Aisle upon aisle of artists and craftsman are ready to show off their talents and tempt you with their creations when Winterfair returns to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center Nov. 24-26. Potters, painters and furniture makers are among those who will be sharing their artistry at the craft fair, now in its 40th season.

Organized by Ohio Designer Craftsmen, this fine art and craft fair features 250 American artists, some from as far away as California and New York. This year, at least 16 states will be represented.

Ohio Designer Craftsmen Director Betty Talbott says it’s important to support regional artists. “The majority of the artists are from Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. It’s important to present to the community the excellent quality of work that’s being produced in the region. It helps encourage people to seek these artists out in the future, because they know these artists are nearby. They can visit the artists’ studios, as well as buy work, turning it into an experience for the family. People can have pride in the fact that these artists live and work in their community.”

Talbott adds that Winterfair, “will feature examples of fine jewelry, blown glass, leather accessories, wearable art, functional pottery, wood utensils, furniture, garden art, painting and photography.”

Cathra-Anne Barker of Santa Fe, N.M., creates pieces reflecting her world and the places she visits. Why does she travel so far for this festival? “It does seem like a long way to drive, doesn’t it? That’s because it is, around 3,000 miles round trip. The landscapes I’ve passed through have often ended up on pots. There’s a series called ‘Ecological Narratives,’ which includes the Great Plains, Arizona Desert and the Northwest among others. Good news, I love to drive, almost as much as the people I get to see. Over many years, wonderful relationships have developed.”

These relationships also fuel creativity, Barker adds, “When I’m in my studio working on pieces to bring I’m picturing these guys and aiming toward designs that I think would please them. So, in large part, inspiration comes from friendships. There’s a woman who gave me a beautiful book of butterfly photos because she is thrilled with them. In studying the book, I began to see butterflies on my pots.”

Cincinnati resident Julie Aronson says she likes to head to Winterfair every year because “Winterfair is always my first foray into holiday gift shopping. I love to buy one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts for my family and friends and generally find something there I know they will adore. And because there are so many intriguing items to look at and I go with a friend as a social occasion, I find it much a more enjoyable experience than battling the crowds at the mall.” Aronson adds, “Of course, I come home with as many, if not more, cool things for myself as for my nearest and dearest.”

What will you come home with?

Winterfair, Nov. 24-26. Northern Kentucky Convention Center, Covington. F-Sa 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Su 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tickets $7 at the door or online.

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