the Madras Saturday Market's annual Holiday Market at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds Dec. 7 and 8.
"I do it because I love doing it, and I love making a variety," said Hartman.
Handcrafting skin care products
About two years ago, Holli Papasodora, of Madras, who has a full-time job as a receptionist at Erickson Aircraft Collection, started a business called "Bohemian Peddler," which sells handcrafted herbal skin care products.
"I had been making them for myself and family for years, and decided to turn it into more of a business," said Papasodora, who is interested in natural healing. "I study herbology, so all my products are made with different herbs. I really love using local products as much as possible. I go out and harvest herbs, such as juniper, yarrow, and dandelion, and I grow plants at home, such as calendula and comfrey."
"When you're a kid, you go out in the yard and put together things and make potions," she said, recalling her childhood. "I still feel like a kid in my apothecary, putting together salves and balms and skin care products."
Papasodora, who designs all her own labels, has been working to ensure that her products are all environmentally friendly. "I'm switching all my products out of plastics," she said. "One of my goals is to have all my products in reusable or biodegradable containers, so my lip balms and deodorants both come in paperboard. Everything else is in glass or metal containers."
Besides being a member of the Madras Saturday Market, Papasodora has been active in the recently formed Madras Downtown Association, which came up with the idea for the "First Thursday" events, which were held on Fifth Street in downtown Madras on the first Thursdays of June, July, August and September.
"The mission behind the association is to create a thriving downtown through community activities," she said. "Downtown is kind of the heart of the community. We're encouraging small artisans to come out and vend at the summer events, and see if they can turn it into a business."
So far, she has participated in the Sip & Shop event, but also plans to be at the Holiday Market at the fairgrounds, and is organizing an event called "Holiday Shopping at the Hangar," Dec. 15 and 16, at Erickson Aircraft Collection, which will feature Santa flying in.
In addition to her Bohemian Peddler business, which sells products at the White Buffalo Boutique, she and her husband, Vinny, have a food truck they debuted this year — Papasodora's Food Truck — which will be selling soups at the holiday markets.
"I think there's a growing crafters community here," she said. "I'm seeing that with the Madras Saturday Market. There are a lot of people who like things to be a little more natural."
Three generations crafting
Mother and daughter duo Jennifer Hatfield and Kayla Dupont, who participated in Sip & Shop, are both preparing for their main holiday event — "Angels in the Attic."
Hatfield, who was born and raised in Madras, started crafting as a child, when she sewed clothes for her dolls.
"I've always liked to create," said Hatfield, who taught craft and quilting classes through Hatfield's Department Store, which was a fixture in downtown Madras from 1958-2003. The store, which was opened by her late father-in-law, Don Hatfield, in 1958, included a basement fabric and craft supply department.
She and her husband, John, took over management of the store in 1977, and purchased it in 1995.
In the early 1990s, she began making and selling craft items at the "Snowflake Boutique" in Redmond, and in the mid-1990s, she also taught craft classes through Central Oregon Community College.
After the store closed in 2003, she returned to teaching, which she had done in the late 1970s. "I kind of quit crafting when I returned to teaching," said Hatfield, who is now mostly retired.
"Now, Kayla is the main crafter; it's become her passion," said Hatfield, who started crafting with her daughter a couple years ago. "We enjoy spending time together."
"Right now, I'm taking felt and recycling sweaters and turning them into gnomes. I've always done crafts, but you have to have the time to invest," she said.
Because her mother was a crafter, Dupont "grew up crafting."
For the past decade, she had been creating wood and paper crafts for bazaars. "Most of the stuff has been with wood — wood signs and wood cut down into shapes of owls or stars or blocks; it changes so much every year," she said. "I like to take old items and change them up, and use them as home decor items."
Hatfield and Dupont have already passed their passion for crafting on to Dupont's daughter, fourth-grader Maddy, 9, who is braiding fleece into dog toys and selling them at bazaars. "She wants to raise money for the (Three Rivers) Humane Society," said Dupont, noting that half the money from her daughter's sales will go to the Humane Society. "She's taken over my crafting room."
All three generations will have their crafts at the "Angels in the Attic" boutique.
"I think people are finding it an outlet to create something of their own," said Dupont, who enjoys getting together with friends to craft. "I think it's becoming very popular. There's a lot of talent here."
Crafting is becoming more sophisticated, according to Hatfield, who believes some has become more like fine art. "We've gone through lots of trends, from corn-husk dolls to paper products. There's a lot of people crafting that are truly artists at what they do."
"Crafting is not necessarily a lucrative business, because anything we do and do well takes a certain amount of time," she said. "Most of the people I know who craft do it for the love of creativity; my daughter and I just enjoy creating."