Holiday Shopping with Lithia Artisans Market
The people at Lithia Artisans Market of Ashland (LAMA) are busy beavers around the holidays. Not only are they hosting their Christmas Faire at the Ashland Historic Armory Nov. 24-26, but the annual Briscoe ArtWing Holiday Market, which first opened in 2012, will take place at the old Briscoe School (265 N. Main) over four weekends in December (2-3, 9-10, 16-17 and 23-24).
Lithia Artisans Market of Ashland (LAMA) is a nonprofit, mutual benefit corporation, and the first market opened in the fall of 1983. The market’s manager, Marcus Scott, traveled extensively throughout Mexico and Central America for three years after graduating from the U of O.
“I saw how the local markets throughout Mexico are almost always the hub of every town worthy of a visit,” Marcus said. “I came back to Ashland after my first son was born in 1994 and joined the market because I wanted to be a self sufficient artisan. I had fallen in love with making stone beads and wanted to make that my form work. I believe that the artisans are the innovators in our world, continually finding new ways to better create the item that they produce.”
Marcus was motivated to make the model of an artisans market work in Ashland, where the artisans are able to make a career out of being a self employed craftsperson. “That means making a decent income,” Marcus said. “When the artisans market is running well and folks are coming out in support, then the model of the market is thriving, the artisans are making a solid income, and the economy benefits as more energy flows through the local system. “
The Holiday Market will feature the artisans of the Calle Guanajuato summer marketplace, plus a few extras that always happen to join them for the season.
“Patrons can expect to find high quality, handcrafted items made by the folks who are selling at the market,” Marcus said. “Art from the heart makes a wonderful gift this time of the year.”
There will also be raffle drawings for a $50 Gift Certificate every Sunday Afternoon, plus complimentary cookies and cider, live music, and artist studios open to the public.
“This time of year the local artisans bring forth the best they have to offer,” Marcus said. “For my own artisan business, The Stone Bead, I spend this window of time between the end of the outdoor market and the Holiday Market creating new pieces for this magical time of the year. My friend and fellow artisan Dan Clark always puts aside some of his best stone pendants just for this show. He is a stone cutter and silversmith. His Oregon Jasper pieces are amazing.”
The markets have also helped revitalize Ashland. “Way back in 1983 Guanajuato Way was nothing like the Calle Guanajuato we know and love today,” Marcus said. “It was full of brambles and garbage, not a great place to hang out. Now it is a jewel in downtown Ashland. The artisans had a direct impact on the beautification of that part of our town.”
The same is true with Briscoe Elementary. “Lithia Arts Guild stepped in to use the space as artist studios, allowing for an indoor seasonal market place and an outdoor festival event location,” he said. “Still leaving the school and grounds intact as public space, we held seven outdoor summer festivals with the MidSummer’s Dream Art and Music Festival, and we are now on our 13th season of the Holiday Market.”