I know it’s hard to believe, but Summer 2012 is almost over, and there are so many things left on my bucket list! Why do June, July, and August go by so quickly?
Luckily, this week I was able to cross one more thing off that list, a trip to the Featherstone Flea and Fine Arts Market in Oak Bluffs aka “the Featherstone Flea.”
For those of you who have not been to the Featherstone Flea on Tuesdays during the Summer, you’re missing out. It has really grown in the past couple of years and has a diverse array of vendors.
There are photographers, handmade lotions and potions, handmade jewelry (some from local favs), vintage jewelry and clothing, antiques, quilts, artists and their paintings, yummy foodies like the Scottish Bakehouse, and just all sorts of cool one-of-a-kind finds.
This is a must to visit for me because for the past couple of years, each Summer I treat myself to a piece of jewelry from Freebird Designs. In her tenth Summer on the Vineyard, Erin Nelson surprises me each year with her jewelry designs which are influenced by where she travels during the off-season.
Sometimes she finds her inspiration in the stained glass windows of ancient churches in Barcelona. Other times its the lotus flowers found throughout Thailand. It’s always fun to see what’s new, and what she’s been up to.
I love that her pieces are handmade and have such attention to detail. My newest obsession is my large, adjustable coral ring. Sorry ladies, I think I got the last one. However, if you you visit her website, I bet you can ask her to make you one.
She’s pretty awesome about doing custom pieces which is great because I love some of her gold pieces but don’t wear gold. So, Erin will make them in silver for you. I usually stock up on some birthday and Christmas gifts, but she was so busy when I went. I guess I’ll have to go to back for the final Featherstone Flea next week.
If you’re looking for something truly unique and something that will have an impact on someone, perhaps a quilt or bracelet or metal sculpture from PeaceQuilts may be just the thing. PeaceQuilts (more than just quilts) is a non-profit which sells goods made by women in Haiti.
Through the sales of their wares, the women are able to provide for themselves and their family in a country that is less than supportive of women, and is in a state of severe poverty. PeaceQuilts and its employees are funded entirely by grants and donations. The money from the Haitian made items sold on the Vineyard go directly to the women and their cooperatives in Haiti.
PeaceQuilts is one of those organizations that is really doing a lot of good, and they’ve made some national news. PeaceQuilts and its founder Jean Staples are in the running for a $20,ooo gift from More Magazine for their efforts. To help this Island-based non-profit, click here to vote for them.
You can also help by purchasing one of the many great handmade items they sell for these talented women from Haiti. Good luck to Jean and the team on winning! The Vineyard continues to amaze me with its generosity and kindness, even at a flea market.
Strolling across the green lawn of Featherstone, I see this beautiful young woman and her Wampum jewelry. She is just so lovely as are her pieces. I had to learn more. Say hello to Island Wampum by Phoenix Russell.
This 23-year-old Island girl has been making her jewelry for the past four years. When I ask how she got started, she tells me about the Wampum jewelry she used to wear as a child. Her first piece was from her dad which she still has, and I guess you can say she fell in love with it then.
Combing the beaches of up-Island and Oak Bluffs, she finds the Wampum and quahogs for her collection. She does each piece of Wampum with a small sanding wheel which she admits it tricky. Some days she nicks the heck out of her fingers shaping the Wampum, and other days she is wound free. From the scars on her fingers, you can tell that she must have a love for her craft.
Phoenix has lots of different things for the Wampum enthusiasts from hair clips, cuff links, bracelets, earrings, pendants and and more. What really caught my eye was the circular Wampum and leather bracelet. Something I had not seen before.
I love that there’s this young Islander making these great pieces at such a young age. So much talent – I wish I had a even just a little bit, especially at such a young age.
There are so many great people and vendors at this flea market! Don’t forget to stop by Stefanie Wolf and Rebeccah J, two of my favorite Vineyard jewelry makers whose pieces are great for layering, so you can never have too many.
Also, if you’ve got the kids with you, there’s face painting and great homemade things for them at Vineyard Mama. Don’t worry if you’re hungry or have those shopping munchies you can get baked goods from The Scottish Bakehouse, which are always delicious. You can even get a message for a minute or two to help make the experience even more enjoyable. There’s so many I can’t even list them all.
However, you’ll have to make sure to go this coming Tuesday, August 28th, since it is the last day of the Featherstone Flea for this season. If the little tidbits I mentioned aren’t tempting enough, I saw some “end of Summer” sale signs at some of the vendors. Happy flea market shopping, and I’ll most likely see you there!