If you are at all into really fine high quality handmade fabrics and clothing than you need to visit the annual Creative Hand show at Old Shawnee Town on Johnson Drive this Friday and Saturday Nov. 22-23. There will be a lot more than just some fabrics and clothing including lots of scarves, shawls, jackets, hats, etc.
There will also be items with which you can accessorize such as handmade jewelry. There is even a potter who has her line of creations so that you can drink your tea from a designer cup. Personally, I will have a few hand-spun, hand-woven triangle shawls and some hand-felted purses in the show.
For you woodworkers, there will be a few benches and stools and I will have some bandsaw jewelry boxes.
Although the show is traditionally a fiber show with all that entails, it also has been a show that invites artists that make special items by hand to participate.
If you prefer to knit or weave your own creations, I can guarantee that you will have a hard time finding a greater selection of yarns at any one place at a weekend show. I pretty much use all of my own hand-spun yarns in my own creations, so I seldom have any left to sell outright. We have a number of spinners in the Kansas City Weavers' Guild and the Kansas City Fiber Guild, so you will see a great assortment of yarns.
The show is set up by category and it is a cooperative show, which means that you will find all of the shawls in one area and all of the scarves in another area and the guild members share the duties of assisting visitors find items that might suit them.
We all help make the sales for everyone else.
This is one really successful show for the artists in that last year we sold about $46,000 worth of goods. The show is only open for 12 hours total on Friday and Saturday and that includes a fashion review on Friday evening. With 66 artists showing goods, you can be assured of seeing a tremendous diversity and amount of stuff.
The show is also strictly juried, which means that a committee looks at a selection of everything that any artist wants to enter into the show. There are no exceptions and not everything gets past the jurors, at least not on the first look. This show is worth attending just to look at things to get an inspiration for your own work.
I am totally impressed that the folks who put on this show do such an outstanding job of organizing and jurying that even in the midst of a recession, the sales in one weekend are phenomenal. Of course, that also reflects on the quality of workmanship of the artists. If you are interested in participating next year, you must be a member of one of the two guilds by New Years.
Page 2 of 2 - There are artists who actually hold memberships in the Kansas City, Columbia, and Saint Louis guilds so that they can sell in all three shows.
Due to the huge success, though, all three guilds have strict requirements for membership, at least as far as the date of membership and also for the quality of the goods being offered.
Plan on attending the annual show this weekend. Entry and parking are free and you will probably be amazed at what you see.
Matt Nowak lives in Lansing and works as a natural resources manager.