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Faire brings out arts, surprises


Staff Writer

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The spaces around the Mill Spring Makers Market were filled with crafts and demonstrators on Saturday, Dec. 4, for the Holiday Makers Faire.

“Melinda Cobb, who owns Mill Street Makers, basically puts on this event and gathers a bunch of artisans to share our wares and promote the ‘shop local’ mindset,” said Kelly Hall, Old Town Emporium Gift Shop Coordinator and owner of Books and Cleverness. “This is her third time doing it, and it’s a great event.”

Hall’s book art is inspired by literature and poetry, using old, damaged books to make art, such as buttons, bookmarks and stickers.

For nearly seven years, Hall has been working on a version of her vision, and the dream became mobile in 2019.

“Everything is hand-drawn,” Hall said. “We make ornaments during the holiday season, as well as prints of our original work in our mobile store.”

In addition to various artists, Cobb also brings performers.

Two of these performers are best friends and aerialists, Caitlin Leavitt and Abby Freeburn of Twirling Twins Entertainment in Kingsport.

“We have been doing aerialist work together for four years,” Freeburn said. “Separately I’ve been doing it five or six years, while Abby has been doing it six or seven.”

Freeburn got her interest in aerial work after her yoga teacher exposed the students to it as part of learning different areas of the art.

“After taking an aerial class, the instructor told me to try a class at Appalachian Tumbling and Gymnastics, and I really enjoyed it,” Freeburn said. “Then I started taking classes in Knoxville and then did my own thing.”

Leavitt, however, originally wanted to be a ballerina.

“I never got to take any classes or anything (for ballet),” Leavitt said. “Then one day, I was on Instagram, and I saw someone doing silks, and I thought it was amazing and wanted to try it. So, I ended up at the same studio as Caitlin.”

From there, they ended up learning doubles routines and began their high-flying career together.

Elizabeth Mullaney, however, practices her art on the ground and in the kitchen to create her Junkyard Chocolates.

“I started Junkyard Chocolates (four years ago) because people are struggling with things, so this is something that can be a gift that is unique but not too expensive,” Mullaney said. “So, it kind of fit the bill. The more I did, the more designs I came up with.”

Originally from England, Mullaney now lives in Parrotsville with her husband Mark, and does her chocolatier work in her spare time and mainly only at Christmas time.

“It is usually too hot here in the summer,” Mullaney said. “I used to ship online all year, but with the heat and shipping I had so many problems.”

Mullaney sells her Belgian chocolates in different forms, including a ball and putter, tools, and hot chocolate peanut butter bombs.

Even those new to the art scene brought their pieces to showcase.

“I have handmade, wheel-thrown ceramics,” Jonesborough local Tori Cox said. “I do a lot of things with plants, so I also have planters.”

Cox also has mugs, vases, jewelry and wine cups in her collection.

“I’ve been doing this about a year. I took my first class with Alita (Williams), about a year ago, so she’s a great teacher,” Cox said. “I’ve really been enjoying it and trying to do as much as I can and learn as much as I can.”