Staff, Students Sell Wares at Fourth Annual Craft Fair

Just in time for the holiday season, crafty students and staff will come together under one roof to sell their unique homemade products.

On Monday, Dec. 9, the Whitman College community will have an opportunity to view and purchase items created by fellow students and staff. They range from people who are participating just to have fun to those who want to raise money for charity, and each person has their own unique craft to share. 

Katharine Curles, director of student activities, is organizing the craft fair this year.

“This is the fourth annual arts and crafts fair, and it’s been growing every year!  We have handcrafted artworks, crafts and homemade food items,” said Curles.

Telara McCulloughmanager of compensations and benefits of human resources, will be selling hand-dyed wool and other various hand made items including felt birds and pin cushions.

“You have to buy special dye that will react well with wool. Then we buy wool fabric. We prepare the wool by washing it with a product that will make it more absorbent. Then we go through a dying process. No two times does the color come out the same because we like to mix the colors to create something original each time,” said McCullough.

Another vendor is Ruth Ladderud, an administrative assistant in the Office of the Provost and Dean of Faculty, who will be selling handmade tote bags made from old animal feed bags.

She acquires many of her materials from various local farmers who donate their used feedbags to her.

“Sometimes I show up at home, and lo and behold there are three empty chicken feed bags sitting outside, which is perfect because it gives me variety,” said Ladderud.

At the end of each year, Ladderud donates the proceeds from her sales to a charity.

Sophomore Brennan Johnson will be running a photography booth at the crafts fair. He is glad to have found a hobby that gives him an opportunity for self-expression.

“I got into photography in 10th grade because my brother was in it. I was looking for some kind of creative outlet. I took a class and I’ve been doing it ever since,” he said.

Juniors Clint Vorauer and Luke Hedlund feel similarly connected to their craft, though it is arguably more different than photography. Together, Hedlund and Vorauer brew kombucha, a drink made from a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, also known as SCOBY.

“So we start with a big pot of tea and then we add sugar which dissolves. We have a secret ratio of sugar to tea. When the water cools we add the SCOBY, and you leave it alone for one to four weeks and just let the SCOBY do its thing,” said Hedlund.

Much like photography allows Johnson to explore his creative abilities, brewing kombucha allows Vorauer and Hedlund a chance to explore their scientific curiosities.

“We like making stuff. We’re renaissance men. We’re both science majors, so we have a lab book for notes on the flavors,” said Hedlund.

At the fair, they will be selling three flavors: lavender grapefruit, plain and grapefruit ginger.

“We’ve experimented with different store-bought juices, concentrates, fruits, ginger and lavender. All the people who have tried the lavender thus far have been pleasantly surprised, so we hope that the rest of the Whitman campus will enjoy it like we have,” said Vorauer.

For these vendors, profit is not the only benefit of selling wares at the fair. They also enjoy the sense of togetherness that a craft fair inspires.

“It’s not really about me profiting. It’s a fun way to put my art in to the world. It’s also really about the community. Bringing people together through art is really important to me,” said Johnson.

Ladderud also has a good time interacting with buyers and other sellers.

“I’ve been doing this for about three years. What makes it all the better is they’re all recycled and it’s fun to sit at the craft fair. It’s a great community,” she said.

Vorauer and Hedlund want to use this community to spread the word about their unique brewing hobby and the tasty drink it creates.

“At this point I’m just excited about spreading the word of kombucha. We were thinking about having some samples available because a lot of people don’t really know anything about it. But I’m confident that if people try our kombucha, they will love it,” said Vorauer.

Despite their different talents, all of the vendors are passionate about their crafts and sharing their skills with the world.

“I’m always inspired by the opportunity to create things … even more so if I can do it with other people. That combination is part of life now. I can’t imagine not doing it,” said McCullough.




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