Artists participating in Unison’s Annual Craft Art and Design Fair (LR): Steve Fabrico (sandstone), Kim Ellis (author and illustrator), Stacie Flint (paintings), Elissa Rinaldo (flower arrangements), Annie O’Neill ( decorative earthenware) and Alexa Ginsburg (felted natural fibers). (The photographs on the wall are by François Deschamps who is not part of the craft fair). (Photo by Lauren Thomas)

After years of hosting their annual Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair at New Paltz Middle School, followed by a two-year run on the SUNY New Paltz campus, Unison Arts Center is bringing the fair home. this year, by hosting the 28th annual Craft Party, Art and Design Fair at their headquarters at 68 Mountain Rest Road in New Paltz on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. h every day. Admission costs $ 4 for adults and $ 3 for Unison members. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

According to Ally Bell, Unison’s design director, the fair will be more intimate this year, with 24 master craftsmen and fine artists showcasing a wide range of crafts and handmade art. The selection will range from pottery, jewelry, fibers and woodwork to herbal products, baskets and paintings. But while the number of vendors will be lower than in previous years, the quality will still be as high, with many returning favorites and a few new faces in the mix.

The Craft, Art and Design Fair will be housed in the Unison Theater as well as on the aft deck, which will be heated with a tent enclosing the space. Even a conference room will be enlisted. “We’re opening up the entirety of Unison for the living room,” Bell says, “using all the space we have to do it in the classic Unison style. “

Vendors will include Unison founders Helene and Stuart Bigley, offering ceramics and fine art paintings respectively.

The jewelry will be available from Capobianco Designs, Hot Rocks Design, Helen Hosking Art, Amity Jewelry and Enamelista. Naturals at the fair will include woven baskets from Mary Ann Williams, herbal products from Kate’s Herbals, wreaths and flower arrangements from Elissa and Sherri’s Heirloom Soaps.

Annie O’Neill of Gardiner will have her clay pottery painted at the fair, joined by other pottery craftsmen Sally Rothchild, Laura Kellar and Stephen Fabrico Designs. The knits will be available at Holy Cowl and House of Bee Design. Sirena Writing Center will feature books, with books and paintings donated by Joe Reilly.

Sellers of 2018 are complemented by Norwegian Woodworks, Naturally Felt by Alexa Ginsburg with wearable felt and carved felt animals, paintings by Stacie Flint, copper boxes by Grace Gunning, jams and pickles from Gray Mouse Farm, plush toys and paintings by Vagabond Artistry and puppets by Anne Pike-Tay.

For a preview of what will be found at the fair, visit the Unison website at https://www.unisonarts.org/craft-art-design-fair/, where there are links to many of the provider’s websites.

One of the strengths of the Unison Vacation Show is that while the work is always high end, all pricing is represented, so visitors can always find something affordable. The event offers the opportunity to shop for local artists and artisans and to support the region.

The non-profit Unison Arts Center has been encouraging creativity in the New Paltz area for over 40 years now, offering a diverse program of exhibitions, entertainment and workshops in an intimate and welcoming atmosphere. They have been on the move in recent years, as is the case with groups that have been around for a while, but things have worked out over the past few years and the organization’s board says their goal is is to have Unison recognized as “a welcoming place where there is always something going on and where the public knows they can trust the quality of everything that is presented.”

The craft, art and design fair is sponsored by Bailey Ceramic Supply.

The weekend after the fair, Unison will hold a vernissage on Saturday December 8 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. for its 10X10 art exhibition and sale, open to the public until December 28. Artists will submit up to four 10-inch by 10-inch pieces in format (framed or on canvas) to hang in the holiday art lounge.

For more information on all things Unison, visit the center on Facebook or www.unisonarts.org.


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