Sarah and I headed to Topeka, Kansas to visit a new Artist Crafter vendor today. We visit all the new vendors who sell at the market to verify that they do make the items they plan to sell. I have had various conversations with Charles DeCesaris over the last couple months so am anxious to get a chance to meet him. Charles is only part of the Cutting Board Authority he also works with his son Bernie DeCesaris. They actually live next to each other so share their garage space. As you can tell by their name they specialize in making hand crafted cutting boards. We met them in their shop and found them hard at work. The cutting boards are just beautiful and are made to last a lifetime. They use a wide variety of hard woods for each board, each with its unique natural color, no stain used here! They glue the boards together with FDA approved glue and clamp them till dry, and then the magic happens. Charles told me each board comes with a card explaining how to care for your cutting board; they even make their own wax which they sell to keep the board conditioned. It was obvious after seeing their work that both had some kind of building background, it turns out that Charles and Bernie are from a long line of master craftsman. They plan on attending the Market on Sundays this year and hope to start soon. In addition to selling at the City Market they also sell their products on Etsy, visit them on Facebook or their website at www.cuttingboardauthority.com
We plan to work our way back to Kansas City and have three more vendor to visit on the way back. Jeff Stanley started selling his tye dyed clothing at the market in 2008 and has been a Saturday and Sunday regular at the Market ever since. Jeff has been creating tye dyed clothing for 23 years and dyes everything from hats, shirts, sox and tapestries, no two items are ever alike. I never realized how many steps go into creating a tye dyed t-shirt and how complicated some of the designs are. Christine does all of the intricate folding and stitching and Jeff does the dying, they have quite the system down. Jeff uses only the best dyes to ensure that the color in his clothing stays vivid for many years. Cosmic Dyes will be at the Market this weekend at the east end of the first pavilion. If you would like to know more about Cosmic Dyes visit their web site at www.cosmicdyes.com.
Our next stop is in Olathe, Kansas at J & D Glassworks. Jeff and Debbie Belzer have been making beautiful stained glass for at least 20 years. They also teach classes in their home and restore and clean stained glass. When the Belzer’s are at the Market they also sell stained glass sun catchers, glass jewelry and flattened bottles which can be used as cheese trays, soap dishes or wall hangings, the options are endless. Needless to say they are always on the lookout for unique bottle to put in their kiln. J & D Glassworks will be starting back at the Market very soon; you will find them at the Market on both Saturday and Sundays. Their web site lists the classes they have available and more information on the types of items they make. www.stainedglasskc.com
One more stop in Merriam, Kansas and we called it a day. Theresa Liu met us at her studio, at the market Theresa is known as the dried flower artist. Theresa has spent much of her life collecting flowers, twigs, bark and berries and giving them a new life. She is a true artist who painstakingly looks at a dried up flower and sees how it can once again be vibrant and part of a beautiful dried flower arrangement. Her workshop is full of assorted flowers she has trimmed, dyed and straitened over the years so as an idea for an arrangement comes to her she has everything she needs. When she runs out of a specific flower she usually has to wait for the next season when they bloom again. I think my favorite flower that she restores is the hydrangea and the celosia, they look amazing. Theresa will not be at the Market till late April or May on Saturdays or when she has enough arrangements to bring.
I am taking a week off from farm and crafter visits next week so I can take a moment to regroup before the farmers market gets any busier. The weather forecast is beautiful for this weekend so we will have vendors in the first and third pavilion, approximately 30 vendors. We are seeing green house bell peppers, lettuce, kale, tomatoes and green onions starting to come in. We are also seeing a few of our bakery vendors, vendors selling value added food products such as salsa and artist crafter vendors returning this week. We also have quite a few Vintage Sale vendors setting up on Saturday and Sunday, it should be a great weekend at the Market.