In Focus: Hobbyists Show Their Work At The Northern Lights Casino Craft Fair
The craft fair at the Northern Lights Casino in Walker has become the place to be for artists and and hobbyists to show off their pieces. The crafters set up shop at the casino twice a month.
“This craft show here at Northern Lights, I’ve done twice a month now for almost 3 years,” says gemstone cutter Chuck Durnan.
“There’s so much going on and there’s so many fantastic vendors here, and there’s different things every single sale!” says Peggy Smith, who runs Sweet & Sassy Food with her daughter, Bobbie Joe.
Every single item is handmade and each crafter has a different niche.
“Dream catchers, I go out and harvest the willow in the winter when the tree are sleeping. Then you scrape the bark off them and then I do a little quill work in he middle. Each one has a crystal. And then you get the feathers from chickens,” says Patti Harder, a crafter and recylcler who makes jewelry, dream catchers, jams and syrups.
“We come up with new and different ideas, so one of the examples is we take and we make roses out of tootsie rolls and caramels,” says Smith.
Durnan says, “I designed my own cut that’s got 148 facets. And I’ve been faceting gem stones now as a hobby for 40 years.”
Many of the crafters do their work as a hobby and have developed their skills over time. No matter which day you go to the craft fair, you’re almost guaranteed to see something new.
“My husband and I do wood crafts. He cuts things out with a scroll saw and if they’re painted, I probably painted them,” says crafter Judy Renning.
Roxanne Pederson is a jewelry maker who runs her own Etsy shop called Rocky Jewelry Designs. She says, “I started making jewelry a couple of years ago. My stuff is all one of a kind. I never make two of the same thing.”
“I just do cribbage boards on the side just for something to do. They’re all handmade. Each one is [from] different wood. It takes about five hours to do one,” says Jeff Raines, who also makes bird houses.
“This is a good venue for us. It’s a nice location. It’s indoors. No worrying about the weather or rain or any of that kind of stuff that you get in the summertime so this works out really well,” says Durnan.
The crafters say the fair is also the best place to meet people who share a common interest.
Durnan adds, “When you retire, you can’t just walk away from that. You’ve got to stay in connection with people somehow and this hobby has done that for both my wife and I.”
“It’s like a close-knit family that has all adopted one another. So you’ll have a friendly atmosphere and the vendors are willing to bargain with you,” says Smith.
Updates for the craft fair are regularly posted on the Northern Lights Casino website.