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Mistletoe Market heralds Christmas season

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Despite the balmy weather, and three more weeks before Thanksgiving, the Christmas season is fast approaching.

From now until Dec. 12, south metro shoppers seeking unique Christmas curio will be able to visit Arts Clayton's annual Mistletoe Market.

Artists from throughout the Southern Crescent showcased their wares to the public during on opening reception on Thursday night. From handmade jewelry and cheese boards, made from recycled, compressed vodka bottles, to hand-stitched dolls and Christmas ornaments, all of the items are unique, gift possibilities.

Linda Summerlin, executive director of Arts Clayton, said in the nearly 10 years of its existence, the market has allowed local people to buy one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts from local artists.

"At Christmas, everybody is looking for something different and interesting," said Summerlin. "It's an established enough event that people wait for it every year and do their shopping. Everything in here is fine art, it's not crafts."

This year's market has a variety of low-end and high-end items, including hand-carved pepper mills, earrings, letter openers, toys, dolls, hats, and scarfs.

There are items marketed toward the children, such as the "Snarky Boys" dolls designed by Ronnie Tucker of McDonough, and other items made of out of everyday objects, such as birdhouses made of wine boxes and cork by David Buchanan of Jonesboro.

"We have something that will fit every age bracket and every home, but they are all one-of-a-kind and that's what makes them special," said Elizabeth Gower, administrative assistant at Arts Clayton.

Gower said while most of the items at the market are priced between $10 and $50, other items ,such as Christmas ornaments, start at $4.

In conjunction with the Mistletoe Market, Arts Clayton is also hosting it's "Memories" art exhibit. The collection of paintings and photography evoke memories of the past as interpreted by the artists.

The art for sale includes images of popular figures of the past, such as Bing Crosby. There also are other scenes, depicting the stages of aging, and early childhood images.

"I like the diverse range because nobody has the same memories," said Courtney Fort, gallery assistant at Arts Clayton. "It's all very personal and you can see that through the artwork."

The Arts Clayton gallery is located at 136 South Main St., in Jonesboro. For more information about the Mistletoe Market or the "Memories" exhibit, call (770) 473-5457 or visit www.artsclayton.org.