Putting on a Show

Women’s group rescues holiday craft show with new name, location

Former Hanover Craft Show
is now Madison Craft Show

(November 2013) – For approximately 20 years, the Hanover Craft Show at Hanover College was a popular annual gathering for local craftspeople. This year, the show launches again in a new venue and under new management.
Now titled the Madison Craft Show, the event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at the National Guard Armory, 1533 Clifty Dr. in Madison, Ind. The craft show will feature handmade items sold by 27 vendors from Jefferson, Jackson and Jennings counties, as well as other nearby areas.
Janet Lamb of Kent, Ind., and Wanda Shelley of Madison frequently participated in the craft show when it was held at Hanover College. Upon learning the show was going to close, they decided to take action, sending out about 80 questionnaires to gauge interest in the show’s continuation.

Cindy Brashears

Photo provided

Madison’s Cindy Brashears
will be among the vendors
with her soft sculpture items.

“The response was great!” said Shelley. “People really wanted it to keep going.”
They enlisted their friends in the Lick Branch Baptist Church Women’s Group in Deputy, Ind. Some of them are highly experienced in crafting. The women arranged for the show to re-open at the National Guard Armory, and within months, their vendor capacity was completely booked.
Lamb said many participants in the craft show hail from the Madison area, unlike the Madison Chautauqua or the Pilot Club of Madison’s Old Court Days.
Another difference between the Madison Craft Show and its larger counterparts is that crafts will not be judged, and the show will offer a variety of art and baked goods geared specifically toward the holidays. “People can have Christmas in mind while they’re there,” said Shelley. Offerings will include artisan jewelry, dolls, homemade soaps, hand-carved ornaments and more. Lamb and Shelley will also offer attendees breakfast and lunch during the show.
Cindy Brashears of Madison is a longtime attendee of the previous shows. She said she looks forward to vending in the Madison Craft Show.
“I’m happy that Wanda and the church ladies picked it up,” she said.
She was disappointed when Han-over decided not to renew the event, since it received a reliably high level of attendance during Hanover College’s homecoming season.
However, organizers anticipate a successful show at the National Guard Armory.
Brashears specializes in primitive soft sculpture, a type of sculpture made using cloth and similar non-rigid materials. She has made crafts over the last 20 years, originally learning from art classes in school. Later, she worked at a quilts and crafts store, where she learned how to create art from ceramic and other materials.
“I like to work with my hands,” she said. “I always have a project going. Crafting is very much an ongoing process.”
In addition to participating in local craft shows, Brashears sells her work through Christy’s Candles and the Little Golden Fox, both located in Madison. 
Brashears prepares for a craft show three or four months in advance. For the Madison Craft Show, she will sell snowman pillows and ornaments, both holiday-themed and generally decorative. She uses tea and coffee as dye to give her sewn fabric sculptures a timeworn look.
Lamb and Shelley are craft makers as well. As members of the Lick Branch Baptist Church Women’s Group, now in its fourth year, they practice their individual talents and learn from other women with an affinity for homemade art. “It’s a talented group of women,” Lamb said. She added that one of the ladies allows the group use of her workshop for mastering crafts.
Attendees at the Madison Craft Show can expect to see creations, such as Shelley’s handcrafted candles and Lamb’s homemade candies.
Although Brashears said she enjoys making crafts as a creative outlet, she admitted that her work is not inspired by anything in particular. Rather, curiosity drives her crafting choices. “I might find a pattern and think, ‘Hey, I’ll try that!’ ”
An individual vendor decides the price of a piece according to considerations of size and intricacy, however, Brashears noted that pieces for sale at craft shows typically range from small, simple items to larger, more detailed works. Ornaments, for example, might sell for around $3, while a painting sells for $30.
Lamb and Shelley said they would like to continue the Madison Craft Show every year but do not intend to expand the event. They agreed that there is a demand for a craft show with a more intimate ambiance than Madison Chautauqua’s sprawling bazaar-style event.
The craft show’s popularity with vendors indicates as much. All vending slots for next year’s show are already reserved.

• To be added to the vendor waiting list, call Wanda Shelley at (812) 273-3756.

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