By William Thompson: Quay County Sun
The 33rd annual Tucumcari Arts and Crafts Fair had only been open a couple of hours Saturday morning at the Quay County Fair Barn. Vendors were already selling items.
Potential buyers ‹ some of more that 700 people organizers said attended the weekend event ‹ were examining handmade jewelry and various crafted items, keeping an eye out for bargains.
Jessie Green of McAlister brought about a year1s worth of crochet work to sell.
“I’ve sold quite a few items already,” Green said Saturday morning, “Everything at this fair is handcrafted. So many fairs have a bunch of stuff from China.”
The fair offered the chance to buy one-of-a-kind items, like crocheted napkin holders from Tucumcari seventh grader Corinne Lauriault, a crocheted Tony the Tiger windsock made by Bonnie Witt of Logan, or a leather cell phone case handcrafted by Leslie Robbins of Tucumcari.
“I just started doing leather work about a year ago,” Robbins said. “I buy sheets of cowhide and make everything from belts to key chains.”
Jose Garcia came from Albuquerque with scads of jewelry items and American Indian fetishes carved from turquoise, marble and other stones.
“I learned how to carve by watching the Navajo artisan Ron Turpin,” Garcia said. “He just made me stand beside him and watch him carve everyday and I learned how to carve by just watching. People come up to me at shows now and say my work looks like Ron Turpin’s work, especially my carved buffaloes.”
Tucumcari resident Gretchen Haller spent more than an hour sorting through boxes of Garcia1s carved pendants. Her friend, Susan Yearout, bought jewelry, blown glass items and homemade fudge at the fair.
Carol Keith was selling hand-painted wooden signs with humorous sayings like, “Well-behaved women rarely make history,” and “I’m not tense, just terribly, terribly alert.”
“Making these things just keeps me out of trouble,” Keith said.