Local craftswoman and TAG Bazaar long-timer Kathy Green recalls her early years as a vendor at the Holiday Bazaar, over 15 years ago.
"It was much smaller than it is today, but it still had that feeling of a fun, social, community-building event that it is now," she says.
The Holiday Bazaar may have grown and evolved over the decades, but the underlying ambiance of a merry affair that brings talented locals and their neighbors together for a weekend of holiday cheer and, of course, lots of shopping remains. Friday marks the beginning of this year's three-day-long event, which will be held at the Telluride Middle/High School Cafeteria. This year's Holiday Bazaar runs Friday, 5-8 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday will feature a local's 10 percent discount.
This year more than 30 booths will showcase the work of many of the region's most talented and popular artists. From holiday wreaths and culinary treats to a wide array of unique gifts for everyone on your list, this weekend's Holiday Bazaar is not to be missed.
The event, hosted by TAG and supported by the Telluride Council for the Arts and Humanities, is one of the few opportunities regional artists have to display their work under one roof. With the recent closing of the Local's Gallery, this is truly the market to buy locally made artworks. The wide array of artists includes beadworkers, sculptors, jewelers, glassblowers, gourmet artisans and hand-knitters, with prices ranging from $5 and up.
Some long-time TAG Bazaar standbys will again set up shop at this weekend's market, including Telluride Truffles, Momo Ornaments and Tomboy Soaps. Joining the TAG Bazaar regulars will be a few fresh faces as well, including Salt of the Earth Lamps, Cimarron Sage wreaths, Wildlife Coffee, and more.
The Old Stand-bys
Telluride's famed chocolatier Patty Denny and her crew are, literally, up to their elbows in chocolate. Chocolate truffles, to be exact, and the number of these little Telluride-born delicacies that will be made for this holiday season is staggering: close to 50,000!
"What a lot of people may not know is that nearly 80 percent of our product is sold outside of Telluride," Denny explains. Telluride Truffles began in Telluride ten years ago and today the bulk of Denny's business is done over the Internet, often ordered in bulk as corporate gifts by companies in large cities. To keep up with demand, Denny moved the business to a 1,200-square-foot kitchen space in Lawson Hill this spring. While the little chocolate luxuries have gone global, owner Denny assures that the company's "soul" resides in Telluride.
The TAG Holiday Bazaar "has grown immensely since I've been going," says Denny of her last eight years as a vendor at the Bazaar. "I am really impressed with the quality of the Bazaar every year. If people haven't gone in a few years, they should really come check it out. It's a great social event!"
This year, look for two new truffle flavors: the champagne infused dark chocolate Blizzard; and Early Frost, a melt away mint-flavored truffle. As always, Denny will supply truffle tastings throughout the Bazaar.
A few years ago, local Michelle Hill was trying to figure out what to do with some old family photos. She wanted to give them as gifts, but the classic picture in a frame idea wasn't exactly what she was looking for.
Hill's crafty flair helped pave the way for Momo Ornaments, delicate glass bulbs that contain transparent photos hovering inside. She took the concept to the TAG Holiday Bazaar two years ago, and has been floating in Christmas Ornament bliss ever since.
"I got great feedback from the Bazaar," she says, explaining that the positive feedback helped spark her craft into a full-fledged business, Momo Ornaments, which can now be purchased over the Internet at www.momoornaments.com.
Customers can personalize their ornaments with their own photos, like baby, wedding, and family shots. Hill also sells old and new Telluride-scapes, and will also have new, "fun-size" Roger Mason print ornaments for sale at the Bazaar.
"I never thought this project would be so supported by so many people," Hill says of Momo. "That is part of what makes the Bazaar such a great community event."
Salt of the Earth Lamps
To arrive at this weekend's TAG Holiday Bazaar, Janine Adair's salt lamps have taken quite a journey. The process begins in salt mines in the Gola Valley at the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, where natural slabs of salt stone are carved by hand and then drilled to make a hollow core that will house a light bulb. The resulting warm glow is striking, unlike anything you've ever seen.
Adair has been making salt lamps for nearly five years, starting her company as one of the first in the country. "Not only are they beautiful, but they're also healthy," says Adair of the lamps.
Salt lamps emit negative ions, which are purported to help keep the air clear of dust, dander, and other airborne respiratory irritants. Negative ion generators, like the fan-like product Ionic Breeze, are used for the same purpose.
But unlike the Ionic Breeze, Salt of the Earth Lamps can be a decorative feature in your home. The warm colors emitted from the salt lamp range from off white to pale pink, from peach to deeper shades of orange, and from light red to deep crimson. No two lamps are exactly alike.
This weekend's Bazaar will be a first for Adair, who is in the process of relocating to Cedaredge from Hastings Mesa.
Ten years ago, while studying a species of poisonous bird in Papua New Guinea, Ramona Gaylord stumbled upon another discovery the fact that that country's virgin rainforests are disappearing at an alarming rate. The third-largest tract of virgin rainforest in the world is suffering from "technified" or full-sun production of coffee, which provides improved short-term crop yields of around 30 percent but also leads to massive deforestation and subsequent loss of habitat for the rainforests' thousands of native species.
Today, in a "last ditch" effort to try to protect this small swath of rainforest, Gaylord is selling shade-grown, fair trade, organic coffee. The beans are responsibly grown and harvested from the very forest Gaylord and others are trying to save.
"The beans are picked by women and children I know," she explains, "and I send back all the profits to my two friends, Andy and Deb Mack, who run the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in New Guinea." Much of the money Gaylord collects from coffee sales in the U.S. goes toward WCS projects, such as sending locals through a Wildlife Management program at the University of Papua New Guinea.
The Steaming Bean coffee company has jumped on board, roasting the Papua New Guinea beans and packaging them with a vibrant label depicting the Papuan rainforest denizens. "It makes an interesting and colorful eco-Christmas gift," Gaylord says. "Try some… and know that your cup of coffee has traveled a great distance and that it is doing its best to keep the little forest from which it was harvested alive and thriving."
High School Art
For the first time ever, the Telluride High School photography program has joined forces with TCAH to bring student photography into the community spotlight. A THS Student Photography Calendar, which features 12 unique photos from students in Jennifer Morgan's photography class, will be available for purchase at the TAG Holiday Bazaar.
Students submitted up to three photographs each for the calendar, which were then judged by TCAH board members to be included in the calendar.
The final product, which became available for purchase on Noel Night, reflects a decidedly student-dictated project.
"The only similar thread is that these are all black-and-white photos that students took," explains Morgan. "It's gratifying for the students and for me as well to see their work extending beyond the high school and out into the community."
The calendars are $10 each, with half of the proceeds going to TCAH (who coordinated the professional printing) and half going back into the THS photography program.
Also available during the Bazaar at the high school booth with be Hoot Brown memorial T-shirts. Fun-loving, die-hard skier Brown was killed in a tragic accident on the ski area last spring. In his honor, Brown's friends and classmates have designed a memorial bench with an etched Plexiglas back depicting scenes from the mountains. T-shirts feature an owl emblem designed by Brown's favorite pro skier, Anthony Boronowski.
The back of the shirt says "Don't take life too seriously," one of Brown's characteristic statements.
For more information on the TAG Holiday Bazaar, contact TCAH at 728-3930, or visit their website at www.telluridearts.org.