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Shoppers discover crafts of all kinds

The New Year's Craft Show offers everything from handmade quilts and birdhouses to beaded jewelry and dolls.

By SUZANNAH GONZALES
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 5, 2003


INVERNESS -- Some make crafts as gifts or to earn extra money. Some do it to just keep busy. And others do it simply for the enjoyment.

For Joyce Hamman, crocheting and knitting are satisfying. It's a challenge, she says.

"You start with a bunch of thread and you end up with this," she said, motioning toward the intricate doilies in front of her.

Hamman, 80, of Inverness, was one of 16 vendors at the ninth annual New Year's Craft Show on Saturday.

On tables around her in the Citrus County Auditorium, she displayed and sold crocheted earrings, bookmarks and even Oreo cookie magnets. They were advertised as "no fat" and "no sugar." She also had knitted mittens, hats and baby booties for sale.

From table to table, people drifted to admire and buy handmade quilts, birdhouses, beaded jewelry, pillows, purses, cedar chests and dolls.

There also were instructors on board such as Judi Di Lorenzo, who showed the art of one-stroke painting, and Debbie Webster, who taught how rubber stamping can be used to make gift cards.

The teachers were there "showing people how quick and simple it can be and still look very nice," explained craft show organizer Pansey Cleaveland of Citrus County Parks and Recreation.

"Ernie's over there," Cleaveland said. "He's making a basket right now."

She was pointing at Ernest Beardsley, a crafter and pine needle class teacher from Hernando, who had baskets and bowls on display at the craft show.

Beardsley, 73, learned his craft from an uncle when he was a boy in Illinois more than 60 years ago. He still has two of his uncle's baskets that were made in the 1890s.

He has been making pine needle art since he permanently moved to Florida in 1986 and has taught classes and 1,400 students since 1987.

"It keeps me busy, keeps my mind busy, my hands busy," Beardsley said.

For the young, crafts are "a form of learning something that's actually been put to the wayside for many generations," Cleaveland says. "They're learning some of the lost arts."

Hamman learned to crochet from her mother when she was 6. Though her two daughters weren't interested in learning, she taught her 23-year-old granddaughter, Erin Kannon.

Last week, Kannon e-mailed Hamman and told her she crocheted a blanket for a friend who's having a baby.

"That was a nice warm fuzzy," Hamman said. "I thought, 'Oh good.' "

-- Suzannah Gonzales can be reached at sgonzales@sptimes.com or 860-7300.

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