Annual craft show brings handmade goods to campus

By Erin MoyerAssociate Opinion & Editorial Editor

The College’s professional staff hosted its annual Holiday Craft Show last Wednesday. The show, which ran from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Steinman College Center atrium, featured items including homemade cookies, handmade winter-wear, jewelry, and crafts, all made and sold almost exclusively by the professional staff.

The show also included some crafters and vendors from the Lancaster community, most of whom were referred to the show by an F&M-affiliated friend or family member.

The show has been an annual F&M tradition since 1994, when Jane Weidman, former financial aid counselor, and Peggy Bender, then academic department coordinator of history, American

studies, and women’s and gender studies, decided to organize a craft show in which the College’s professional staff could participate.

“There used to be a craft show, but it was a very small one,” Bender said. “No one did anything until Jane Weidman and I started this up, and we have more variety.”

Reflecting on previous years’ craft shows, Bender explained that the College has seen a number of diverse vendors.

“One year, we had people who did monograms and took orders,” Bender said. “At some points we have had 20 vendors.”

Wednesday’s show featured roughly a dozen crafters.

“I don’t know if craft shows are as big as they used to be,” Bender noted.

The professional staff’s craft show has still gone strong, though. Weidman and Bender have both since retired from their posts within the College, with Bender working in her position as an academic department coordinator for 27 years. Bender said Susan Van Arman organized the show several times, but, in recent years, Bender and Deborah Miller, academic department coordinator for business, organizations, and society (BOS), have taken the reins.

For Miller, the College’s craft show is but one of many around the Lancaster Community in which she participates, and she appreciates the show’s roots as catering toward members of the College’s professional staff and the campus-wide community.

“The craft show got started as a way for professional staff to make some extra spending money,” Miller said. “Over the years, we decided to accept some crafters from the community, most often referred by an F&M friend or family member.”

Bender also commented that, though she and Miller have successfully organized shows in the past years, they could always use more help.

“Hopefully we can keep it going for a few more years, but we would love to have some new volunteers to help keep it going,” Bender said.

Even as the craft show evolves, some things never change. For one thing, the show’s date—always the second Wednesday of November—has been strategically set to nab holiday shoppers and spread festive cheer.

“[We] do it in November to catch holiday people,” Bender said. “It’s nice for the students, who, if they can’t get away and want to buy a present, can just come here.”

Likewise, the products the show features remain equally holiday-season oriented. Bender mentioned some of the show’s typical products.

“It’s usually some form of jewelry, some form of food, and knitwear—scarves and hats and stuff,” Bender said.

But for Bender and the professional staff, the show is not just about the final products.

“I talked to one woman who participated a number of years ago, and she told me she’ll start her stuff now so she’ll be ready [for next year],” Bender said.

Indeed, Bender herself shares feelings similar to this dedicated crafter.

“For me, I love when I’m talking to someone on campus, and I see earrings they bought from me,” she said.

Next year’s Holiday Craft Show has already been scheduled for the Steinman College Center Atrium on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. Shoppers will most likely be able to find Bender, Miller, cookies, scarves, crafts, and more at this event for the whole campus community.

Sophomore Erin Moyer is the Associate Opinion & Editoral Editor. Her email is emoyer1@fandm.edu.

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