Every December, hundreds of local and regional artists gather up their most recent creations to sell to holiday gift shoppers, demonstrating the entrepreneurial spirit and diverse talents of Athens’ thriving arts community. From open houses at private studios to multi-vendor fairs at local businesses, these events offer an opportunity to connect directly with the makers of original pieces.
The value of buying from local artists is twofold: While you score a one-of-a-kind gift that’s sure to be treasured forever, the artists receive the feedback and support they need to continue pursuing their endeavors. With nearly 40 events slated to occur over the next three weeks, handcrafted and locally sourced gifts are more accessible and affordable than ever.
In the spirit of tradition, let Flagpole make shopping locally a little simpler with our annual Holiday Market Roundup, a list of artist markets, studio open houses and craft sales going on in Athens and nearby.
Deck the Walls, a holiday market held at the Lyndon House Arts Center, located at 293 Hoyt St., will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays in December from 12–5 p.m. More than 70 artists will offer jewelry, photography, paintings, soaps, scarves, hats, mittens, glass, pottery, accessories and folk art, plus seasonal cards, ornaments and wreaths. An expanded gallery shop includes more original creations by members of the Visual Arts Guild of Athens, such as floral paintings by Starr Helms, vibrant quilts by Amanda Whitsel, hand-dyed silks by Margaret Agner, photography by Wilma and glass by the Bendzunas family. A Holiday Open House on Dec. 15 from 1–3 p.m. will feature live entertainment, photos with Santa and craft activities inspired by the “St. EOM of Pasaquan” exhibition on view in the galleries. As per tradition, the historic Ware-Lyndon House is decorated in live greenery courtesy of the Ladies Garden Club. For more details, visit athensclarkecounty.com/lyndonhouse.
Over on campus, pop by the Student Jewelry & Ceramics Sale on Wednesday, Nov. 28 from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 29 from 9 a.m.–7 p.m. You’ll find eclectic, wearable designs like earrings, pendants and rings, as well as advanced works by MFA students like Laurel Fulton, who creates three-dimensional wire structures out of silver and brass that are coated with luminous colors. The sale will be held on the first floor in the atrium of the main building at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. Visit art.uga.edu for more events on campus.
Across the atrium, the UGA Ceramic Student Organization’s annual Holiday Pottery Sale will occur simultaneously on Nov. 28–29 from 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Created by students and faculty, the works range from decorative pieces and hand-built sculptures to functional pottery like teapots, mugs, plates, vases and bowls. Proceeds support educational field trips to conferences and also bring in visiting artists. Parking is available in the Performing Arts Center deck. Visit art.uga.edu.
For specialty items straight from the garden, visit the UGArden Holiday Market on Nov. 29 from 4–7 p.m. Members of the organization’s herb program have concocted a variety of medicinal teas, soaps, healing salves, lip balms, infused oils and homegrown loofahs. Attendees should park at the greenhouses at 2510 S. Milledge Ave. to catch a holiday hayride out to the lower barn.
A creative fundraising event for Project Safe, the ARTificial Tree Sale is a special chance to purchase artificial trees and ornaments that have been decorated by fine and folk artists such as Minnie Adkins, Chris Allison, Frances Byrd, Fawne Derosia, Charlie Dingler, Cameron Bliss Ferrelle, Peter Loose, Kip Ramey, Jim Shores, Dan Smith and Suzy Sue Smith. The sale will be hosted by Musicians for a Clause at the Commerce Cultural Arts Center, at 232 Cherry St., on Nov. 29 from 7–11 p.m. Find the event on Facebook for photos of items.
Operating primarily as a wholesale business, Mbare, Ltd. will open its warehouse to the public for the annual Africa in Athens Warehouse Sale on Friday, Nov. 30 from 4–8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. The fair-trade company works directly with artisans and craftspeople in Zimbabwe, Senegal, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Mali and Ghana to collect wall decor, textiles, baskets, glassware, stone sculptures, wood carvings, tin art, masks and more. Mbare is located at 118 Commerce Blvd., and more details can be found at mbare.com.
Celebrating her 10th anniversary, Maria Dondero’s popular Marmalade Pottery Holiday Sale will be held at Southern Star Studio, located at 180 Cleveland Ave. Dec. 1–2 from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., the ceramic artist will share a new collection of mugs, hanging planters, large coil jars, big platters and ornaments. The event includes food by Tim Dondero and sweets by Jane Yates. Visit mariadondero.com for samples of work.
