MONTROSE – You won’t find anything made in China at the 36th annual Basement Boutique Craft Show and Sale this Saturday and Sunday at the Montrose Pavilion. Everything is handmade by regional artists and the closest thing to “imported” is silver jewelry made by Larry Munyon, who will come all the way from Gunnison.
The show runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Part of the appeal of the annual show is that it doesn’t allow imports or resale items, said show chair Kathi Zerby, who has headed up the sale for the past 12 years. It’s one of the few juried craft shows left in the state, she said, and there are no duplicates among the crafters selected to participate.
“You go to most craft shows and there may be ten jewelers and tons of potters,” she said. “But we make it a point of only allowing two of any one craft, and those two have to be different.”
Zerby, who makes stained glass creations, said craft shows come and go, but the Basement Boutique show has a continuous history that’s been documented. The name comes from the show’s origins, when it was first held in the basements of different crafter’s homes.
“Then we got too many crafters, so we started going to different churches,” she said. But as the show saw more growth, the crafters found the perfect place when the Montrose Pavilion opened in 1992, where it has been ever since.
The show is also run like a boutique, Zerby said, where customers pay for their selections at designated checkout centers instead of paying individual artists.
“People come in and get a basket and go from table to table and pay at a central checkout,” she said. “People can sometimes be intimidated when a crafter is sitting there, so this gives them a chance to actually go look.”
The 29 crafters come from all over the region to participate in the longest running craft show in the area, hailing from Grand Junction, Cedaredge, Montrose, Ridgway, Crawford, Olathe, Eckert, Delta and Telluride, Zerby said.
Susan Rahmann of Telluride will be there with her hand-painted sleepwear made from bamboo, and Johnnie Lyons of Cedaredge will have his “custom-made boot top purses” and coin purses made out of the boot toes. Jack Haws of Montrose will have unique turquoise jewelry, and Clarence Fivecoate of Cedaredge will display his wood-turned vases, bowls, platters and more.
George and Kathy Baier of Grand Junction will also be on hand with spice trivets, aprons, tortilla warmers, potholders and sack savers. Melissa Carson of Montrose will display her sewing creations of table runners, quilts, and wall hangings, and Susan Carter, another Montrose resident, will have beaded bags and vests, while Karen Brueggemann of Cedaredge will sell her hand-formed copper work and polymer clay jewelry.
That’s just a sampling, and though the crafters won’t be sitting behind their tables, they will be on hand to staff checkout counters and talk with customers. According to Zerby, they do all the work involved in putting on the show.
“We set up tables and work our own show,” she said. “We man the cash tables, are our own security, and we decorate the hall.”
All the craftspeople will have nametags, Zerby said, and if a customer wants more information or a custom order, they will help them locate the craftsperson.
Although most of the tables will be filled with items people can buy and take home, one new exhibit offers an unusual service – videotaping memories. Joan Schmid of Montrose will have information on her service and how she goes to people’s homes or to senior centers to videotape older people talking about their lives, which the family can treasure for generations to come.
“That way the family has that recording,” said Zerby, who plans to ask her 76-year-old mother to be interviewed.
“There are a lot of things they won’t necessarily tell you, but will tell a total stranger,” she said. “You find out things you never even knew.”
The show will have much more, Zerby said, including several tables from organizations raising money. She offered discounted booth space this year to the Altrusa Club of Montrose and to Sweet Bites, a local confectioner that is raising money for Montrose High School. Sharing Ministries will also accept donations of nonperishable foods, she said.
For many years, the Basement Boutique craft show was held twice a year, in the fall and the spring, and craft show members are again considering doing the spring show, Zerby said,.
“We’ve been talking about bringing it back because there’s not many craft shows left,” she said. “Ridgway’s show is one of the few that is strictly a craft show, but most of the others allow imports and resales.”