News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Harvest Faire draws a horde to market

For two generations, the Sisters Harvest Faire has offered a celebration of the season, a celebration of handcrafted excellence in a plastic world, and a celebration of the community of Sisters.

This year’s Faire felt especially celebratory as the crowds of market-goers returned after a year hiatus forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shoppers strolled among the stalls of dozens of vendors — many of whom have been regulars at the Faire for as long as 20 years. Judging from the burdens they carried back to their vehicles parked all across Sisters, they weren’t just looking.

The juried artists are noted for the quality of their goods, and shoppers find unique items of art, décor, or food and drink to take home with them. Many of them find their way under a Christmas tree in a couple of months’ time.

The Sisters Harvest Faire is held across several blocks of Main Avenue in Sisters, around Fir Street Park, where Dry Canyon Stampede played on the stage on Saturday, with Bill Keale performing on Sunday. Demonstrations of glass-blowing, textile-making, metal arts, and more lend an educational aspect to the Faire.

“It was awesome,” said Jill Neal, whose “Wild (Tasteful) Women” and other works of art were on display in her tent. “[Saturday] it was wall-to-wall bodies in here. It was like old-home week.”

Neal closed her gallery in Sisters and has scaled back on doing shows, focusing on a continually growing online business. But the Sisters Harvest Faire will stay on the schedule, she said. She plans to be back next year.

Saturday’s weather was just about perfect, with abundant sunshine and velvety autumn air that crested the 60-degree mark in the afternoon. Sunday brought some challenges, as gusty winds kicked up, battering tent walls and, in some cases, sending vendors’ wares crashing down. Toward the end of the Faire, spates of showers moved across town.

But none of that dampened the spirits of creative souls who make their living, or part of it, crafting art or artisan products.

Nil Organic Tea was down from Scappoose with hand-blended, organic teas that spoke to the scents and flavors of the season.

Jennifer Hartwig offered a large display of her scratchboard art. She fell in love with the technique — where an artist uses a blade to scratch into a dark surface, leaving white or colored lines beneath — when she was in high school. She gave up art for a time as she raised a family, but returned to it about 20 years ago.

She offers exquisitely detailed original works, with a particular affinity for animals.

“She’s able to really capture something special in the eyes of these animals,” said Amy Terebesi, who was assisting Hartwig at her stall. “It’s more lifelike than anything you’ve ever seen… it makes me tingle inside.”

Hartwig offers her work on coffee mugs and greeting cards, so that there is a low price-point opportunity for people to take home her art.

“Not everybody can afford a $1,000 original,” she said.

Her philosophy might have been a watchword for many of the artists and artisans at the Sisters Harvest Faire, who are producing unique, original work: “Everybody needs to have a piece of art in their house.”

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

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Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit www.frontierpartisans.com.

 

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