June 16th, 2024

Christmas at Casa another success


By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on November 25, 2022.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Shoppers browse Janet Costa's Leathersmith display.

The ninth annual Christmas at Casa had market goers in the festive spirit.

The market’s focus was to expose the many local artisans that packed both floors of the downtown building and to showcase the facility.

On top of vendors, live musicians were hired and all types of artistic practices were supported.

“I just think it’s a lovely event,” said Tara Gillanders, projects and membership manager of the Allied Arts Council. “Everybody’s looking for gifts, we really believe in supporting the local economy and that’s what you’re doing by shopping here, you’re supporting local artists.”

The event has seen more vendors apply than there is room for.

“So we always have a very large group,” she said. “What’s also special about the market at Casa is we have a lot of the guilds who participate.”

Gillanders said the variety is huge.

“There’s everybody from tons of wonderful potters, weavers, there are the wood turners, there is silver jewelry, there is fibre artists here, a lovely artist named Lori Goater, who makes the most beautiful gingerbread houses. So a diverse wide range of products.”

The market was expected to draw around 4,000 people over the two days.

“I think it’s the quality of our vendors,” said Gillanders. “We really do have some top-notch vendors and I think that’s what people are looking for. There are people who come here for very specific vendors that we have every year and we’re always looking for new, wonderful artists.”

Gerry Pittman of P Bar Handmade Knives is 87 years old and has been making handmade knives for five years.

“Just for something to,” said Pittman. “I used to do silversmith over there and sold that to my daughter. I used to do sculptures, I just do stuff for a while, get tired of it, so I do something else. Now I’ve been doing this for about five years; I don’t know what comes next but I’m not young anymore.”

In this hobby, as well as previous ones, he has not had a lesson from anybody for anything.

“I just said, ‘I think I can do this and that’s how it started,” said Pittman. “I like the challenge and this is what I do now.”

He deals with exotic woods or stone for the knife making. His inventory is different types of kitchen and hunting knives.

“I like to talk to the people and there’s lots of them here,” he said.

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