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Gifted artists bring in spring

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Submitted Photo Tanna Johnson is bringing a variety of her artisan soap to Artfaire.

The annual Artfaire returns to the Convention & Civic Center

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

The annual Artfaire brings in master crafters and artists to the new Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St., on April 6 and 7. Show hours are Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Artfaire is unique in the sense that all art and items for sale during the event have to be handmade and the artist has to be present at their booth.

This year, the event features a wide array of items representing the Southeast. And, as every time, the organizers have a silent auction to benefit a nonprofit organization. The Roswell Refuge will receive the profits of the auction this year.

Lesli Carrera, executive director of the Roswell Refuge, was very happy hearing this. “They approached us,” she said. “They basically called and told us that they are having an art fair and what they’ve been doing. They asked each artist who is participating in the Artfaire to donate a piece of art worth, I believe they said at least $25 or more and whatever those pieces of art sell for, we get the proceeds from. They chose our organization and we are very grateful to be a part of that and that they thought of us to be made the beneficiaries of. We’re excited. We will be out there as well, and we’ll have information on who we are and what we do. We’ll have a table there. It’s great and wonderful.”

Jane and Paul Nevarez have been organizing the event for several years and are looking forward to being in the remodeled Convention & Civic Center. “We’ll be the first art show there,” Jane Nevarez said. The couple have their own booth with metal and rope art, their artist and company label is called Just Ropin’. “My son, he’s going to be there. Wild Willy’s Fresh Pork RINDs. He’s making fresh pork rinds. He’ll be cooking them on the spot and selling them. And they are good — not because he’s my son, but they are good. His name is Mike Holstun. This is going to be his very first show,” she said.

There will be several Native American jewelry booths with turquoise and gemstone jewelry; wooden art, pottery sculptures and wall hangings. “We’ll have the Big Dippers, which is different seasoning and dips,” Jane Nevarez said. “The Whitfields will be there with their chocolate candy. Others will have tool boxes, bird feeders and cooler totes. Darlene Bishop is from Artesia — this is going to be her first show, too. She’ll be having doll clothes and furniture.”

There also will be artists who are returning to present their new art. “Brian Gebert — his is recycled metal art. He’ll be there again. (Gebert is a sculpture from Edgewood.) Kim Mason makes jewelry out of recycled material. She is always next to Brian. Others will have aprons and pillows. One artist comes from Las Cruces with yucca angels, crosses and bracelets. Upcycle Outdoor Living from Las Cruces are coming, they have refurbished furniture.” The names behind Upcycle Outdoor Living are the husband and wife team Gene and Elia Pettit. Gene Pettit is a pastor. They had been in Roswell for the first time for the Christmas Fantasy event last winter.

“We will have metal art — Killer Kuts — Nathan and Michelle Therrien from Roswell,” Jane Nevarez said. Also returning is fine arts painter Michael C. McCullough from Placitas. His paintings have Southwest themes.

There also will be several artisan soap booths, including for the first time, local businesswoman Tanna Johnson. She will have a variety of artisan soaps for sale. One type of her soap stands out because of its history in the region: yucca soap, which goes back to pre-Hispanic times. Apache tribes would use the entire yucca plant for medicinal and hygienic reasons. They made yucca soap to treat dandruff and hair loss. The Zuni used a mixture of soap made from yucca sap and ground aster to wash newborn babies to stimulate hair growth.

What is the biggest difference between handcrafted natural soap and industrially made soap? Industrial soap is made by removing the natural glycerin, which gives it moisturizing properties. Removing the glycerin extends the shelf life of soap so it can be stored for several years, but is tough on skin. Handcrafted soaps are made in small batches keeping the glycerin and moisturizing quality.

For more information, email artfaire2015@gmail.com or call 575-208-2864.