Berea artisans offer 12 days of Christmas gift making

Vikki Bringle, owner of Cotton Patch Quilts and Gifts, will teach a Dec. 6 workshop on making a woodland Santa place mat. The cost is $75.
Vikki Bringle, owner of Cotton Patch Quilts and Gifts, will teach a Dec. 6 workshop on making a woodland Santa place mat. The cost is $75.

Berea artists — from glass blowers to knitters and bakers — are sharing their skills in holiday workshops that will teach participants to make one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts.

The event, 12 Days of Christmas, Make It, Take It, Give It, starts Thursday and runs through Dec. 12.

"All of us have artistic talents; it's just a matter of finding a way to bring it out," said Vikki Bringle, who is offering classes and workshops at her shop, Cotton Patch Quilts and Gifts.

The participating artists operate businesses in Berea or live in Berea, said Judy Sizemore, a spokeswoman for the Berea Department of Travel and Tourism, which is sponsoring the event.

The workshops are kind of a twofer, benefitting the public and the artist, she said. The public gets access to fully equipped studios and guidance in creating holiday-themed gifts. It's a good opportunity for someone who is interested in delving into a new art form to see whether they like it, she said. For example, someone interested in pottery could measure their aptitude before investing in a kiln, glazes and pottery tools.

For the artists, "it's an effort to diversify," said Sizemore. "They can not only sell their product but their expertise."

For a complete listing of classes, go to

Most of the classes are geared for the public, people "from age 9 to 90," said Lesa Geiringer, owner of Powdermill Pottery. Others, Sizemore said, are aimed at fulfilling professional development requirements for teachers.

Geiringer's focus is helping people make gifts that are beautiful and manageable to create. For example, she is offering a workshop in making a hand-thrown ceramic pig salt holder that will be created in a day and then shipped to the patron's home.

Bringle said she sees a trend toward the old, handcrafted ways as a nod to the past and a recognition of tough economic times. There is a certain joy in seeing generations work together on a quilt, like families have done for ages, she said.

The holiday workshops are a continuation of the similarly organized Festival of Learnshops in July. Sizemore said organizers are so sold on the workshop idea that plans already are under way for Festival of Learnshops 2012.

The cost and size of the Christmas classes vary, she said. Registration is required, and some classes are likely to fill up fast. Organizers arranged the schedule so one person could try several projects in a day.

"That way," Sizemore said, "they can dabble in whatever they want."