Crafted with care

Vendors offer variety of wares at show

Vendors offer variety of wares at show

November 19, 2006|by CANDICE BOSELY

HAGERSTOWN - It was a trip to Tennessee in 1973 that started Marion Smith's artistry with handbags that, years later, would help her cope with the depression she suffered following her husband's death.

That year, 1973, she and her husband and another couple went to Tennessee, where the women bought vinyl, striped handbags.

A few weeks later, Smith, of Hagerstown, gave her bag to her sister, who had been admiring it. After giving the bag away, it occurred to Smith that she likely could make one.

Smith did, and now said it likely is safe to say she has handcrafted a thousand or so bags, working most recently with leather.

Smith, 73, had her bags for sale Saturday at the Americana Arts and Crafts Show at Hagerstown Community College's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center (ARCC).


The show continues today.

Smith's husband, Sam Smith, died last October. Because he was the one who cut the leather, his wife ceased making bags.

"I wasn't getting along so good, so my doctor recommended I do something," Smith said.

Smith got out her bag patterns, started cutting the leather herself and resumed making bags.

"It gives me something to do," she said.

Smith sold three bags in less than half an hour on Saturday, telling each customer to call her at home to report any problems with a bag. She attached to the handle of each bag a card with her phone number on it.

In time for the upcoming hunting seasons, James and Tracy Remsburg of Frederick, Md., were selling nature prints, as well as copies of their hunting-related books, including "J.R.'s Camouflage Cookin'."

The cookbook consists of original family recipes for wild game, including deer, turkey, elk, pheasant, squirrel and other meats.

Venison is better than hamburger, the couple said.

"It's leaner. It's better for you," James Remsburg said.

Elsewhere in the ARCC, Butch Upole, 63, of Oakland, Md., had framed natural works of art on display.

His work consists of items - twigs, bark, cattails, milkweed, maple seed pods, weeds, wasp nests and others - layered to form a natural scene.

Upole started making his creations in February.

"Strictly boredom," he said.

Upole selects his materials from his 80 acres, but his mind is rambling as he gathers the items.

"I put the frame out and then put it together," Upole said, adding that he was unable to make a work that someone had requested. "I just have to be completely open when I sit down."

If you go

What: Americana Arts and Crafts Show

When: Today, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Hagerstown Community College Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.

Admission: $1

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