Hip Vintage & Handmade will open its doors for a Hip Holiday Market Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Dozens of craft vendors will set up in the garden behind the shop, which carries collections from antiques and vintage dealers alongside handmade items by local crafters and artists year-round. The afternoon also includes live music and food trucks. Hip is located at 215 Commerce Blvd. More information can be found at hipvintagehandmade.com.
Indie South Fair's 11th annual Holiday Hooray offers a lineup of over 75 vendors covering virtually everything handmade, from original art in every medium, bath and beauty products, toys and sustainable fashion to artisanal food, home goods and furniture. Indie South is unique in that it also incorporates a wide selection of collectors who focus primarily on vintage clothing and accessories. Vendors to keep an eye out for include folk artist Chris Hubbard, Piedmont Provisions, Color of Heat, David Goebel Woodworks, Almas & Co., The Humble Hutch, Big Yellow Dog Designs, Oscar Bites Dog Treats, City in Bloom Ceramics and Beetle & Bark Co. The two-day open-air market, which also promises a vinyl DJ, food trucks, art demos, Santa photo booth and kids activities, takes place Dec. 1–2 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. at the Foundry Pavilion, 440 Foundry Street. Admission to the market is $3. For more details, visit theindiesouth.com.
The Downtown Athens Open House encourages shoppers to visit the various boutiques and shops that neighbor each other Dec. 1 from 12–5 p.m. For a full list of participating Downtown Athens Business Association members, check out downtownathensga.org.
The Hardeman-Sams House, an event venue located at 255 Milledge Ave., will host its annual Open House & Holiday Market on Dec. 2 from 1–5 p.m. The event promises plenty of pottery, jewelry, handmade art, holiday decor and giveaways, as well as photo opportunities with Santa and drinks from the Java Joy Coffee Cart. The afternoon's proceeds will benefit the Lighthouse Family Retreat and Extra Special People. Visit 255milledge.com.
During the annual Holiday Open House at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia on Sunday, Dec. 2 from 2–4 p.m., kids are invited to take photos and share their wishes with Santa, as well as make holiday crafts. The garden’s gift shop features many products by Georgia artists, including candles, soaps, note cards, jewelry, pottery, textiles and woodwork. The garden also hosts an annual competition among high-school and college art students from across the state, with the winning design appearing in the shop. Stick around after the open house for holiday concerts by the Athens Flute Choir (4 p.m.) and the Solstice Sisters (5 p.m.). For more information, visit botgarden.uga.edu.
In addition to hot cocoa, cider and treats from the kitchen of Marti's at Midday, the café will host a Holiday Market of local art, books and wares on Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 5:30–8:30 p.m. Live music will be provided by Phil and The Philips, and SJ will lead caroling. Marti's is located at 1280 Prince Ave., and can be reached at 706-543-3541.
The Holiday Sale at Normaltown Pottery, slated for Friday, Dec. 7 from 4–9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 8 from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., will feature handmade, functional pottery by studio owner Juana Gnecco, along with ceramics by Nancy Green and Asheville, NC-based potter Shawn Ireland. Additional items include local honey by 3Kings Honey, natural soap by Farmington Herbs and festive snacks. Normaltown Pottery is located at 465 Belvoir Heights. For more information, call 762-728-0575.
Local painter Jim StipeMaas has moved to a new studio, located at 100 Three Oaks Dr., and will be displaying as much work around the house and studio as possible during a Studio Sale held Dec. 8 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Spanning many years, works will range from drawings and paintings to oil pastels and watercolors. Visitors are welcome to take a stroll on nearby trails, where many of his landscape pieces were painted. Visit jimstipemaas.com for examples of work.
Rebecca Wood and her team of potters will host their Holiday Sale Dec. 8 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—as well as this season’s new shades, fir and wheat—in addition to several one-of-a-kind pieces, seconds and discounted works. To view samples of the potters’ work, check out rwoodstudio.com.
Following the Marmalade Pottery event, Southern Star Studio will host its third annual group sale Dec. 8–9 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Participating potters include Brandon Bishop, Lori Demosthenes, Maria Dondero, Carter Gillies, Jennifer Heynen, Chona Leathers, Allya Maerz, Regina Mandell, Kerry Steinberg and Alex Wilkins. Call 706-248-6899.
