Gallery Stroll

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Mellus scored this metal Christmas tree at the Art Barn's Craft Exhibit and Sale. Photo: Mariah Mann Mellus

So sweet are the old sayings, “It’s the thought that counts” and “As long as it comes from the heart.”  Those sayings go hand in hand with another oldie but goodie: “You can wrap shit up in a pretty bow, but it will still stink.” I’ve tried to make my own Christmas gifts before, and I’d like to apologize to anyone who has ever received a lopsided crocheted cap or a batch of slightly burned cookies. After strolling through the amazing Craft Lake City booths, I was ashamed! If you’re like me, and can’t cut in a straight line, worry no more. My Holiday Boutique and Gallery Stroll Guide will have you looking like Susie Homemaker without ever having to pull out a hot glue gun.

When it comes to trimming the tree, I take my cues from the featured holiday artists at Art Access.  Every year they handpick a few select artists to decorate the gallery’s Christmas tree. Patrons can buy several decorations to recreate the complete look, or give one to a friend so they can remember you every time they decorate their tree. The holiday show opens Nov. 18 from 6-9 p.m. and then again for the Holiday Stroll on Dec. 3 from 6-9 p.m. You can also stop by during regular gallery hours: Mon. – Fri., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and any Saturday in December from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. For more information, visit accessart.org.

Before my family became the “Cleavers,” we lived in an urban loft with sleek furniture and a rusty metal Christmas tree—still one of my favorite holiday stroll finds. The tree called to me from the corner of the Art Barn’s Holiday Craft Exhibit and Sale. It’s very minimal, perfect for the person who likes to decorate, but doesn’t want the log cabin Christmas.  Years later, I’m still very proud of my first Christmas tree, fifty-five dollars, and no trees were harmed.  Now located on the main level, there is more room to navigate your way through the work of over sixty talented Utah artists and crafters at the craft exhibit. In its 28th year, this holiday boutique really does have something for everyone. The show runs from Dec. 2 through Dec. 18. The Art Barn is located at 54 Finch Lane next to Reservoir Park. For a complete list of artists, visit slcgov.com/arts.

If there was a homemade or crafting mecca, I think it would have to be in Utah County. Those ladies have been perfecting the art of DIY for generations. It’s bred into them from their pioneer roots—canning, scrapbooking, quilting and knitting.  The Beehive Bazaar takes the best of the crafting traditions, like handmade Christmas stockings and homemade jams, and throws in trendy jewelry, repurposed clothing and the latest in one-of-a-kind kids’ clothes. My girl friends and I make a pilgrimage each year to the land of plenty (children and crafts that is). My $18 bee necklace has been the envy of many people over the years and a staple in my wardrobe. Now located at the Bell Room on the the corner of University and Center Street in Provo, The Bazaar takes place Thurs., Dec. 8, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Fri., Dec. 9, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m and Sat., Dec. 10, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. For more details, friend them on Facebook.

This holiday season, the only saying I want to hear is, “I love it, where did you find it?” That response, along with the knowledge that I bought local and supported Utah’s art and craft scene, would be the best Christmas present in the world.  Make your holidays brighter and give a work of art.

Photos:
Mellus scored this metal Christmas tree at the Art Barn's Craft Exhibit and Sale.  Photo: Mariah Mann Mellus