Craft exhibitions in the Spokane area kick off the holiday season with handcrafted trinkets and decorations

Spokane Schools opened their gyms over the weekend to hundreds of artisans selling merchandise such as real gemstone earrings and handmade soaps in some of the first craft shows since the coronavirus disrupted personal fairs in 2020.

Hannah Opsal spent hours in creek beds sourcing gems and stones for her handcrafted jewelry, which she sold at the Central Valley High School booster club fundraising craft show.

Opsal has been running PNW Jewelry Finds for about four years, she said after realizing she had a knack for finding and making natural jewelry.

“As much as I can, I’ll make the real stones,” said Opsal.

Other suppliers were also inspired by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, such as the owner of Seraphim Glass, Amy Holtorf.

Stained-glass portraits of animals such as elk, deer, and bison hung on their booth at the Shadle Park High School craft market on Sunday morning.

“We live in a unique place and there is a lot of life around us, so I mainly draw from it,” said Holtorf.

Holtorf is self-taught in the field after becoming interested in the art form about four years ago, she said.

“You can do so many fun things with glass, and I like to think outside the box, so it’s a good place to do that,” said Holtorf.

Mary Kay Hiatt, owner of Mary’s Creations, said she also got into her job because she let her creativity run wild. She and her husband Terry Hiatt sold handcrafted festive wreaths and styled glass bottles with embedded fairy lights at the Shadle Park High School Fair on Sunday.

Hiatt started her job about 10 years ago and only ever sold her products at local craft fairs, she said.

“We don’t have anything online or a store, you know, we come here because we like it and we have so many repeat customers,” said Hiatt.

Although Hiatt lives with Parkinson’s disease, which makes her projects take longer, she says she still enjoys creating new wreaths using a range of materials such as wire, fairy lights, and colored thread. As the holidays approach, their wreaths feature red and green color schemes with festive glitter, she said. In the spring she uses more forest green and lots of flowers, she said.

The bottles are hand-painted by Hiatt and it takes about four hours to complete, she said.

“That really stimulates my brain,” she said. “We do all of this at home.”

Tawnya Nanny’s business also started and remains homemade, she said at the Central Valley High School craft show on Sunday afternoon. Her brand, Willow and Bramble, offers skin care products that are fortified with ingredients from Nanny’s home garden of plants, she said.

“I feel like it is just as important to be minimal in your ingredients as it is in what you eat,” said Nanny.

Nanny’s stall held pre-made cardboard boxes, each filled with a bar of goat’s milk-based herbal soap, a candle, a Himalayan salt scrub mixture, and a lotion.

Each box has its own fragrance based on what Nanny sold at other fairs, such as chamomile, lavender and citrus. She said the weekend had been a success so far.

“It’s good to have the opportunity to be here and support the craft show again,” said Nanny.

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