Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Events

Christmas season gets started under the oaks

If you're not yet filled with Christmas spirit, (and who is when the highs hover near 80 degrees), just turn to the GFWC North Pinellas Woman's Club for inspiration.

Founded in 2003, the nonprofit has provided grants to the Guardian ad Litem program, the Safety Harbor Arts and Music Center, Sewing Hope, Catholic Charities, Paul B. Stephens School and more.

The group has partnered with community entities to address issues such as teen dating and domestic violence awareness. Provided comfort pillows to breast cancer patients. Distributed some 25,000 books to children.

The organization also sponsors the GFWC Clearwater Juniorettes, a teen volunteering program.

Now members are having their biggest fundraiser of the year — the 40th annual Christmas Under the Oaks arts and crafts show. Featuring unique, handmade and organic items, it's a wonderful way to get a head start on holiday shopping and help the community as well.

Christmas Under the Oaks runs Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Coachman Park.

More than 150 artists, crafters and food vendors will be selling their products including children's, baby and pet outfits, quilts, scarves, ceramics and pottery, jams and marmalades, jewelry, holiday ornaments, artistic soaps that look like cupcakes and much more.

"Every dollar raised from Christmas Under the Oaks goes back into the community and community service programs," said Jane Hussar, founder of the GFWC North Pinellas Woman's Club. "Our administrative costs are covered by dues."

In 2016, the club was named the most outstanding women's club in Florida by the GFWC Florida Federation of Women's Clubs.

The inaugural event, then called Christmas in the Village, was created by the GFWC Clearwater Junior Woman's Club in 1976. It featured 17 arts and crafts vendors. In 2012, the GFWC North Pinellas Woman's Club helped supply woman power; they took on the show the following year.

Music and art lovers will want to stop by the booth of Safety Harbor artists Holly Apperson and Ginny Allen, where some old, worn musical instruments — guitars, mandolins, ukuleles and banjos — have been turned into sparkling eye candy.

"They used to play for the ears, now they play for the eyes," said Allen.

This "wall jewelry" as the artistic duo calls it, reflects their passion for cycling, music and mosaics.

The surface of every instrument is covered with tiny glass, mirror and tile mosaics. Iconic symbols such as musical notes, sea horses, flowers or peace signs lend a theme. The signature touch is a bike chain that winds around the outer edge of each instrument. Prices range from $110 to $550.

At the show, there will be at least one other vendor who will be peddling some finely tuned art.

Artist Bob Richardson turns old instruments into lamps priced from $75 to $400.

"I make them from every kind of instrument imaginable except a tuba," he said. He made the first one about 30 years ago when a daughter was looking for a way to honor her deceased father, a jazz trumpeter. So Richardson figured out a way to turn the beloved trumpet into a lamp.

"Now his light will shine on forever," Richardson said.

 
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