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Today: Gamble House Hosts ‘Handmade Holiday,’ Celebrating Local Artisans and Community

Published on Nov 25, 2023

The Gamble House will transform into a hub of creativity and community engagement when it hosts “Handmade Holiday: Museum Store Sunday” on Nov. 26, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors can immerse themselves in a curated shopping experience featuring local artisans, author signings, engaging demonstrations, and philanthropic endeavors.

This year’s event promises an array of activities catering to various interests. The schedule includes author signings by renowned writers such as Ann Scheid, Carolyn Thomas, David Kipen, Alex Vertikoff, and Marc Appleton, offering visitors the chance to acquire personalized and signed copies of their books.

Heather Marquez, Director of Retail Operations at the Gamble House Conservancy, said the event started as a response to the COVID pandemic. 

“We were looking for a way to celebrate Museum Store Sunday outside, and we had floated the idea of hosting a trunk show of sorts before. This came from that initial idea,” Marquez said. “A lot of the arts and crafts movement is focused on quality handmade work as opposed to items that are mass produced. So our event really just celebrates handcrafted items and people who make them.”

A highlight of the event will be a captivating paper flower demonstration led by docent Margaret Evans at 2 p.m., drawing inspiration from the intricate designs found within the Gamble House. Additionally, animal enthusiasts can find joy in the cat adoption event hosted by KittCrusaders, providing an opportunity for feline companions to find loving homes.

The selection process for local artists and exhibitors evolved over three years, transitioning from a casual approach to a more structured application process. Marquez emphasized the importance of handmade items that resonate with the Gamble House’s ethos and the arts and crafts movement while striving for diversity in offerings.

“We’re celebrating local makers and storytellers in the community,” Marquez said. “It provides visitors an opportunity to touch things, to ask questions, and to connect with the people who make these things, all on the grounds of the Gamble House, which makes a beautiful backdrop to the event.” 

The curated shopping experience will feature an eclectic mix of local artisans and exhibitors, including Keith Rust Illustration, SSV Gems & Pearls, James Mattson Coppercraft, Elizabeth Cohen California Art Pottery, Evan Chambers Objects, WM Craftworks, Point by Point Studio, Heidiroo, Arlington Garden, and Pasadena Heritage. Each vendor contributes to the celebration of handmade craftsmanship, aligning with the event’s emphasis on quality, uniqueness, and the arts and crafts movement.

A percentage of each sale will be donated to The Gamble House. Furthermore, Pasadena For All, an organization initially formed to distribute water during the heatwave in 2020 and now advocating for housing solutions for the homeless, will be collecting donations for the unhoused community. 

Donors will receive a discount in the bookstore, with desired items including new/lightly used clothing, tents, umbrellas, and other essentials.

The event will offer free gift wrapping for items purchased in the store, rounding out a day dedicated to celebrating craftsmanship, community, and giving back. Visitors are encouraged to explore the Gamble House’s scenic grounds while enjoying the diverse offerings and engaging activities available throughout the day.

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