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Published: 11/10/2013 - Updated: 5 months ago

Great Hall exhibition brings smiles

Artistry coupled with whimsy punctuates holiday craft show

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Maumee residents, from left, Jennifer Coe, Chuck Coe, and Bob Ducat are amused by the decorated gourds at the Toledo Craftsman’s Guild arts and crafts show at the Stranahan Great Hall in Toledo. Maumee residents, from left, Jennifer Coe, Chuck Coe, and Bob Ducat are amused by the decorated gourds at the Toledo Craftsman’s Guild arts and crafts show at the Stranahan Great Hall in Toledo.
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It didn’t take Ohio State fan Jeremy Hubley long to make up his mind.

The Waterville man grabbed up an unusual piece of yard art — something artist Suzanne Schmidt calls “Brutus on a Stick” — at the Toledo Craftsman’s Guild “Homespun Holiday Art & Craft Show” on Saturday at the Stranahan Great Hall.

Brutus Buckeye’s head, perched on the end of a heavy-duty landscape pole, actually was made from a large gourd.

“It’s so unique. I like it,” said Mr. Hubley.

The annual arts and crafts show, which continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, attracted hundreds of shoppers and browsers looking for special gifts, items for their homes, or craft ideas they can make at home.

Sue Meiring of Toledo said she was looking for Christmas gifts. She had picked up a set of hand-sewn Chicago Bears coasters for her son, a big Bears fan. She isn’t crafty herself, but enjoys what others make.

Susan Santana of Walbridge stocks her booth with dog-bone-shaped signs at the Toledo show. She is one of the more than 80 exhibitors. Susan Santana of Walbridge stocks her booth with dog-bone-shaped signs at the Toledo show. She is one of the more than 80 exhibitors.
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“I love it,” Ms. Meiring said. “We go to all the church craft shows too.”

Sharon Anderson, president of the Toledo Craftsman’s Guild, said more than 80 of the group’s 184 members are selling their wares at the two-day show, which offers free parking and free admission.

“Everything is handmade,” she said.

Items range from jewelry and quilts to soaps and scarves. There are purses, clocks, birdhouses, and clothing for American Girl dolls.

Ms. Anderson said the types of crafts members make changes over time.

“In the last couple months, we’ve juried in 14 new members, and it was a lot of different crafts,” she said, adding, “We want different things. We want good quality.”

Liz Gladieux of Perrysburg calls her unusual craft venture “The Winey Lady.” She and her husband, Bill, take empty wine, beer, and liquor bottles and turn them into decorative nightlights. They do creative things with corks too — everything from key chains and Christmas ornaments to a funky cork board made of actual corks.

“No, we don’t drink it all,” Ms. Gladieux said before she was even asked where she gets all the different bottles and corks. “We have friends that run bars. We have friends that enjoy wine, and when we buy wine, we buy it for the label.”

On display were frosted bottles — each with a twist of sparkling white Christmas lights inside — with labels such as “Notorious,” “Monogamy,” and “Daddy’s Day Off.”

Ms. Schmidt, a retired art teacher from Delta, Ohio, creates birdhouses, landscape art, and decorative pieces for the home from extra-large, hollowed gourds.

She bathes and scrubs them, cuts ’em, and guts ’em, and uses sandpaper to smooth the shells.

From there, the possibilities seem endless: brightly painted chickens and perky little pigs, exotic-looking containers, and, of course, perfectly shaped Brutus Buckeye heads.

“I sell a lot of them, but sometimes it’s hard to part with them,” Ms. Schmidt said.

The Craftsman’s Guild has two more craft shows planned this year: “Crafts for Christmas” is Nov. 29 and 30 at the Lucas County Recreation Center, and “Winter Festival of Crafts” is Dec. 15 at the Franciscan Center at Lourdes University in Sylvania.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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