An artful approach to holiday shopping

For those who like to put a lot of thought into their holiday shopping, the Pelham Art Center awaits.

“Craft-Tastic” is the name of the center’s annual exhibition and sale of handmade goods with a decidedly artistic appeal. Gail Heidel, the center’s gallery and public program manager, has curated the latest edition of the longtime show.

I stopped by the Nov. 22 opening and found quite the array of work from more than 20 local, national and international craft artists. The space was filled with functional, wearable and decorative work, including jewelry, hats, ceramics, glasswork, furniture and much more. Prices range from $20 and under all the way up to four figures.

The show is designed, Heidel said, to put the spotlight on contemporary arts and crafts – and encourage some holiday shopping beyond the mall.

“Everybody in here was invited to participate,” Heidel said. She added that in choosing the artists, she wanted to explore “how wide the discipline of craft is.”

That means there are funky handbags made out of recycled plastic bags; metalwork earrings and beaded necklaces; wood-carved headboards; ceramic tiles; serving vessels and pillows, ornaments and wall hangings.

Throughout, there is a theme of repurposing, as well.

“I really like this idea of re-use and (the) reinterpretation of materials,” Heidel added. “There’s this idea of transformation I was really interested in.”

The opening-night crowd seemed quite impressed by the variety, from the wood carvings by Doug Frati to the whimsical ceramic figures by Cheryl Boykin Bryant, from the quirky-cool hats from milliner Susan Saas to the Fair Trade items from the international contingent.

All in all, plenty of inspiring ideas for the holiday season.

“Craft-Tastic” continues through Jan 4 at the Pelham Art Center, 155 Fifth Ave. For more, visit


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