Among lots and lots of pots, the Good Dirt Holiday Pottery Sale will offer giveaways, hot apple cider, freshly baked goods and roasted marshmallows around the fire pit. Twenty-one instructors and students will set up shop, reflecting the wide variety of styles and backgrounds that make up the studio. Everything from mugs, bowls and plates to decorative vases, succulent planters and ceramic jewelry will be available, with notable potters including studio owner Rob Sutherland, Amanda Proctor, Mary Mayes, Nicole White and Mae Moon. The sale is Dec. 8 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Good Dirt Clay Studio is located at 485 Macon Hwy. Visit gooddirt.net for information.
Artists will come together to raise money during a sixth annual fundraiser for the local nonprofit Campus Cats at Hi-Lo Lounge Dec. 8 from 12–5 p.m. Hi-Lo is located at 1354 Prince Ave. Information on Campus Cats can be found at catzip.org/campus-cats-program.
Heirloom Café and Fresh Market will host an opportunity for seasonal shopping Dec. 9 from 4–8 p.m. during brunch hours. Handmade wares include jewelry, gourmet foods, woodwork, ceramics, soaps and bath products, textiles and more. Vendors include Bohemian Spirit Glass, Normal Soap Company, Norman & Norma Vintage, Cherokee Moon Mixology, Little Light Co., Pale Blue Dot Designs, Will Eskridge Art, Viva Wild and many more. Heirloom is located at 815 N. Chase St. Visit heirloomathens.com.
Two dozen or so local vendors will join half as many children’s classes to sell products during the South Jackson Holiday Market. Proceeds will support the school’s leadership program and other various projects. The market will be held Monday, Dec. 10 from 5:30–7:30 p.m. at South Jackson Elementary School, located at 1630 New Kings Bridge Road. Contact email@example.com for additional details.
Creature Comforts' Get Artistic Winter Market, on Wednesday, Dec. 12 from 5–9 p.m., will primarily feature fine art and craftwork. Up on the walls, the brewery is also presenting “Dibujos Orgánicos: Hecho a Mano,” a series of paintings and drawings by Atlanta-based illustrator and muralist Angie Jerez. Visit getcurious.com/get-artistic for information on Get Artistic, a newly launched initiative that supports the local arts.
An outdoor patio under twinkling lights makes for a festive setting at the juried Athens Holiday Market at Big City Bread Cafe on Thursday, Dec. 13 and Friday, Dec. 14 from 5–9 p.m. Peruse the works of over 50 local and regional artists while a live band performs around the bonfire. Highlights include jewelry by Charles Pinckney, watercolors by Jamie Calkin, paintings by Lou Kregel, ceramics by Melanie Sgrignoli, bird houses by Frank Saggus, sculptures by Barbara Odil, pottery by Amanda Proctor, mixed media by Tex Crawford, glass by Susan Staley and baked dog treats by Robin Taylor. Big City Bread is located at 393 N. Finley St. and can be reached at 706-353-0029.
The vendors of the West Broad Farmers Market will offer a special Holiday Market & Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 15 from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. In addition to fresh produce and prepared foods, items include artisan soaps, handmade wreaths, jewelry, sewn goods, woodworking and flower bouquets. The market, at 1573 W. Broad St., aims to develop new food-based entrepreneurs, build a neighborhood-centered economy and increase access to healthy, affordable foods. Visit athenslandtrust.org.
More artists will share their creations during the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art’s fourth annual Holiday Market. Highlights include assemblages by Lisa Freeman, pottery by Blackbird Jenny, beaded jewelry by Aurora Jewelry, comics by Joey Weiser, paintings by Anna Lee Shultz, moss ecosystems with Kodama tree spirits by StudioPenPen and children’s books by New Growth Publishing. The market will be held Dec. 15 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. at the gallery’s new location, at 675 Pulaski St., Ste. 1200. Visit athica.org.
Hosted by the eclectic brick-and-mortar Indie South, the Abnormal Bazaar offers a last-minute opportunity to pick up handmade and vintage goodies. Held the third Sunday of every month, the outdoor market is Sunday, Dec. 16 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. at Indie South’s new location, 470 Hawthorne Ave. Visit indiesouthfair.com for details.
Treehouse Kid & Craft presents its ninth annual Hollyday Handmade Artist Market across the street at Starlite Showroom, at 750 W. Broad St., on Sunday, Dec. 16 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Swing by to peruse the creations of 20 vendors, including Very Good Puzzle, The Slime + Charm Shop, Appaloosa Designs, Wilde Autumn Apothecary, Will Eskridge, Bear Hug Honey Company, Jacob Wenzka, Luvaboo, Tin Cup and Sweet Olive Farm Animal Rescue. Additionally, a Kids Art Market will feature budding entrepreneurs trying their hands at selling their masterpieces. Find the event on Facebook.
