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The Villages
Sunday, April 14, 2024

Afternoon sun brings out shoppers at weekend craft show in Villages

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Heavy, hand-hammered sterling jewelry by Zack Marksz with large gemstones was a hit with Kelly and Camryn Engels.

“Morning strollers were fewer than usual this weekend,” Longwood artist, Ana Jones, and her daughter, Jasmine, of Ana’s Jazzy Art said, “because it was very cold; but the afternoons are bringing out a lot more people.” Ana handcrafts patriotic wood plaques and pictures of colonial American flags and presidents like Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy. “We love coming to The Villages. We’ve been here at Spanish Springs before and also at Lake Sumter Landing, and many people, especially veterans, like our crafts. They look for us on Facebook also.” In addition to the wood, Ana paints the Statue of Liberty and nautical scenes on antique window glass, blending the new painting with the old wooden window frame.

Drew Brass blended recycled wood frames with his coastal and college photography.
Drew Brass blended recycled wood frames with his coastal and college photography.

Perhaps the stall with the longest line was called ‘Paris Festival,’ which sold funnel cakes, New Orleans-style beignets and assorted fresh pastries. The aroma from ‘Paris’ and other food vendors was enticing. Some people came down to the Rialto Theater or to lunch at Luigino’s, and walked around a few artisans stalls as an afterthought — but most had the Arts and Crafts Show as their primary destination. Several patrons who bought hanging jar-shaped solar lights on Saturday, came back on Sunday to buy more (solarlightjar@tampabay.rr.com).

“At twenty dollars, these are among the least expensive items here,” Melanie Lloyd, who was here from Georgia visiting her Mother at Stonecrest, said. “I bought four yesterday for my Mother’s lanai, and I decided, since they are lightweight, they will make good Christmas gifts — so we came back to buy six more. They’re even good to hang on trees — they glow at night.”

Grandmothers love Peruvian-born Judy Dam's embroidered kids sweaters and outfits.
Grandmothers love Peruvian-born Judy Dam’s embroidered kids sweaters and outfits.

This November show featured the usual attractive garden fountain and succulent plant merchants, and lots of nice gifts for children — but some artisans’ crafts were really standouts.

Peruvian-born, Judy Dam, who lives in Davie, was doing a brisk business among Villages grandmothers, who loved her embroidered children’s sweaters and outfits. “I do all the handwork myself,” Judy said, “and the women seem to like the animals and city scenes I create.(fairytalesonparade@yahoo.com). Brazil-born Lucy Gabriel, from Hollywood, Florida, brought colorful, tribal design jumpsuits from her ‘Rio Girl Summerwear’ collection. Women like these for lounging or shopping, because they are really ‘all-in-one’ pants. Business was OK this weekend, but more people buy these when the weather is warmer. Some ladies said they would take them on cruises.”

Neil Shappell's segmented wood creations are both beautiful and utilitarian.
Neil Shappell’s segmented wood creations are both beautiful and utilitarian.

Jan Mulberry from Cocoa Beach, who looks much younger than her 84 years, was also selling her burnout-silk tops for cruises. “I have a lot of repeat customers in The Villages,” Jan said, “because these tops come in many colors and can dress up or down most any outfit. I create the designs with a chemical process. They are all handmade in washable silk and pack well. I’m turning 85 next week, and will do a tandem parachute jump to celebrate. My family was surprised I would start a new business eight years ago, at age 76. and I told them I’m old but not dead yet. So that’s what I call my business — ‘OBND Wear.; I used to teach skin care, and stay out of the sun. I also use pear soap with lots of water. People think my skin looks very good for my age.” (www.obndwear.com)

Kelly Engels and her daughter, Camryn, from Merritt Island, here visiting Kelly’s Mom in Villa Laguna, were admiring artisan Zack Marksz’ large hand-hammered sterling silver jewelry with natural stones. Zack brought his wares from West Palm Beach. The rings and pendants featured large fresh water pearls, Australian opals, amethysts and topaz gems in different shades. (www.markszCo.com)

Argentine-born Ariana Bottary's fine custom painted leather handbags are 'one of a kind' items.
Argentine-born Ariana Bottary’s fine custom painted leather handbags are ‘one of a kind’ items.

Apopka resident Drew Brass brought his creative photography art, which included Florida scenes, coastal scenes and Florida College motifs. His frames are salvaged from old buildings and blended with the colors in his photographs. “I’ve taken my college and sports images to Florida colleges, and they are all officially licensed by the universities,” Drew said. (www.drewbrassphotography.com). Argentine-born Ariana Bottary’s fine handcrafted and painted leather handbags are ‘one-of-a-kind’ items. Most portray abstract facial features and contain intricate pockets and detailing inside. Some of the purses have wide-open eyes showing, and when you lift the flaps, the eyes are inside too, but whimsically closed.  Neil Shappell’s segmented wood pieces are both decorative and useful. Salad bowls, vases and trays made of fine polished wood pieces, seamlessly melded together, were attracting a lot of attention. His daughter was on board to talk with some of the customers. (nshappell@yahoo.com)

Marissa Bergman was leaving the square with several large packages. “I can’t get over how much there is to do in The Villages — and whenever I visit here, I always wind up doing a lot of shopping, she said with a grin. “I just expected it to be much warmer than in Virginia, and it isn’t.”

Soon to be 85, Jan Mulberry's burnaway silk tops dress up any outfit.
Soon to be 85, Jan Mulberry’s burnaway silk tops dress up any outfit.
Crowds came out with the sun on Sunday.
Crowds came out with the sun on Sunday.

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