Arts & CultureArts & Culture Features

Holiday Market Roundup

The multitude of local artist markets concentrated into the month of December each year is a true testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of Athens’ flourishing arts scene. The value of shopping from local artists during the holiday season is two-fold: While you score a one-of-a-kind gift that’s sure to impress yourself or a loved one, the artists receive the encouragement and monetary support they need to continue pursuing their creative endeavors. With over two dozen artist events scheduled, original and handcrafted work is more accessible and affordable than ever. 

In the spirit of tradition, let Flagpole make shopping locally a little simpler this year with our annual Holiday Market Roundup, a list of artist markets, studio open houses and craft sales going on in Athens and nearby. 

The UGA Ceramic Student Organization hosts its annual Holiday Pottery Sale on Wednesday, Dec. 2 and Thursday, Dec. 3 from 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. in the first-floor lobby of the Lamar Dodd School of Art, located at 270 River Road. The works, which were created by students and faculty, range from functional pottery like teapots, mugs, plates, vases and bowls to small, hand-built sculptures and decorative pieces. Proceeds support educational field trips to ceramics conferences and also bring in visiting artists. Hourly parking is available in the nearby Performing Arts Center deck. Visit for more information.

While on campus, pop over to Phi Beata Heata’s Jewelry and Metals Sale, held 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at the Lamar Dodd School of Art and Thursday, Dec. 3 at the Tate Student Center. Members of the student organization will present their latest one-of-a-kind pieces and handcrafted metal objects. In case you miss out on these days, Phi Beata Heata will host an additional sale at the Lyndon House Arts Center on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. For more information, find Phi Beata Heata on Facebook.

For a little bit of everything, swing by the Holiday Social on N. Jackson Street on Friday, Dec. 4 from 6–9 p.m. Community, Dynamite Clothing, Adam’s Optics, Kristen Ashley Artist Shop, Jittery Joe’s and Athena Jewelers will each stay open late for a collaborative event featuring sales, special vendors, a holiday photo booth and refreshments. For more information, call 706-207-9106. 

In addition to the abundance of local and sustainable produce that the Athens Farmers Market regularly offers every Saturday morning at Bishop Park, located at 705 Sunset Dr., its special Holiday Craft Markets on Dec. 5, 12 and 19 from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. feature a good selection of handmade items like pottery, jewelry, handbags, textiles, soaps, blown glass and more. For details, check out


Maria Dondero of Marmalade Pottery. Photo by Kristin Karch.

Take a tour of Marmalade Pottery, the home studio of Maria Dondero at 775 Pulaski St., during her seventh annual Holiday Sale on Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday Dec. 6 from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Several new forms the artist has been experimenting with will be available, like cake stands, hanging wall vases and large coil pots, all decorated with her signature sketch-like drawings of animals, plants and faces. Food and desserts will be provided by her father, Tim Dondero of Donderos’ Kitchen. This will be Marmalade’s last annual sale in its current location; the artist is planning to open a new ceramics studio on Cleveland Avenue soon. To view examples of Maria’s most current work, visit

Local potter Carter Gillies offers two different events this season. View an eclectic mix of functional and decorative work during the Carter Gillies Pottery Open House on Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6. The following weekend, on Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday, Dec. 13, Carter will be joined by fellow potters Geoff Pickett, Jeff Bishoff and Kyle Jones for the annual Carter and Friends Pottery Market. In a unique approach to sparking children’s interest in pottery, any kid willing to tell a story, sing a song or draw a picture for the artist will receive a free handmade tree ornament. Kids can also pick out smaller-sized pots at half off the adult price. Both events are from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. and are located at his home studio, 572 Nantahala Ave., in the Boulevard neighborhood. Call 706-546-7235 for more.

The mother of all artist markets, Indie South Fair’s Ninth Annual Holiday Hooray offers a lineup of 110 individual booths covering virtually everything handmade or collected, from original art in every medium, toys, bath and beauty products, knits and artisanal food to vintage clothing, home goods and furniture. Indie South features some of the more established artists in the area—like Chris Hubbard, Kenneth Kase, Keith Rein and Lauren Gregg—while always retaining a strong DIY ethos. Unique items include gemstones from RockBelly, reclaimed wood tables by Sons of Sawdust, folk art chicken gourds by Those Kooky Chickens, handmade books from Bound by Tradition and natural skincare products by Little Barn Apothecary. Indie South is unique from the majority of other markets in that it incorporates a wide selection of collectors, this year including Forgotten Feather Vintage, Maddox & Rose Vintage, Playground Love Vintage, Strange Magick Vintage, Valentine Vintage and Kith & Kin Vintage. The two-day open-air market, which also promises music, snacks and kids’ activities, takes place on Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. at 660 N. Chase St., just off Prince Avenue. For more details and a full list of participating art vendors, visit

Native America Gallery, located at 195 E. Clayton St., hosts its 18th annual Holiday Open House on Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. The storewide jewelry sale features door prizes for the first 200 guests who visit, as well as an unusual promise of “real elves, meatballs and oodles of holiday cheer,” according to the shop’s flyer. From now until Christmas Day, a “thank you” gift of a turquoise pendant on a sterling silver chain is complimentary with each purchase. Call 706-543-8425 for more information.