The family-run Bendzunas Glass Studio and Gallery, at 89 W. South Ave. in Comer, will keep extended weekend hours from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. until Christmas, with live glass-blowing demonstrations until 3 p.m. With over 40 years of experience, artist Paul Bendzunas has passed his craft down to his three children, who also work in the studio. Operating primarily as a wholesale business that distributes to galleries countrywide, a public gallery displays some of the family’s best functional and decorative glass works, including cups, paperweights, bowls, ornaments and vases. For more information, check out bendzunasglass.com.
The Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation's 24th annual juried Holiday Market includes the works of 70 regional artists and crafters, ranging from paintings to pottery, stained and fused glass, jewelry, photography, woodwork, sculpture, fiber art and more. The market is open Nov. 30 from 5–8 p.m. and Dec. 1–2 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission for all three days is $3. OCAF’s Artists Shoppe, which features handmade items created by more than 50 of the gallery's members, opens in conjunction with the Holiday Market and will remain open from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays until Dec. 22. Homemade treats by Golden Pear Bakery, a group of volunteer OCAF members, will also be available. OCAF is located at 34 School St. in Watkinsville. For more details, visit ocaf.com.
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 over 30 years. The David Morgan Pottery studio, located at 3747 Old Wildcat Bridge Road in Danielsville, opens for a Holiday Sale Dec. 1 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Dec. 2 from 12–5 p.m. The studio can also be visited by appointment through Dec. 24. Find David Morgan Pottery on Facebook.
Venture over to Farmington Pottery’s December Open House Pottery Sale Dec. 1–2 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 pitchers, vases and tableware for the home and garden will be available, as well as a selection of soaps and botanical skin-care products made with fresh herbs grown by Lisa. Farmington Pottery is located at 1171 Freeman Creek Road in Farmington. For more information, visit pickettpottery.com and farmingtonherbals.com.
Farmview Market, at 2610 Eatonton Hwy. in Madison, will host a Holiday Market Dec. 1 from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Handcrafted items will include jewelry, knitted accessories and wood crafts, while locally sourced products range from homemade preserves to live herbs, soaps and baked goods. In addition to performances by the Happy Soles Cloggers, The Bread Basket Pickers and MCMS Chorale, bow-making demonstrations and a visit from Santa will help get everyone into the Christmas spirit. Check out farmviewmarket.com for what’s in store.
During Off the Vine Produce’s Holiday Craft Show, scheduled for Dec. 1 from 9 a.m.–2 p.m., artists will set up to sell various goodies like home decor items, flower arrangements, jewelry and soaps to take home in addition to the shop’s fresh produce and country goods. Off the Vine is located at 302 Athens Road in Winterville, and can be reached at 706-899-0400.
Previously of Southern Star Studio, Lori Demosthenes will invite visitors into her new space, Rose Creek Pottery, which she moved into this past September. Primarily focused on functional, handmade porcelain and stoneware pottery, she will offer a variety of mugs, serving dishes, ornaments and vases. The Holiday Sale will take place Dec. 1–2 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Rose Creek Pottery is located at 1051 Rose Creek Dr. in Watkinsville. Scope out @lodemos on Instagram for pictures of prior work.
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, Minsoo Yuh and Sunkoo Yuh, as well as drawings and red clay by Rich Panico and hand-printed textiles and cards by Sara Parker. Located at 1500 Tappan Spur Road in Watkinsville, the studio’s annual Studio Sale is Dec. 1–2 from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. For more details, call 706-410-5200.
While in the area, visit the annual J.B. (Jeff Bishoff) Pottery Sale for new works. Occurring Dec. 1–2 from 10 a.m.–5 pm., the sale is located at 1790 Salem Road in Watkinsville. Call 678-863-1847.
The Winterville Center for Community and Culture will host its first-ever Holiday Hoopla Craft Bazaar on Dec. 8 from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. In addition to seasonal items like greeting cards, wine cork Christmas trees, and baked goods, vendors will offer glass and beaded jewelry, clothing, creative gift card holders, jams and jellies, body care products and steampunk birdhouses. In addition, the Threadworms Crafting Club will raffle off a crocheted holiday quilt, with proceeds supporting the center. The Winterville Center is located at 371 N. Church St. in Winterville. Visit wintervillecenter.com.