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Artisan’s market draws weekend crowd

WEST POINT — Downtown West Point was host to all kinds of festivities over the weekend. With the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Fest on the River stealing the show during the day on Saturday, the evenings were highlighted by the West Point Fine Arts Artisans Market. 

The Artisans Market was held Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, giving the local artists plenty of time to show off their work. More than 25 vendors, sculptors and painters filled the old Craftmaster Furniture building in downtown, bringing in foot traffic from the Holiday Fest. 

While WPFA has held several exhibits throughout their first year, the Artisans Market gave them a better platform to sell their work rather than just having it up for display. 

“For me, it is personally humbling,” said local artist Becky Guinn. “It’s a great honor that anyone would purchase my work. For the customer, they are seeking something unique, one-of-a-kind to gift to someone special. They come with someone in mind or something we have created brings someone to mind. It’s a joy.”

Independent artisans like Clyde Jennings, Carolyn Irvin and June Bird were among local, artisanal businesses like Hither and Yarn, Tail Waggers and Wicks and Wood. The 10×10 booths had a myriad of things on offer from hand-painted home decor to specialty soaps to jewelry, all made by those from West Point, the Valley and surrounding areas. 

“For me [shopping locally] means they are looking for something different, something that is not mass made, and something unique to the person they are buying it for,” said jewelry designer Nora Preston. “It is a compliment. I started making sure all my cards had ‘Made in LaGrange, Georgia’ on them because at one of my first shows, someone bought some of my jewelry to send overseas and wanted it to specifically say that it was made in LaGrange. That meant a lot to me also.”

With the holiday season right around the corner, locals were able to use the market to purchase one-of-a-kind gifts that supported the local arts and economy. 

“Buying an item for yourself is a safe purchase, the only person it impacts is you,” said Kelly McKay of Hither and Yarn. 

“Buying for someone else takes thought, consideration, and confidence that your gift will be well-received. Therefore, when someone makes a purchase for someone else, that tells me they believe in my work to the extent that it reflects on them, the buyer. It is both a validation and a challenge to offer work worthy of that purpose. It is the greatest compliment you can receive.”