Handmade in Springfield

Willamalane’s Holiday Marketplace features local gifts

Brandi Finsland of Naturally Wick ‘n’ Body Works
Brandi Finsland of Naturally Wick ‘n’ Body Works

Downtown Springfield is buzzing with revitalization and, as December approaches, the Willamalane Adult Activity Center will soon kick off its annual Holiday Marketplace, bringing together a variety of local artists and crafts people, each with their own twist on the idea of “handmade gift.”

Willamalane special events coordinator Lynn Daniels-Anderson says that, in the past, the event was volunteer run, but these days it has evolved into a “community marketplace” with a variety of vendors.

Stephanie Kornman says she used to make a living in the corporate world, but she’s been making art full time for the last two years as a multimedia collage artist and hasn’t looked back. “I like to create art that helps people have a better day,” Kornman says. “People give me a quote or a color palette and I go from there.”

She uses mixed-media techniques to create a finished product that has 20 to 30 layers. The whole process involves paper, paint, ink, encaustic painting and more. Kornman does much of her business over the Internet, but she says she also likes going to local events. “They can see your work, it’s right there, they can touch it,” she says about the people she meets.

Brandi Finsand of Naturally Wick ‘n’ Body Works started out looking for something she and her friend could do at home — both are stay-at-home moms. They read about phthalates, a suspected carcinogen, and ended up learning how to make phthalate-free candles from palm oil wax. “Most candles out there are petroleum byproducts,” Finsand says.

Over time, the project turned into something more. “It’s this new niche that we found, and we’re taking that and running with it,” she says about the popularity of their products, now carried by several stores in the area.

Sharon Willie makes and sells jewelry using gemstones or crystals. The process of creating is a “stress reliever,” Willie says. “I like the feel of the gemstones and the different colors you can get out of them.”

She recently added tote bags to her lineup, reversible and made of cotton. “In Eugene it’s always nice to have those reusable bags,” Willie says, and they make a good alternative to paper or plastic.

Stephanie Smith (left) and Finsland with their phthalate-free candles

The marketplace is Wednesday and Thursday this year, Daniels-Anderson says, “which makes us unique because we’re a mid-week holiday market.” It’s primarily an older crowd due to the fact that the center offers classes targeted at people age 50 and older, but all are welcome.

“Downtown Springfield, there’s a lot going on,” Daniels-Anderson adds, citing as an example the monthly Springfilm event at the Wildish Theater. Most recently, she says, the activity center hosted Jan Eliot, creator of the Stone Soup comic strip, as part of its popular Lunch and Learn series.

The Holiday Marketplace is 9 am to 6 pm Dec. 2-3 at the Willamalane Adult Activity Center, 215 W. C Street in Springfield. It’s not to be confused with Eugene’s Saturday Market Holiday Market, which runs weekends now through Dec. 20 as well as Dec. 22-24.

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