If you’ve ever had the opportunity to walk through the doors of Shipwreck Beads then you know that the aisles are filled with every great crafter’s dream. A 22,000-square-foot showroom of ideas just waiting for someone to browse the aisles, pick up one-of-a-kind supplies, and make something unique. Those hand-made products are the reason behind the annual Shipwreck Beads Artisan Market on August 26. It’s a showcase for these talented artists to display their amazing creations to the community.
The annual market started due to a need in our area for local artists to have a place to display their work. “We started our first market in 2013,” explains Shipwreck Beads designer, Kelsy Vincent. “We had been approached by another beading society for a trunk show and we thought, ‘Why don’t we do a market?’ We started our business selling beads out of a van so we wanted to go back to our roots of going to bead shows by putting on our own. I’ve been a part of the planning since that first year. We started with some local vendors focused on hand-made items and now we’ve grown to represent artists from all over the region.”
Part of that growth has been making a new partnership with Joint Base Lewis McChord’s (JBLM) newspaper, The Ranger. “They approached us initially because they had been doing a food festival for some time closer to base and were looking to join forces. We saw it as a great opportunity to expand our audience. We have such a huge population of military families and are always looking for ways to give back. By partnering with The Ranger, we are able to build this event for those families. We want as many people as possible to come down and enjoy the event.”
With this new partnership is considerable growth to the already popular event. “We are thankful to have a shuttle, sponsored by Red Wind Casino, running every 15 minutes from the Hawks Prairie Park & Ride as it can be pretty hectic. We expect twice as many attendees this year as last year. This year, in addition to our 80+ artisans, there is going to be 50 local businesses handing out swag and giving information out to the community. We’ve also added a food truck alley featuring Latin street food and BBQ. For the adults, we will have our first beer garden with an inflatable pub serving Tacoma’s Wingman Brewers and Tilted Tree Cider, and Lacey’s own Top Rung Brewing and Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs.”
Along with the food and drinks for the adults, there will be plenty of activities for the kids, too. “We will have a bounce house for kids,” describes Vincent. “We will also have a splash tank, live music, games and what is supposed to be an amazing Polynesian dance show. The Hands On Children’s Museum will also be there doing fun activities for kids. Our entire parking lot will be full of fun for all ages along with the market of artisans.”
With more than 80 artisans displaying their work, shopping may be the biggest attraction of all. “Our vendors are all hand-crafted artisans,” says Vincent. Their work is unique. We have vendors that will be selling leatherwork, soaps, stained glass, gourmet chocolates, jewelry. We even have a pickle vendor. They are one of my favorites! It’s really just a wide array of artists from our area participating. We want to encourage people to come out and try to do a show. We thought it was important to give that opportunity to our customers.”
Along with each vendor comes a story behind their work. “When you make something, you put that creativity, love, and energy into that item. When you buy that item, you get some of that energy. As a consumer, the market is a unique buying experience. You are supporting someone’s hobby or passion. I like knowing that no one else is going to have the exact same item. It’s a one of a kind experience. We want to encourage other people to do handmade.”
The Artisan Market is not only free but it’s intended to be for everyone in our community. “You don’t have to be a beader,” explains Vincent. “We want the whole community to feel welcome. You get to support locally hand made products and leave inspired.”
The Shipwreck Beads Artisan Market runs from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday August 26, 2017. A shuttle will run every 15 minutes from the Hawks Prairie Park & Ride. Entrance to the market is free.