|Textile designs are reflected in a wooden mirror, with inlaid mosaics, by Richard Allen.|
During the months of November and December, the Craft Gallery is open 10 a.m-4 p.m. seven days a week. The tiny shop is in the Fred Packard Center at 4022C Hummer Road in Annandale Community Park.
|Beaded jewelry by Karen Bowes.|
Karen Bowes, a resident of Burke, specializes in bead weaving. She makes lovely bracelets and other jewelry from tiny glass beads using a Native American technique called “peyote stitch” or “gourd style.”
“What I like about bead weaving is there are so many different kinds of stitches,” says Bowes, who uses beads from Japan, the Czech Republic, and other places. “You get frustrated. You never get bored.”
|Platters and bowls by Richard Allen.|
Richard Allen, the gallery director, uses a lathe to make round, wooden objects, including platters, bowls, mirrors, ring stands, pepper mills, and kaleidoscopes. Some of the pieces have inlaid mosaics, and others have patterns burned into the wood.
Like many of the artisans at the Craft Gallery, Allen became more active in his craft after retiring. He had done woodworking before but had always wanted to try wood turning, so when he earned a bonus at work, he bought a lathe and joined the Capital Area Woodturners, one of 10 craft guilds that are part of Artisans United.
A resident of the Falls Church area of Mason District, Allen says his favorite wood is curly maple, but he also uses red oak, American black walnut, bocote, and box elder.
|Children's sweaters knitted by Peggy Taves.|
Taves, a resident of Fairfax, designs her own patterns. She focuses on dressing youngsters because she like to work on small projects and incorporate humorous designs, like a tiny sweater with an owl pattern.
Now retired, Taves had created soft “sensory integration blankets” when she worked as a physical therapist for autistic children who couldn’t deal with scratchy fabrics.
Also on sale at the craft gallery: wood plaques, puzzles, and note cards featuring artistically enhanced photos of African wildlife by Gini Moore of Falls Church.
|Wildlife scenes by Gini Moore.|
Most of the proceeds from craft sales go to the artisans, while a percentage supports the gallery’s rent at the Packard Center, a building owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority and named for the county’s first parks director. The gallery doesn’t receive any county funds.
Anyone interested in learning a craft can contact the gallery for referrals to classes taught by guild members. Among the guilds represented at the gallery are the Potomac Fiber Arts Council, Waterford Weavers Guild, Quilters United, and National Capital Art Glass Guild.
Crafts provide “an outlet for creativity, allow artisans to express their individuality, and bring joy to one’s life,” Sarlin says. “When I began working with polymer, it was like a toy I couldn’t put down.”