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Artisans, crafters show their stuff at Caledonia

July 10, 2010|By DANA BROWN
  • Joli Miller, of Abbottstown, Pa., makes a scherenschnitte design Saturday at Caledonia State Park's 28th annual Arts and Crafts Festival.
By Dana Brown,

FAYETTEVILLE, Pa. -- Mother Nature held off the rain and offered cooler temperatures and a gentle breeze for crafters and shoppers Saturday morning at Caledonia State Park's 28th annual Arts and Crafts Festival.

Close to 200 artisans and crafters shared their works and wares while several were creating more.

Joli Miller of Abbottstown, Pa., turned her focus to a piece of delicate white paper and gently cut out an intricate design with an X-Acto knife.

This was her first show and her first attempt to turn something she enjoys into a moneymaking venture.

"Before it was a hobby," she said. "Now, I'm turning it into a business. I'm anxious to sell my first piece."

Her work is called Scherenschnitte, which means scissors cutting in German. Miller said she first took up the craft 14 years ago at a workshop she attended.

While paper cutting can be tedious, Miller said it can be a form of therapy as well.

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Miller said she sees potential Scherenschnitte designs everywhere. Her heart designs are patterned after a necklace she wears. Another design is based on a stained glass window in her church. Her love of trees also inspires several designs, she said.

Broom maker Scott Merryman of Biglerville, Pa., stood at his antique broom winder carefully twisting broomcorn onto a wooden handle. He was joined by his wife, Carol. Each of them demonstrated part of the broom-making process.

Several people stopped to watch, including 7-year-old Wes Karper, who was visiting from Oregon.

"It looks like Harry Potter's broom," he said.

Merryman said several years ago he was encouraged, for health reasons, to take up a hobby. Following in his grandfather's and his great-grandfather's footsteps, he decided to take up broom making.

"It was sort of a natural thing for him to take up," Carol Merryman said.

Merryman said he remembers watching his grandfather make brooms, but didn't learn the craft until after his grandfather had passed away. His grandfather had made recorded instructions on cassette tape before he died, but they were hard to follow. Merryman worked with a few other broom makers before listening once again to his grandfather's instructions, which this time made more sense, he said.

"Now, I basically make the brooms like my grandfather did," he said. "It took a lot of practice."

Broom making is an art he hopes to pass down to his own grandson, he said.

The Merrymans said they set up their machinery at several arts and craft festivals in the area from early spring to late fall.

Carol Merryman said she enjoys working with her husband. She also likes to sneak away and do some shopping as well.

"Before, my wife couldn't get me to craft shows," Scott Merryman said with a laugh.

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