BY JOHN J. HOPKINS
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Every year there’s always something new to find or see at the Holiday Gift Show at the Kenan Center.
This year’s edition, the 32nd annual, sponsored by the Kenan Arts Council, takes place this weekend in the historic Kenan mansion.
According to Jane Corser and Manning McCandlish, there are some exciting changes and newcomers.
“The committee is always trying to find new and quality artisans to blend with returning crafters who more than willingly retain their allegiance to the show,” said Corser who, along with McCandlish and Barb Hollasch, co-chairs the event.
There will be 50 crafters on hand, 11 of whom are new to the show. To ensure that the show has some of the best crafters around, the exhibitors must first go through a jury selection.
“That way we have some control over the quality of the show,” said McCandlish.
Among the new crafters this year is Joelle McAndrew, who will offer her one-of-a-kind cloth dolls, that come with accessories such as clothing and little pets.
Corser said the dolls are perfect gifts for young girls on anyone’s Christmas list.
“We saw these little dolls and they were absolutely adorable,” added Corser. “I can’t wait to see some more.”
Another crafter the co-chairs are excited about for this year’s event is Nicole Johnson, who was discovered at an event in Lewiston. Johnson makes art dolls form polymer clay called “mealy monsters.”
According to Corser, when she asked Johnson where she gets the ideas for her creations, Johnson replied “in my nightmares.”
Then there’s Bonnie Nelson, who offers a crocheted-type of metal jewelry. This mesh metal technique involves creating jewelry from precious metals.
Returning artisans offer a variety of jewelry form art-inspired creations, contemporary designs using a wide variety of materials including silver, metal, fused glass, sea glass, natural stones and homemade beads. Floral designers and wood products enhance the show, along with clothing and accessories.
Joining the show again is Elizabeth Cooper and her highly popular Santas and dolls, which have remained collectible items form the very first gift show in 1980.
“People come back every year to pick up one and add to their collections,” Corser said.
McCandlish said many of the crafters are from Western New York, but there are some who come from places such as Syracuse, Webster, West Falls, and even one from North Carolina.
“She’s been in the 100 American Craftsmen show and thought she’d like to give this a try,” McCandlish said.
The Kenan mansion is once again decorated for Christmas, and a majestically decorated tree stands in the foyer. But the gift show isn’t confined to the mansion. Additional crafters are housed in the Education Building and the meeting room annex, where an assortment of raffle baskets have been assembled.
Shamus Restaurant is back to serve its soups, sandwiches and desserts. However, they’re in a new area this year.
The Taylor Theatre, which was created form the carriage house, is the site of the “On Stage Cafe,” and the theatre seats have counter tops — constructed by the custodial staff — in front of them to provide a comfortable dining area.
The Goody Booth is back and this year it can be found in the potting shed. The Friends of the Kenan Herb Club will be in the area just outside the potting shed had have an intersting variety homespun gifts from the garden.
The show runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.