The 36th annual Christmas Fantasy Arts & Crafts Fair finds new home at the Roswell Mall
By Christina Stock
The 36th annual Christmas Fantasy Arts & Crafts Fair takes place at the Roswell Mall, 4501 N Main St., on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $2, and children 12 years old and under get in for free.
The Christmas Fantasy Arts & Crafts Fair is a tradition for many, to get that unique gift from true artists and craftsmen who are going to be present.
“We are still accepting applications,” organizer Jane Nevarez said. Vendors have time until Dec. 6 to sign up. “We are going to be in the big room behind Martin’s Jewelers.”
Each year the fair has 40 to 50 booths with a large variety of products.
“We got repeat people who have been coming for years and us of course,” Nevarez said. “We got one-of-a kind artist with sculptures, gold wire pendants, earrings from Rio Rancho. We got artists that bring jewelry, collage crosses, felt purses, horsehair pottery, aprons, novelty pillow cases, towel hoodies for children, Jay with his butterflies, Christmas ornaments, geodes, jewelry out of natural stones, and we’ll have somebody there to gift wrap.”
Jane and Paul Nevarez are bringing their own creations as well. Their company’s name is Jus Rope’n Kreations. Their specialty are sculptures, home decor and art made out of ropes and horse shoes.
“Paul made a horseshoe angel this year, that’s new. It’s gone over big. We put it on Facebook and have gotten orders. At the Cowboy Symposium, we had six of them and sold them all,” Jane Nevarez said.
Asked how long it takes for one of those creations, Jane Nevarez said, “It took us 20 years of experience.”
The Nevarez’ met a local artist at the Cowboy Symposium who is going to be at the upcoming fair as well. His name is Les Purcella, owner of Roswell’s Zia Knives and a custom knife maker.
Asked about the name of his business, Purcella said, “I grew up in Northwestern New Mexico and our Native American culture has always been important to me, so I selected the Zia symbol as a part of the business logo to promote a product made here in our state.
“I actually made my first knife as a teenager many years ago,” Purcella said. “When in college I spent a great deal of time working with one of the metals instructors in using coal-fired forges and learning to temper, harden and anneal metals. I began to seriously pursue knife making five years ago. I make all of the components of a knife myself. Cutting or forging the blades, making the pins and guards along with selecting the woods and completing the stabilization and dyeing process of the handles.”
Purcella has some very specific knives that are made for cowboys and ranchers. Asked how he knew about them he said, “I have worked in the field of agriculture my entire life and am an avid hunter. I think my profession and hobbies led to an appreciation of quality knives. Working as a meat cutter during high school and college probably also contributed to my interest in knives, especially sharp knives.
“I work with files, rasps, railroad spikes, 440 series stainless steel, but my favorite metal to work with is high carbon steel,” Purcella said.
Unusual in his blade designs are intricate engravings of wildlife and ranch animals. “The engraving started as a result of looking at commercial knives that are engraved mechanically or by using lasers. I engrave the knives by hand using dental equipment. The hand engraved knives have a more artistic look with contrast that is unique,” Purcella said.
New at the fair is painter Michael McCullough. McCullough earned his Master’s Degree in Art in 1973 at West Texas State University. Since then, he has devoted a full-time career to the fine arts. He lives today in Albuquerque, as a member of the Choctaw Indian Nation in Oklahoma, having been placed on the roll with the Bureau of Indian Affairs at birth. He was accepted in 1991 into the honorary Indian Art Association. He is represented by several galleries across the country, including his own gallery in historic Old Town Albuquerque. While this will be McCullough’s first appearance at the fair, he has been participating annually in several shows around the country, including at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona; the Wichita, Kansas Indian Museum Show; the Dallas, Texas American Indian Show; and the St. George, Utah Art Festival, to name a few.
Another tradition of the Christmas Fantasy Arts & Crafts Fair is the silent auction on both days. Proceeds of the auction this year benefit Embrace, Inc. “Embrace Inc is a non-profit agency in Roswell working to develop solutions to address homelessness,” Jane Nevarez said. She is looking forward to being in the Roswell Mall. “It’s going to be pretty, the mall is decorated and we’ll have food from the local eateries,” she said.
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