Sugarloaf Craft Festival

Kate Johnson reporting on the Sugar Loaf Festival – November 4, 5, 6, 2010 

We arrived around 11 AM and the show was not as crowded as vendors hoped. By the time we left at 2 PM, the vast space of the Oaks Expo building was filled, but not crowded. As we have seen so often this past year, some vendors seemed to be attracting people just fine, and others were idle.  This is an important point. It is sometimes difficult to look inviting and friendly when you are afraid that you may actually lose money in a show, but that deer in the headlights look, or the sour face I saw on one artist really sends people away.

I am new to this as a vendor, and the first thing that struck me was that the tables were taller. Mary Anna Barratt’s eletroformed, copper dipped and enameled leaves were displayed at waist height. She told me that she inserted dowels in the table legs to increase the height. 


Pretty Baby Naturals are the 3rd generation of soap makers, and the company involves 5 generations in all. They had a truck load of product, and I don’t mean a pick up truck. This shot does not begin to convey the many kinds of skincare products they had, but it does illustrate the humor with which they name and package their soaps. I fell for the Wise Guys soap because it was a wonderful marbled turquoise, and was truly fragrant with ginger and lime.  Jim Taylor, one of the three owners was generous with his time, chatting with me about their manufacturing process, and the differences in capabilities between cold process, and melt and pour, which is what I do. It was a nice conversation.


Nguyen’s Stitch Art was a knockout. These are hand done silk embroidery, and the hay stacks were densely stitched in concentric circles. Zowie. I have many embroidered things that I have done, but this is a whole different realm, and must be so labor intensive. 

Jerry Grant was a pip, in his kilt, and extroverted manner. He got my friend into one of his massive rockers in 5 seconds. You plop your feet on the fronts of the rocker rails, and presto, your back is pitched in a restful position. 

This Potpourri maker had a very large selection of visually beautiful mixtures.  I know that I picked up her card but I was so busy sniffing everything, that I have no idea where I put it. In the picture, to the immediate left of the gentleman’s hand, you will see the fragrance oils that they sold as restoring oils for when the potpourri loses its zip. Clever.

Kist Schwartzman of Vagabond Jewelry, crafted very nice bracelets, necklaces like the one she is wearing and some kicking masks like this copper one. She is very creative. 

Finally, the booth of the unexpected kind, but I loved, was the Survivor Firestarters, with magnesium and flint starters. Magnesium, I learned burns at 5,000 degrees, so by shaving off very small bits in a little pile, then striking the flint for a spark, you will get a reliable fire even with wet wood. As a camper, I was impressed. This is the item for a “go bag” if you have any survivalist people, or your favorite Navy Seal.

Kate Johnson of Mamoucha Soaps, is the daughter of a Dutch woman, and her mother and grandmother began teaching her crafts as soon as her hands were big enough, and she could say,”Show me how!” She is fascinated with combining color, fragrance, and shape all at once, and loves that she can pull her Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts training into it to do this. Mamoucha is a treasured name that her daughter gave to her.

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