Sopris Sun

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Local artists offer handmade goods in a cozy setting

By Justin Patrick
Special to The Sopris Sun

For 41 years, local artists have been convening annually to sell their wares at the Emma Schoolhouse Christmas Bazaar just west of Basalt. This year is no exception, and about a dozen artists will be selling a range of hand crafted goods at the first schoolhouse built in the area. It marks a great opportunity to complete some holiday shopping for everyone on the list, as well as a chance to meet the local artists in an intimate, culturally significant setting.

The Bazaar began as an outlet for valley quilters to reach buyers, but has evolved to include a range of artists. This year, crafts for sale will include natural beauty products, pottery, reusable food bags, quilts, mittens, children’s clothing, honey, fused glass nightlights and plates, wooden cutting boards, hand-blown glass figures, wooden ornaments depicting historic Basalt, aspen leaf jewelry, beaded artwork, and food items such as honey crystal almonds, Amish caramel corn, and jalapeno jelly.

“I like to call it the Mountain Fair of winter because I know every person who walks in,” said D.D. Gerdin, a.k.a. Beady D.D., who has been organizing the holiday sale for 20 years and sells her hand beaded items there. “There’s a huge variety for every palate and there’s always new stuff every year,” she said.

According to Gerdin, over 1,000 customers went through the schoolhouse doors over a two-day period last year. There are free snacks and refreshments to entice all family members who arrive, though Gerdin jokes that it is frequently the husbands who congregate around the snacks while “the wives do all their Christmas shopping.”

Martin Gerdin, a Carbondale glass artist who began blowing glass at age 14 and debuted at the Bazaar, echoed sentiments about the intimate feel to the shopping experience. “It’s the home field people,” he said. “Everyone knows everyone.” He stressed that it is a point of pride that nothing for sale is manufactured. “It’s only handmade things by local artists.”

He joins his mother, D.D., as well as Rebecca Hodgson, Dorothy Hutchinson, Leslie Russel, Beth Sowers, Linda Reynolds, Stacy Yater Wallace, Chris Stoner, Dennis York, Jennifer Mathews, the Basalt Historical Society, and Cindy Davis at the 2017 Emma Schoolhouse Christmas Bazaar from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 10 and 11.

This year, a portion of proceeds will be donated to the Multiple Sclerosis, Pediatric Brain Tumor and Parkinson’s Disease Research Foundations.

Similar events

The 41st annual Carbondale Christmas Boutique takes place at The Carbondale Firehouse (300 Meadowwood Dr.) from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m Nov. 11. Local handmade gift offerings include wreaths, soaps, organic lotions, leather goods, jewelry, knit and natural fiber creations, stained glass, jams, decorations and more. More info at

Then, on Nov. 17, The Launchpad (76 S. Fourth St.) kicks off its seasonal artisanal market with a 6 to 8 p.m. opening reception.