Selling their wares

MARSHALL -?A variety of items were available at the annual Southwest Minnesota State University Crafts Fair on Saturday.

“This is our fifth year,” said Don Robertson, director of International Student Services. “We thought it would be a great opportunity for international students to sell things from their home countries and also local vendors. There really isn’t anything of this kind happening this time of year elsewhere.”

Vendors included the SMSU Culinology Club demonstrating how to use food and wine byproducts to make vinegars.

“We took the wine we made we couldn’t use, put it in a blender to aerate it, watered it down, added a mother culture that eats the alcohol and converts it to vinegar,” said club member Erin Badzinski.

Club members also made soaps from cooking fat and jams from wine making byproducts, according to Madeline Hentges, secretary of the club.

Local artist Sima Wewetzer, who usually works in painting and sculpture, took the opportunity presented by the craft fair to display her new line of jewelry.

Ann Mason from Springfield brought a line of devotional wood carvings from Bethlehem.

“These are all made of olive wood trimmings from the trees,” Mason said. “They’re made by friends of mine from an extended Christian family in Bethlehem. Only two percent of the population of Bethlehem are Christians now.”

This was Mason’s first time to attend the craft market after an SMSU professor saw her collection and extended an invitation.

Charlotte Harris-Hoffstrom was selling a few items made by her mother Marina Hoffstrom, who was visiting from Finland.

“These are my mother’s homemade jams and hand-crocheted Christmas decorations,” Harris-Hoffstrom said. “My parents come from Finland, but we lived in Maine for 10 years. My mother was visiting us, so I said, ‘Hey, let’s go to the crafts fair. Cook some jelly.'”

Marina Hoffstrom ran a business in Maine for several years until a family emergency took her back to Finland.

“We started making specialty food in Maine in the ’90s,” Hoffstrom said, “jams, jellies, mustards and condiments. Then we had to return, so we started over again selling spicy foods.”

Pat Brace from Tracy brought her specialty jewelry.

“It’s all handmade using beads I’ve purchased on my travels all over the world,” Brace said. “This one is made from Venetian glass.”

Brace also buys loads of costume jewelry at estate sales, takes it apart and recombines it in unique patterns.

All told, there were about 50 vendors, said Robertson.