Having trouble finding that perfect gift?
Why not let hundreds of Maine artists and craftspeople help you with your selection?
We are in the midst of holiday craft sale season, which means that besides all the yummy baked goods and used clothing you might find for sale in church basements, it’s a great time to find locally made art, furniture, pottery, quilts, frames and sweaters.
You name it, somebody in Maine makes it.
Craft fairs are a good opportunity to shop small, or buy from local small-business people. It’s also a time to shop big, meaning at some of these fairs you can browse the work of 80 to 100 artisans.
There are holiday craft shows of varying sizes and flavors from now until Christmas. Below we focus on five of the bigger ones in Greater Portland, plus a list of many others all over the state.
So read, choose your sale and celebrate the holiday season while celebrating Maine arts and crafts.
Dec. 4-6, East End Community School, 195 North St., Portland, free. 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 5, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 6. seaportland.org
About 80 artisans will be selling their work at this sale, put on by the Society for East End Arts (SEA). Creations range from photography to decor made from things found on the beach. Jeff Weeks will be there with his wrought-iron picture frames, welded together with recycled items like wrenches and scissors. There will also be handcrafted metals, jewelry, pottery, clothing from organic or recycled materials, greeting cards, calendars, artwork and stained glass. There is plenty of parking at the school’s parking lot.
Dec. 5-6, University of Southern Maine’s Sullivan Gym, 66 Falmouth St., Portland, $2. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. unitedmainecraftsmen.com
About 100 artisans will be selling their wares at this show, put on for nearly 40 years by United Maine Craftsmen. There will be jewelry, pottery, wood products, sweaters, shawls, fabric place mats, quilts, bowls, cutting boards, furniture and wooden games. Plus there will be some Maine-made food like honey and jams. There is a $2 admission price, but children under 12 are free. A list of crafters who will be at the show can be found on the United Maine Craftsmen website.
Dec. 4-5, Maine College of Art, 522 Congress St., Portland, free. 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 5. holidaysale.meca.edu
Original art by students, alumni, faculty and staff of the Maine College of Art. Artwork, prints, photos, jewelry, tools, pillows, and even bow ties are among the sale items. Because it’s at MECA, in the middle of the arts district, you can do other holiday shopping nearby. The MECA website lists the artists who are participating, along with pictures of their work and the year they graduated. Check out the snazzy bow ties designed by L.K. Weiss, class of 2011.
Dec. 13, Portland Company, 58 Fore St., Portland. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. picnicportland.com
The seasons change and so does PICNIC, the juried craft fair put on by the owners of the eclectic Portland shop Pinecone+Chickadee. There’s a summer PICNIC, outside, and there’s a holiday season one, inside at the Portland Company’s complex on the waterfront. This year’s holiday PICNIC, the seventh annual, will feature lots of locally made goods and vintage goods as well. Plus, for $5, you can have your picture taken with a Yeti, a big furry snowman creature. Every mall has a Santa you can pose with, but how many shopping experiences include a Yeti? Go the PICNIC web site for a complete list of vendors.
Dec. 18-20, Portland Pottery, 118-122 Washington Ave., Portland. 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 18, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 20. portlandpottery.com
For last-minute shoppers, this collection of creative gift ideas will be on display the weekend before Christmas. The sale takes place in the studio of Portland Pottery, where all the usual stuff will be put away as the space is turned into a gallery featuring work from some 90 different artisans. It’s not just pottery though; there will be locally made soaps, lotions and hand creams, as well as woodblock calendars and mittens made of recycled sweaters. And of course, lots of “functional” pottery-like mugs and plates and cups.