By Sarah Allen
A simple question five years ago began a tradition known as Christmas in the Country.
The question: “What if we started a little driving tour … and let everyone see our studios?”
Brenda Bradds was one of four neighbors and friends who turned their love of art into an annual event that is both a time for enjoying traditional crafts and for crossing off a few items from Christmas lists.
“Each year, it just gets a little better,” Bradds said.
This year, Christmas in the Country will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 21, and from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22.
At Echo Valley Village, 4909 Carr Road in Hillsboro, a range of crafts is available for purchase, including majolica pottery, made by Bradds.
Bradds said she is one of the few people in the area who does majolica pottery. She described her craft as “very detailed.”
Bradds said her pieces utilize a light-colored underglaze and are all hand-painted. She has been a potter for about seven years.
While Bradds said that she has some hand-built pieces, such as angels, most of her items begin with clay on a wheel. After the clay has been formed into its desired shape, it goes into a kiln. Pieces fresh from their first firing are known as “bisque,” Bradds said.
From there, Bradds applies three coats of an underglaze, and then begins to hand-paint the pottery. The “colors are real shiny and bright,” Bradds said.
Her pieces are designed to be functional. They are food-safe, oven-proof and microwave-safe. They include: full dish sets for four, round cheese holders with knives, platters and mugs.
In addition to pottery, Bradds also makes paper crafts.
Available for sale during Christmas with the Country will be memory books. Bradds said special messages to loved ones can be written inside of them, and can then be hung on Christmas trees.
Bradds said her daughter, D’Anne Sweet, will also be selling her crafts at Echo Valley Village. Sweet creates glass art, including “cute things” for fairy gardens, as well as “very pretty” chunky jewelry.
Also available for purchase at Echo Valley Village will be lotions and goat milk soaps.
Also on the tour is Kara Juillerat’s studio. She works from her home at 12674 Mound Road in Winchester. There, she creates jewelry from fused glass. Her selections include bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings. Juillerat said she also makes night lights.
All her pieces, she said, are handmade and “very unique.”
Juillerat said she began making jewelry about six years ago after taking a continuing education class at Southern State Community College.
“From there … I ended up with my own kiln, and now I have my own workshop,” Juillerat said.
At Cabin Creek Primitives, Dave and Donna Stafford sell hand-crafted furniture, as well as other yard and household art. They also sell a variety of candles and other items.
Their shop is located at 1632 S. Taylorsville Road in Hillsboro.
Unique metal art can be found at 5320 Sorg Road in Hillsboro. There, Dave Waller creates pieces using horseshoes.
Waller said he began making horseshoe art about two to three years ago following people’s suggestions and “because I was intrigued with any kind of metal.”
Waller said his pieces begin with a plan – either by setting out horseshoes or by drawing a design. From there, he continues to make changes until he reaches the desired end product.
Examples of his pieces include wall art and cowboy-themed items.
However, Waller said that his “main, hottest item(s)” are nativity scenes made from cut nails. He said he began making those pieces last year and their popularity soared.
Coupons for Christmas in the Country can be found on the placemats at the Old Y Restaurant, located at 1940 U.S. Highway 62 in Winchester. Credit cards will be accepted.
Echo Valley Village
4909 Carr Road, Hillsboro
12674 Mound Road, Winchester
Cabin Creek Primitives
Dave and Donna Stafford
1632 S. Taylorsville Road, Hillsboro
5320 Sorg Road, Hillsboro
DATES AND TIMES:
Friday, Nov. 20: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 21: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 22: 2-5 p.m.
Sarah is a reporter for The Times-Gazette in Hillsboro. Reach her at 937-393-3456 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.