Fair’s fair at annual gala

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

Broadview artist Margaret Mote said she’ll pretty much paint on anything that doesn’t move – a ceiling tile, a skillet, a toilet seat.

Yes, she painted on a toilet seat.

“It was the same color that matched the bathroom,” Mote explained, “and I painted a windmill on it.”

Although Mote didn’t have any toilet seats for sale at this weekend’s C.R.A.F.T. fair at the fairgrounds’ exhibit hall, she did have a tin ceiling tile – marked sold – and a giant saw blade depicting the four seasons, also marked sold.

Mote was joined by dozens of other artisans selling their handmade wares at the 34th annual gala affair. They were joined by hundreds of buyers out shopping for gifts, themselves – or on a mission.

“We are collecting southwest Christmas ornaments,” said Linda Stinner, who said she was in the midst of a cross-country move from Ohio to California. Although Stinner said most of the family flew to their new roost, she was traveling in a van with her daughter, three dogs, three cats, three parrots and, so far, six new Christmas ornaments.

“We have to trade in our birdhouses we used to decorate the tree with,” Stinner said, “unless some of the birdhouses look southwestern.”

One of Stinner’s new ornaments was purchased from George Contreras, who creates art in Socorro with his wife, Nan, a first time vendor at the fair.

“I’ll have to see how the day goes,” Contreras before making a comparison of Tucumcari’s C.R.A.F.T. fair to the others in which he’s sold his artwork. Not just to see how much money he made, he said, but to see how friendly the atmosphere was.

With his table full of southwest figurines, ornaments and pottery – and a conversation with Stinner while she bought a piece of the southwest for her tree – Contreras said he felt fairly confident it would be going OK.

Conchas artist Christine Steig was another vendor who thought it was going OK, as long as she had plenty of folks with which to chat.

“I really enjoy talking to the people,” Steig said, who has been a regular at the fair for a decade and specializes in decoupage dishes and ceramics. In addition to socializing while selling her artwork, Steig said she absolutely loves every aspect of creating. She said she adores it so much, in fact, she even has a kiln at home and when people come to visit, they are always in awe. Not by the kiln – but by the dozens of crafts she creates and places all through her home.

“They say ‘This is a museum,’” Steig said. Is there a downside to all her creating?

“Sometimes it gets to be a chore to dust it,” she laughed.