Catholic Sentinel photo by Clarice Keating
Susie Anderson, a florist, says vendors range from young children to elderly parishioners at the Madeleine Parish holiday bazaar.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Clarice Keating
Susie Anderson, a florist, says vendors range from young children to elderly parishioners at the Madeleine Parish holiday bazaar.
Styles may have changed from crocheted doilies back then to knit iPod cozies today, but the urge to create is nothing new.

“People get a great deal of satisfaction out of making something with their own hands,” said John Schaefer, a woodcarver and member of St. Joseph Parish in Salem for 25 years. “They may never make much money out of it, but what you make with your hands has a special meaning.”

This time of year, in particular, crafters and artisans boost production and sell their wares at parish bazaars everywhere.
Schaefer, in addition to selling his hand carved crucifixes online at customcrucifix.com, will have a table at the St. Joseph fair Dec. 4-5.

Relatively new to the craft circuit (he started carving the crucifixes about 2 ½ years ago), Schaefer said he’s discovered that the tables at these events aren’t just filled with the creations of older folks who have been doing the parish bazaars for decades.

Last year he sold next to a young woman in her 20s who made jewelry.

“There are new people all of the time,” he said. “It’s a whole new perspective. Everyone has their own little niche. They make what they like and they’re proud of it.”

Over at the Madeleine Parish in Portland, when the church is transformed into a holiday fair and winter wonderland for its Tree Lighting and Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 9, shoppers can buy from young vendors — really young. Take, for instance, Bailey, a sixth-grader who sews handbags.

“It’s almost come full circle,” said Susie Andersen, who is coordinating this year’s bazaar and who sells floral arrangements and wreaths. “The Altar Society ladies have their booths, but an equal number of young kids are there, too.”

Among those who vend is a young woman who makes journals, recycling the spines of retro textbooks and kitschy cookbooks. 
“It’s not really old grandma stuff anymore,” Andersen said. “These are young entrepreneurs.”

Like Schaefer, Andersen got into floral arrangement as a creative outlet. The small business has also become a family affair — not only did she start it with her sister, but Andersen also gets her children to help out. Her son, Matthew, helps his mom collect driftwood on the beach to incorporate into arrangements.

She’s not alone. Among the more than 40 vendors at the Madeleine, many are family collaborations, with mothers teaching their children a craft so they can participate in the bazaar, or who solicit their kids’ assistance in preparing for the big day.
Keeping the booths full of crafters has become more of a challenge at St. Anthony in Waldport.

To rev up interest in the old-school art of crafting for bazaars, Pam Lamphear is holding a pie baking contest. The entry fee is the pie and the recipe, complete with baking trouble-shooting tips, which will be compiled into a book — Heavenly Hints for Devilish Problems.
One young member of the parish plans to bake and enter a pie with his grandmother, Lamphear said.

“We’re hoping that recipe idea gets some new people interested,” she said.

The St. Anthony Bazaar will be Dec. 4-5.