Local artisans gather at the Evergreen Village Shopping Center in Willits on Friday evenings to sell their wares. Super Tacos is offering Friday night dinner specials to coincide with the event. On a warm spring evening, guests were treated to music and fire dancing while shopping a variety of goods.
For several years now, providers have been setting up stands at the location and spreading the trade fair via social media and word of mouth. The owner of the bakery, which was next to Super Taco, gave the artisans permission to open a pop-up shop and they have been doing so since then, apart from a brief COVID-induced break. The variety of goods on offer included jewelry, candles, ointments, tinctures, jams, crocheted creations, succulents and original works of art. Vendors ranged from skilled artisans to teenagers with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Saleswoman Pamela Hannah stated that news will be shared through the Made in Willits (and Inland Mendocino County) Facebook page. She said: “We are a small community and we have to help each other, especially the manufacturers.” While managing her own booth, Hannah distributed bids for the upcoming Laytonville Rodeo to the other vendors.
Hannah makes jewelry from reused cartridge cases. She explained that her family has a shooting range on their property, hence the abundance of pods they can tinker with.
Several mother and daughter sales teams were present. Natalie Sadler and her mother Adrienne Arant became a candle-making hobby during the pandemic. The handmade candles made from soy mixture are poured into vintage glassware and decorated with precious stones. The couple turned a hobby into a business and Illumination Gemstone Candles was born (see her on Facebook and Instagram).
Stephany Brundage and mother Katherine Brundage attended and sold angora wool for needle quilting and spinning. Key rings and beadwork were also sold at the Brundage stand. It was their first attendance at the fair, but both agreed that they would likely return.
Isabelle Grieve from Belle’s Custom Crochet (on Facebook and Instagram) can look at a picture of an animal and turn it into a plush version of the photo. She said, âI mostly do custom work, I’ve been doing croquet since I was about eight years old. I started my business when I started Mendocino College as a kind of small source of income. It turned out to be a fun thing. âShe loves creating small, colorful things, but says she loves to crochet dogs. Grieve is a regular seller at the Friday Night Craft Fair. She encouraged residents to âshop locallyâ.
Lindsay Decker from Lindsays Fascinators and Fancies visits the fair about every other week. She said, “I’m just starting out doing my business in person, most of my business was online”. She started her business making fascinations and has recently expanded into making wreaths as well.
Alicia has been making exquisite pearl jewelry all of her life. At the fair, she shared a booth with Rory, whom she taught how to make jewelry and who also sold his handmade walking sticks. The couple are regular sellers at the fair.
Nancy Butler and Willy Gauntt come from Ukiah on Fridays to sell at the fair. Your stand offers a diverse selection of croquette and pearl items. Aside from Friday evening mass, the couple sells at many motorcycle events and other fairs.
Kelly Viss makes tinctures, ointments, and bath salts in small quantities. She also sells feathered eggs and earrings from the chickens and plants she raises on her homestead. She said, “Small batches are my thing, I really enjoy that because I can keep really good quality.” Their stand was built by Elijah Mcqueary, whose walking sticks were available for purchase at the fair. Viss delighted the other salespeople and guests alike by providing entertainment for the evening with a fire dance.
Yi Ping Hsieh and Ãlvaro Felix Garcia from Ukiah Succology sold juicy starts and creative arrangements. Hsieh explained that she propagates the succulents locally and ensures that they are adapted to the local climate. Hsieh said, âWhen you buy succulents from the cardboard store, they are often shipped from Southern California. If they come here they will get a weather shock so they are not doing well. âUkiah Succology’s succulents are climate adapted and ready for growing in Mendocino.
The Friday Night Craft Market is a weekly event at the Evergreen Village Shopping Center (near the Grocery Outlets) in Willits from 5pm to 8pm. Sales at the event are free.