Most people think of the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market as the place to go for fresh produce and hot breakfast on Sunday mornings, but now you can add holiday gifts to that list. From now through December 18th, the south end of the Market will be dedicated to crafters - local artisans selling their handmade wares – just in time for Christmas.
I took a tour of the booths and found an array of gifts for family and friends. From jewelry to hand-thrown pottery, from quilts to baby clothes, these local vendors are putting their best foot forward for Mar Vistans.
My first stop was Artwear by Birgitta, who has been a monthly vendor at the market for over 3 years. Birgitta has been making jewelry for 15 years and is part of the Mar Vista Arts and Crafts Collective. Her necklaces and earrings feature polished stones that feel substantial and make a statement that says “I am powerful and confident” when wearing them. She strives to make one-of-a-kind pieces that will be part of someone’s life for years.
The booth next door is hosted by three gals who make up Crafty Nerds. Jaimee, Jessica and Amy pooled their talents to create some of the cutest kid-friendly clothing you’ve ever laid eyes on. Need a fairy costume for your baby or toddler? Choose from a colorful assortment of wings and wands with chiffon skirts and streamer-bedazzled headbands. Together they produce great gifts including knitted scarves and fashionable headbands for grownups. Pocket Wonkies, adorable critters that fit in your back pocket, are perfect gifts for kids. And check out the incredibly clever bird feeders made from tea cups. They also sell kids' tie-dyed shirts, all made by hand. When asked how long it takes to make the fairy costumes, they answered “oh, about two [TV] shows on a Friday night." Prices range between $5-$40.
Just steps away is a beautiful display of handmade pottery by Susan Grieder, who owns Beauty Underfoot and Mud Puppies LA, where she teaches ceramics to kids during the year. Susan has been making ceramics for over 35 years, but started incorporating impressions of wildflowers into the clay about 12 years ago. All her pieces are food-safe, lead-free stoneware. A tremendous amount of detail goes into each one, but her prices are very reasonable. Grierder said she “wanted to make pieces that people could afford to use.” You can only buy her works of art at the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market.
Need a gift for someone who uses a cane? The Cane Expressions booth has you covered – literally. Pam Goldwasser sells removable decorative cane covers. Beaded, denim, and even sparkly or leopard print fabrics “turn your cane into a fashion accessory,” she says. Prices range from $10 for fabric, $13 for shimmery, and $25 for beaded covers. She sells to medical supply stores and online, so even though they won’t be at the Market in the coming weeks, you can still shop online at caneexpressions.com.
Quilts from the Heart had a booth that was so full of people, I could hardly get in to photograph the merchandise. Quilted Christmas stockers were hung on a carousel to draw customers. Quilt blankets and purses kept them filling their shopping baskets. Nina Flores is the coordinator for Quilts from the Heart, which has been under her guidance for about 7 years. It has grown from 5 women to about 45. They are part of the Mar Vista Library program, offering free classes. They recycle donated materials into beautiful products that they sell only twice a year – at Mother’s Day and Christmas. But if you missed them at the Market this week, you can still call Nina at 310-397-7845 or visit them at the library. Prices range from $8 for handmade quilted stockings (buy more for a discount) to around $45 for quilts.
Maji Designs is another purveyor of beautiful jewelry founded by Lynne Hinz. Her company is five years old, and she started by making "mother’s bracelets." She says the theme of all her work is “inspiration.” Hinz makes all of her products while she’s working at an event booth – where inspiration strikes most frequently. She chooses charms and beads that are uplifting as well as beautiful, like a charm of the Tree of Knowledge, or a circle inscribed with “Faith, Hope, Love”. Hinz has a website and Facebook page. Prices range from $16-$99.
Avoid the traffic and hazards of mall shopping. Support your local artisans this holiday season as you grocery shop at the Farmer's Market.
Christy Wilhelmi is well known to many local Mar Vistans as The Gardenerd. Her website and blog at www.gardenerd.com offers information on classes, consulting and food-garden design.