Holiday boutique at the Marin Center displays a collection of art and handmade items for purchase

From Dec. 1 through 8, the Marin Center in San Rafael is hosting a Holiday Arts and Craft sale showcasing many unique and handcrafted goods. The Department of Cultural Services has handpicked over 41 artists to present their work and goods at its second annual Holiday Arts and Crafts fair.

After three years of success with the Marin County Fair, manager Charlie Barboni has found these pop-up holiday boutiques to be a great contributor to the art community because of the large amount of customers he sees each year.

These customers generate profits which are also donated to local charitable organizations. Around 20 percent of all proceeds are given to the Marin Cultural Association, according to Barboni.

Just a few of the dozens of paintings throughout the gallery

Just a few of the dozens of paintings throughout the gallery.

Whether it’s helping out non-profit organizations that contribute to art in the Bay Area or upcoming arts and crafters getting their work out into the world, everything is held to a certain standard to make sure the customers are satisfied.

“It is a juried show so we are the ones who select the artists who will be able to participate to make sure it’s high-quality work,” Barboni said.

With each artist having a different background and skill, all the items are unique and have had a lot of success selling to customers, according to Barboni. Items vary from carved wood, fabrics, handmade soaps, pottery, jewelry and paintings, a great amount of time and effort is put into each piece.

Geraldine Ganun, a potter who has attended the Marin County Fair for multiple years, specializes in handmade ceramic art, and has found this fair to be a warm and welcoming place to present her work. She said that customers are appreciative of the dedication and effort put into her work.

“I think people put a lot of value on handmade pieces,” Ganun said.

Originally breaking and sculpting ceramic plates to form interesting designs, Ganun has developed and mastered her craft by taking multiple classes through College of Marin and other art schools in San Francisco.

Geraldine Ganun standing next to her table full of handmade pottery.

Geraldine Ganun standing next to her table full of handmade pottery.

“Each piece is made differently and I am able to use fired-on decals to make designs,” Ganun said.

Similar to Ganun, weaver Juliette Harper also enjoys attending boutiques to share her work, but produces hand-woven garments. Harper has always had a passion for weaving and said she mastered her craft from working alongside other guild members.

“I knew I wanted to learn how to weave, and especially liked it in middle school, so I went up to Humboldt State and that’s where I first learned about weaving,” said Harper.

Initially based in Sonoma County, Harper and the Redwood Weavers Guild planned on having a sale for all their items but had difficulty after the Sonoma fire damaged the area.

“We didn’t know what to do until hearing about this gallery, which we are able to be guests in,” Harper said.

Both artists said they believe that these galleries and other pop-up boutiques are extremely important for promoting the business of merchants being able to bring back tradition of buying and selling locally produced goods.

“I think we’ve lost a lot of our important skills like making yarn, jackets and soaps and I feel like these are very important skills that we should have never let go of,” Harper said.

In addition to helping bring back critical skills, the unique items showcased at these galleries are also appreciated to a higher degree, according to Harper.

“The whole idea that it’s handmade and local, I think a lot of people really value these pieces,” Ganun said.

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