Shoppers look for unique gifts at crafts festival


Published: Sunday, December 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 30, 2002 at 11:41 p.m.
Enlarge |

Robert Risting of Deland, Florida, demonstrates a stenciling technique as Natalie Carse and Jay Coisman look on.

MELISSA HEATHERLY/ Special to the Sun
A flat tire, splitting headache and a forgotten wallet couldn't keep Martha Haskins from continuing her holiday shopping Saturday on the campus of the University of Florida.
"Nothing was going to keep me from here because this is where I get all my unique gifts for my family that you can't just get at the mall or Best Buy," said Haskins, an Orlando resident who stayed with friends Friday night to get to the festival early. "I never know what I am going to find, but I always find something really good."
Thousands of shoppers, onlookers and craftlovers joined Haskins at the O'Connell Center for Craft Festival 2002 to partake in a day of "shop shop shop" as one visitor said.
"I'm here, ready to shop shop shop and then - you know what - shop some more. Just don't tell my husband," said Jennifer Wright, who was also in town visiting family for Thanksgiving.
Most of the people who turned out at the O'Dome looking for that one-of-a-kind surprise were not disappointed. From specialty soup mixes to decorative wreaths, from glass bottle wind chimes to crystallized oil paintings, there was quite a selection of unique items at the festival, which has more than 300 booths and continues today.
Mike Styga, owner of TurnStyles, Etc. in Jacksonville, was hoping holiday shoppers would boost his sales.
"I lost all of my money in the stock market, so I had to do something," Styga said jokingly when asked why he started his handcrafted pens business two years ago.
Styga, a self-described "woodturner," uses a lathe to shape small pieces of wood into ball-point pens. He started the business after investing $7,000 in tools and supplies. So far, he's about doubled that investment in profits.
"It's a lot of elbow grease, a lot of polishing," he said of the process of crafting colored pens from rare types of wood. It takes about one hour to make a pen he said, some of which are tipped with gold or platinum and range in colors from deep browns to shiny dark greens.
Michael Johnson brought his fiancee to the craft show to look for house decorations, but didn't quite know what she was looking for when they got there. He also didn't quite know what he could tolerate.
"I don't know about some of this frilly stuff," he said, pointing to homemade pillows decorated with teddy bears and lace borders. "But this thing I saw downstairs was awesome."
That "thing" happened to be a crystallized oil painting of a Florida Gator insignia worn on the jerseys of the UF football players.
"It was awesome. If only we could agree on that. We should, I mean it's crafty and sporty at the same time."
His fiancee, Jill Evans, after hearing Johnson's statement, spoke and brought a smile to Johnson's face.
"Maybe if the Gators win," Evans said.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top