Offering an alternative to the traditional gift exchange experience, the annual Benevolence Market presents a way to give back to the local community this holiday season. Attendees are invited to select items off a shopping list of “symbolic gifts,” which breaks down how monetary donations can be used to assist 30 local nonprofit agencies in their missions. Gifts are as diverse as a week at camp for a child with a disability through Extra Special People, neutering a foster dog through the Athens Canine Rescue and a bag of groceries for a homebound senior through the Athens Community Council on Aging. This ecumenical tradition has been going strong since 1994, and is currently sponsored by the United Way and nine participating congregations. The First Presbyterian Church of Athens at 185 E. Hancock Ave. hosts the market, which also features live music and a light lunch, on Sunday, Dec. 6 from 12–2 p.m. To see a list of requested gifts, go to

Carter Gillies 2015.JPG

Carter Gillies

During the annual Holiday Open House at the State Botanical Garden on Sunday, Dec. 6 from 1:30–4 p.m., kids are invited to take photos and share their wishes with Santa, as well as make holiday crafts. The festively decorated tropical conservatory will be filled with music, as the Georgia Children’s Chorus performs at 2:15 p.m., followed by The Solstice Sisters at 3:15 p.m. The garden’s gift shop, which features many items designed by students, will be open for adults to browse for potential presents. For more information, visit

Deck the Walls, a holiday market held annually by the Lyndon House Arts Center, will be open Tuesdays–Saturdays, Dec. 8–Jan. 6 from 12–5 p.m. This year’s theme is “Innovations,” and offerings range from frames, jewelry, photography, pottery, hats and folk art, plus seasonal cards, ornaments and wreaths. The Visual Arts Guild of Athens, which manages the Lyndon House’s gift shop, has arranged for guest artists of Long Road Studios to display pottery in the lower atrium’s cases. Guild member Par Ramey will also have a special display of her artwork in the North Gallery and Resource Library. The guild will host a Holiday Open House on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 2–4 p.m. For more details on the Lyndon House, located at 293 Hoyt St., visit

New to this year’s lineup is the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art’s Holiday Market, held Friday, Dec. 11 from 5–9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. at 160 Tracy St. More than a dozen vendors will display their goods, like Necklush, Lisa Freeman, Thready for Anything, Make Nice Design Co., GFB Dragon Lamps, Little Cuckoo and Gemnglass. The gallery itself also has two creative stocking stuffers for art lovers this year. A full-color 2016 calendar of local contemporary artists includes prints of works by Jim Barsness, Stanley Bermudez, Missy Kulik, Carol John, Cindy Jerrell and others. “Outside the Lines,” an all-ages coloring book created in collaboration with Pixel & Ink, includes pages drawn by the likes of Matt Blanks, Cameron Bliss, Mike Groves, David Hale and Margot Ecke. ATHICA’s market happens to coincide with the Athens Area Arts Council’s fifth annual Art Crawl on Saturday, where many of the businesses inside of the Chase Park Warehouse will host special art exhibitions and performances. For the market’s full lineup, visit


Photo Credit: Marilyn Estes

Shoppers meeting vendors at Big City’s annual market.

An outdoor patio under twinkling lights makes for a festive setting at the juried Athens Holiday Market, held at Big City Bread on Thursday, Dec. 10 and Friday, Dec. 11 from 5 p.m.–9 p.m. Peruse the works of 55 local artists while the Red Oak Southern String Band performs around the bon fire. The lineup includes jewelry by Rhys May, pottery by Jorie Berman, sculptures by Barbara Odil, all-natural soaps and soy candles by Songbird Soaps, paintings by Heidi Hensley, geometric works by Lou Kregel and birdhouses by Frank Saggus. Big City Bread Cafe is located at 393 N. Finley St. and can be reached at 706-353-0029.

The Holiday Sale at Normaltown Pottery, slated for Friday, Dec. 11 from 4–9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 12 from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., will feature handmade, functional pottery by studio owner Juana Gnecco, along with ceramics by Nancy Green and paintings by Larry Forte. Normaltown Pottery is located at 410 King Ave. For more information, call 762-728-0575.

Rebecca Wood and her team of potters are almost as busy as Santa’s elves this holiday season as they gear up for their Holiday Sale on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. R. Wood Studio, located at 450 Georgia Dr., will have many of the brightly colored pieces that the studio is known for, in addition to several one-of-a-kind pieces, seconds and discounted works. To view samples of the potters’ work, check out

In addition to an abundance of locally sourced produce, honey, eggs, soaps and prepared food items, the vendors of the West Broad Farmers Market will offer a special Holiday Market on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. The market, which is hosted at the old West Broad School, 1573 W. Broad St., aims to develop new food-based entrepreneurs, build a neighborhood-centered economy and increase access to healthy, affordable foods. For more information on the market’s goals, visit

Heirloom Café and Fresh Market hosts one of the last opportunities for seasonal shopping on Sunday, Dec. 13 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. during brunch hours. Handmade wares will range from jewelry, gourmet foods, woodwork, ceramics, soaps and bath products, textiles, vintage scores and “farm finds,” with the 20-name vendor list including Piedmont Provisions, Pale Blue Dot Soap, Double Dutch Press and Jess Dunlap. While at Heirloom, which is located at 815 N. Chase St., be sure to stop next door at the house of painter Susie Burch, who will have her home studio open. Visit for details. 

