Each holiday season, the Ohio Craft Museum offers more than just a gift shop – the entire museum becomes a holiday shopper’s paradise.
The museum is marking the 20th year of its annual Gifts of the Craftsmen exhibition, which features handcrafted items by more than 100 artists from Ohio and across the country.
The sale began Nov. 3 and will run through Dec. 23 at the museum, 1665 W. Fifth Ave. in Columbus.
“We try to make the exhibition a true one-stop shopping destination for people,” museum director Betty Talbott said. “We have something for every budget and for all ages, from small ornaments that cost $5 to fine-art pieces that cost $400, $500 or $600.”
Some artists contribute a large piece to the exhibition and then create smaller, less expensive prints and notecards using the same image, she said.
Every item on display is available for purchase, Talbott said. As items are sold, additional pieces will take their place.
Artists are invited to participate in the Gifts of the Craftsmen show, Talbott said.
“Many of them are artists whose work has been featured in a previous exhibition, or who have participated in some of our special events or at our Winterfair show, so we know them and the quality of their work,” she said. “We’re always looking to feature one-of-a-kind gift items, so we also reach out to artists from around the country who are doing unique work.”
The exhibition features a mix of artists new to Gifts of the Craftsmen, as well as many returning favorites, she said.
“People will come to the museum to look for pieces from specific artists whose work they have given out as gifts in past years,” Talbott said.
New artists include Michigan illustrator Amy Ferguson, who creates prints, cards and ornaments; Columbus artist Cody Miller, who combines cut paper and paint in his collages; and Powell artist Carol Wallenfelsz, who uses alcohol ink to decorate dominos as pendants.
Wallenfelsz said she applies the ink to color the surface of the domino, then uses an acrylic paint pen to add whimsical drawings to the tile.
“The thing I enjoy about using alcohol-based ink is that it’s so unpredictable,” she said. “You just never know exactly how it’s going to go on the domino, and that’s what makes it fun.”
Although she also creates drawings and paintings on larger canvases and items, Wallenfelsz said, she enjoys the challenge of creating a minuscule drawing on a domino.
“I like how working on such a small space makes you have to really think about what you’re going to be drawing,” Wallenfelsz said. “It’s really closeup work. I use a magnifying glass while I’m drawing.”
Returning favorites include whimsical prints by Arkansas painter Karrie Evenson, functional ceramics by Cleveland artist Elaine Lamb and sterling-silver jewelry from Sherwood artist Mike Kozumplik.
Grove City collage artist Judi Young has participated in Gifts of the Craftsmen for the past four years.
She uses torn paper to create her playful collages that depict animals, people and scenes.
“You could cut the paper, but I prefer tearing paper because when you tear a piece of paper, it never goes quite as you expect,” Young said. “So that makes each piece you create one of a kind, because paper never tears the same way twice.”
She uses all types of paper for her collages – everything from wallpaper and newspaper to pages from scrapbooks and gift wrap.
“I like to mix different types of paper for a collage,” Young said. “I’m always looking for new and different kinds of paper to use. During the holidays, I try to save the wrapping paper on gifts; they’re great for collages because they’re so colorful.”
Her art form is therapeutic, she said.
“If I’m having a bad day, you can let off a little steam by ripping some paper,” Young said. “There’s something relaxing about it.”
The museum also will hold children’s gift-making workshops, a half-day program for students in grades 1 to 6, on Dec. 20 and 21. Youngsters will create two projects suitable for gift-giving during the classes, which will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. each day.
Cost is $25 per student, including supplies. Registration is required by calling 614-486-4402 or visiting ohiocraft.org/education.
During the Gifts of the Craftsmen, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m Mondays through Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Admission and parking are free.
The museum will stay open until 8 p.m. Thursdays during the exhibition.
“We’re open seven days a week, but some people want to avoid the weekend crowds and can’t get away from work during the day,” Talbott said. “We’re trying out the evening hours on Thursdays to see how it works and to give people a chance to stop by on their way home from work.”
Ohio Designer Craftsmen, which owns and operates the craft museum, also will hold its annual Winterfair from Dec. 6 to 8 at the Ohio Expo Center, 717 E. 17th Ave. in Columbus.
Winterfair will feature more than 400 artists displaying and selling their works.
“At Winterfair, the artists spend the weekend set up in their own booths, so it gives people a chance to meet the artists, talk to them and ask them about their work and make a personal connection to an item they purchase,” Talbott said.
Admission to Winterfair is $7. Tickets may be purchased at the door or at ohiocraft.org; discounted $5 tickets are available at the museum.
Winterfair will be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 6 and 7 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 8.