Written by: Zaina Salem
Many creative and innovative artisans brought the holiday spirit to life at E.J. Thomas Hall this past weekend. From Friday through Sunday, local and international crafters showcased hundreds of intricate, handcrafted items.
This arts and crafts show has been an Akron tradition for nearly 30 years.
Stepping into E.J. Thomas Hall was like stepping into a world of creativity. Festivity filled the air as a high school choir gave a harmonious performance, and every inch of space was filled with items ranging from melted glass bottles to popcorn and peanut brittle.
Instead of traditional nail files, Snazzy Creations, owned by the Palik family of Marshall, Mich., offers ones made out of float glass. The delicate etching of the files makes them safe and healthy for nails, and the creative, hand-painted designs make them that much more appealing. The Palik family hand-paints each and every design onto the tips of the files, which range from travel-sized nail files to larger pedicure ones. They can even customize them to your liking with names, dates or special designs.
These nail files have been a big hit for generations in the Palik family.
“I have paid for four years of college selling these,” said one of the Paliks.
Peg Black also uses glass in her crafting, but in a completely different fashion. Using tempered glass and a special technique — breaking apart different colored glasses with a hammer — she creates sundials, plates and nightlights.
“The glass I use is like the glass in car windows,” she said. “It is very hard to break, so it creates the look I want.”
She takes the pieces of cracked glass and glues them onto various surfaces to create something new. For instance, she creates nightlights by gluing the pieces onto half of a wine bottle, or a Snapple Tea bottle. Her husband takes charge of the copper work and the gluing, and together they create original pieces of art.
The craft show also featured edible creations. Walter Jorgensen and his wife Linda are the owners of Jorgensen’s Apiary in Olmsted Falls. It started as a hobby, but their bee farm grew from 16 hives to 40, and eventually transformed into a full-time job for both of them.
Since 1996, the Jorgensen’s have created an assortment of jams, jellies and honeys for shows and farmers’ markets. They are particularly famous for putting honey into a blender and whipping it to make creamed honey. They infuse various herbs, plants and flowers to make the flavors they want.
“I couldn’t even tell you how many flavors there are,” Linda Jorgensen said. “There are just too many to count.”
The honey isn’t just used to make jams and jellies, but also various other products. The Jorgensen’s create candles, soap, hand creams, lip balms, deodorants, melaleuca oil, skin care products, insect repellents and massage oil.
The annual holiday craft show continues to be an Akron tradition, and is considered to be a local favorite. It truly captures a festive spirit, just in time for the holidays.