Treehouse Kid & Craft presents its sixth annual Handmade Hollyday Artist Market across the street at Starlite Showroom, located at 750 W. Broad St., on Sunday, Dec. 13 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Swing by to peruse the creations of two dozen vendors, including letterpress stationary by Smokey Road Press, dyed goods by Maddie Zerkel, home decor by Mineral Forest, accessories by Simply Me and fragrances by Tabletop Craft Collective. Unique items for little ones include handmade teddy bears and plush animals by Erin Jay and heirloom kids’ clothing by Willaby. 

Outside of Athens

The family-run Bendzunas Glass Studio and Gallery, located at 89 W. South Ave. in Comer, will keep extended holiday hours from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. through Wednesday, Dec. 23, with live glassblowing demonstrations throughout. With 40 years in town, artist Paul Bendzunas has passed his craft down to his three children, who also work in the studio. Although operating primarily as a wholesale business that distributes to galleries countrywide, a public gallery displaying some of the family’s best mouth-blown functional and decorative glass art works will be on display. For more information, call 706-783-5869.

The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation’s 21st annual juried Holiday Market includes the works of 70 regional artists and crafters this year, ranging from paintings, stained and fused glass, jewelry, photography, fiber art and more. The Market is open Friday, Dec. 4 from 5–9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission for all three days is $3. OCAF’s Artist’s Shoppe, which features handmade items created by more than 50 of the gallery’s members, opens in conjunction with the Holiday Market on Friday, Dec. 4 from 5–9 p.m. and will remain open through Saturday, Dec. 19. Homemade treats baked by OCAF members, as well as Greek pastries by members of St. Pilothea Philoptochos Society, will also be available. OCAF is located at 34 School St. in Watkinsville. For more details, visit


Farmington Pottery

Venture over to Farmington Pottery’s December Open House on Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. to view the latest creations of Geoff and Lisa Pickett. A wide variety of Geoff’s wood and gas-fired pots and planters for the home and garden will be on display, as well as a selection of soaps and botanical skincare products made with fresh herbs grown by Lisa. Farmington Pottery is located at 1171 Freeman Creek Road in Farmington. For more information, visit and

This year’s lineup at Wolf Creek Pottery promises a diverse array of traditional and contemporary ceramic pieces, with participating potters including Juana Gnecco, Jen Graff, Nancy Green, Rich Panico and Minsoo Yuh. Hand-printed textiles and paper by Sara Lee Parker will also be available. Located at 1500 Tappan Spur Road in Watkinsville, the studio’s annual Holiday Sale is on Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. For more details, call 706-410-5200.

Tour the home studio of Woodruff Pottery, located at 35 S. Main St. in Watkinsville, during its Annual Holiday Open House on Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Artist Alice Woodruff has over 40 years of experience in creating pottery, and makes both decorative and functional porcelain works like large platters, bowls, teapots, teacups and kitchenware. Seconds are half off, and anyone who buys a pot can take one of a comparable value home for half off as well. For details or to make a separate viewing appointment, call 706-207-5175.

Among the fine art, folk art, jewelry, stone work and metal work created by the dozen or so members who run the historic Farmington Depot Gallery, the Holidaze Festival on Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. features an artist market with handmade creations by additional regional artists. Highlights include wildlife paintings by Will Eskridge, folk art by Peter Loose, printed textiles by Crispy Printz, collectibles from John Gingridge and jewelry by Annette Paskiewicz. The event also promises food, hayrides for children, live music by Lily Herne at 3 p.m. each afternoon and a demonstration on Raku, a ceramic firing technique, on Sunday afternoon. The gallery is located at 1001 Salem Road in Farmington, at the corner of Salem Road and Highway 441. For more information, visit

While in the area, visit the annual J.B. (Jeff Bishoff) Pottery Sale for new works. Occurring on Saturday, Dec. 5 and Sunday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m.–5 pm., the sale is located at 1790 Salem Road in Watkinsville. Call 678-863-1847.

For vibrant, richly glazed pieces of pottery that draw inspiration from nature, check out the works of David Morgan, a regional potter who has been creating functional stoneware for the past 30 years. The David Morgan Pottery studio, located at 3747 Old Wildcat Bridge Road in Danielsville, opens for a Holiday Sale Saturday, Dec. 12 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. & Sunday, Dec. 13 from 12–5 p.m. Call 706-795-3418 for more information.

Ceramic artist group Long Road Studios will host a Holiday Open House & Gallery Closeout on Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday, Dec. 13 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Held at 4860 Macon Hwy. in Bishop, the sale includes ceramic work by Laura B. Cooper, Eduardo de la Torre Berón, Erika Galloway, Juana Gnecco, Nancy K. Green and Julie Greene. Hand-printed textiles and cards by Sara Lee Parker and natural skincare products by Lisa Pickett will also be available. Visit for details.