Nov. 6 — FRACKVILLE — The sounds of the season echoed through the halls of the Schuylkill Technology Center-North Campus on Saturday as craftsmen displayed an array of items destined to end up under a Christmas tree.
Christmas classics like “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman” greeted shoppers at the center’s 28th Merchants and Crafts Show.
Prominent among the wares from some 57 artisans were Santas, reindeer and Christmas wreaths – signs you know what’s going to be here before you know it.
In fact, a hand-painted wooden sign on the Minnick Woodworking stand read “50 days until Christmas”.
The “50” was written in chalk so it could be updated in a daily countdown.
Mikayla Minnick displayed what she calls “Christmas trees” – a wooden plaque in the shape of a tree with a red Santa suit painted on.
“Christmas trees are very popular,” said Minnick, 19, a student-turned-elementary-school teacher.
Drawing on decades of expertise, Elaine Attia arranged ribbons, dried cherries and other miscellaneous items on a wooden star background to create a stylish Christmas ornament.
“I’ve been making art since I was a little girl,” said Attia, from West Hazleton. “My mother taught me.”
Wilmer George, a Washington Twp. Artisan, makes wooden Santas, angels and eagles under the Crafts By George label.
He became interested in woodworking about 20 years ago after retiring from a position with the 365th Engineer Army Reserve Unit at Schuylkill Haven.
“I bought a $1,000 saw and made a teddy bear for my granddaughter and a frog for my granddaughter,” he said. “It’s relaxing.”
The hobby turned into a business and George is showing his work at numerous craft fairs around the holiday season with Sue, his 30-year-old wife.
Bill Mack, who teaches social studies at the center, said there’s quite a lot of interest in the show.
“It was really tough for a couple of years during COVID,” he said, “but people are starting to come back.”
The show is sponsored by student organizations on the center’s North and South campuses. Funds raised fund student activities run by student organizations.
Alexis Squyres, 17, a student at STC-South campus, has mastered a centuries-old craft – pyrography.
With a hot iron, she burns images of eagles, frogs, and butterflies into wooden boxes and plaques. She lives in Tamaqua and is also a talented freehand artist.
“I like the way the two techniques correlate,” said Squyres, who is self-taught. “It’s important to me that my art makes people happy.”
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