Shoppers, browsers, curiosity-seekers and onlookers will find all the fa-la-la-la-la they need from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, when the Central PA Guild of Craftsmen presents the 46th annual Winter Craft Market at the Nittany Valley Sports Centre in State College.

The local chapter of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen hopes the sizeable venue will attract more visitors than ever. 

“It’s a large, well-lit area, with plenty of room to spread out,” according to event committee member Christine Stangel. Since this year’s event will include more than 50 artisans, both participants and organizers appreciate the spacious venue.

Stangel goes on to explain that the guild had to cancel the Winter Craft Market for 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic.

“That time period hurt artists in general,” adds Tess Clapper, who also serves on the committee, “and some had to leave the art community.”

But the enthusiasm artists have for this market hasn’t waned, and organizers take pride in the diversity and quality of work shown. Each applicant must present work to a jury, which then selects artists to participate in the market. The use of a jury maintains a high standard of well-made, unique items.

“We also have to limit each media,” Clapper continues, “so you won’t see too many silversmiths or too many fabric artists.” Instead, participants will present varied types of art.

Diane Maurer, internationally renowned paper artist, says she feels “great about participating, knowing that this show is well-juried.” Continuing, the Spring Mills artist says, “You’ll find good, high-quality work here. Good artwork and fine craft.”

Maurer excels in marbling, collage and surface design, a type of print or design used on a surface such as a wall or book cover. In 2018, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City purchased 40 of her papers.

“They’re now preserved and protected in archival sleeves,” she says, “and I consider that the high point of my career so far.”

Her biography also includes an appearance on Martha Stewert Living and a design purchased by Godiva Chocolatiers for worldwide distribution. Additionally, she has authored numerous books detailing her work, her methods and her sources.

Maurer finds much of her inspiration in the outdoors. “I could see objects—streams or foliage—cut into images and made into a paper collage. Or I could trace an image in a 15th-century German work and use that in a paste paper.” 

She says she appreciates the way artists at this show take the time to talk to visitors about their art.

“They feel so passionate about their work,” she observes, “and enjoy explaining their techniques and what inspires them.”

New York native Bonnie Hedden designs jewelry, incorporating gold, sterling silver and a variety of gemstones. The bracelets, earrings, necklaces and rings she develops draw the viewer’s eye with gleaming metal, flowing compositions and richly hued stones.

“Some artists will sketch things out,” she explains. “I let the stones speak to me—like putting together puzzle pieces.”

Some of her pieces feature imagery from nature. You’ll see leaves, vines, daisies and other flowers. Other items seemingly echo, twist, wind and coil, according to the shape of the opals, pearls, topaz and other gemstones Hedden uses. Armed with her snips, files, vices and torches, she approaches her work with a precise mastery.

“Details embellish the focal points,” she says, “and I just keep working until it’s done.”   

An avid exhibitor attending 18 shows annually, Hedden won two prizes at the 2022 Lewiston Art Festival in New York state. She took home First Place for Artistic Craft as well as Best in Show.

“I really never expected it,” she recalls, “and I was just thrilled.”

Hedden has set up her cases and displays at the Winter Craft Market for 10 years. And she appreciates the guild’s dedication to staging an event so consistently brimming with high-caliber work.

“The Centre County Chapter of the PA Craft Guild does such a great job,” Hedden says, “and the organizers work hard. And I enjoy seeing such quality work from all the artisans.”

Master artisan Ted Walker fabricates and designs silver jewelry in southcentral Pennsylvania.

As his business name, Reflections in Silver, suggests, each silver pendant, ring, earring and necklace shimmers as light rebounds from it.

He describes his work as “flowing and calming.” Walker says the designs themselves simply come to him. “Sometimes I’ll see a shape in a dream or a daydream,” he says, “and I’ll start working with the silver and just see what happens.”

Spirals, coils, curls and waves, all in silver, make up many of Walker’s pieces. He frequently adds accent points like a lapis bead tucked into the crest of a wave, or a green onyx nestled against a long loop, or a moonstone perching on the round of an earring.

“I feel flattered when someone spends hard-earned money on something I’ve made,” Walker says, “and a part of you goes away with that buyer. It makes me happy and honored when a person feels strongly enough to buy from me.”

His interest in silversmithing evolved from his mother’s talent for jewelry-making and his “rock-hound” grandfather, who ran a small shop in Lancaster.

“From a sort of family tradition, I found myself designing and making jewelry,” he recalls.

Walker, like other artists, felt the sting of loss during the years COVID shut down the Winter Craft Market. “I’m glad we’re back again,” he says. “Events like this need continuity. It’s always good to see familiar faces when you’ve developed a stream of good customers. And this is a really nice venue.”

The Sports Centre offers a size that appeals to vendors and organizers alike. Stangel adds, “We have plenty of free parking. We do ask a $5 admission fee that helps cover promotional activities.”

The Boy Scouts of America will hand out wristbands to those attending. The bands will allow patrons to leave the Sports Centre, check out some of the other events in the county and return later.

The Clef Hangers, a vocal group from Mount Nittany Middle School, will serenade shoppers and enhance a festive atmosphere.

“This is a team effort from start to finish,” Clapper says, “and we like to say, ‘Shop local and buy handmade this season.’” T&G


WHAT: Winter Craft Market
WHEN: 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 2
WHERE: Nittany Valley Sports Centre, 177 Champion Drive, State College
ADMISSION: $5 cash only; free for children 12 and under

Anne Dyer Walker is a Bellefonte freelance writer.

The post Passion for Art & Craft: Central Pa Guild of Craftsmen Winter Market appeared first on

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