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Local artists find community through Handmade Harvest

Local artists find community through Handmade Harvest

Local artists find community through Handmade Harvest
September 21
11:45 2019

Lovers of all things local can mark their calendars for Nov. 2, as The DIME Store will be hosting their annual Handmade Harvest event at the Denton Convention Center. At this event, local handmade item makers have the opportunity to sell their work to a large market of people.

The DIME Store is a local business in Denton that consists of handmade items to support and encourage local artists. The store has been on Denton Square since April 2013 and has grown since its start.

The Handmade Harvest is an annual festival that the DIME Store puts on to exhibit new work from already established artists and expose new artists to the Denton community. This year is the 10th Handmade Harvest, so those in charge are looking to make this year especially remarkable.

The convention was formed 10 years ago by two Denton women that got to know each other through creative mixers hosted by a City Council member. They felt a call to action to support creativity in Denton.

Marissa Castilleja, The DIME Store manager and Denton resident, said she looks forward to Handmade Harvest every year because it is like a family reunion. She loves seeing everyone that she has known for years, as well as meeting new people.

To sell items in Handmade Harvest, makers have to apply in August, then go through a screening process by The DIME Store staff to narrow down the selection and decide who will be featured at the festival. 

The leaders of Handmade Harvest want to foster an environment that allows the buyer to meet the creator of their product face-to-face. 

“A mission of the Handmade Harvest is we’re trying to connect the maker to the customer,” Castilleja said. “In our world full of automated things and technology, the personal side of consumerism has been taken away.”

Over the last decade, Handmade Harvest has grown in ways that The DIME Store owner never expected. 

Owner Shelley Christner sits at The DIME Store. Christner opened The DIME store in 2013 after three years of hosting Handmade Harvest Festivals at her Denton home. Image by Kare Gray

“Considering it started as a casual barn sale at my home with 14 makers, to growing to fill a large ballroom at the Denton Convention Center with 54 makers, I’d say that is quite a development,” The DIME Store owner and Denton resident Shelley Christner said. “I have also seen it become one of Denton’s favorite shopping events– the turnout has grown from a couple hundred to nearly 2,000 people.” 

There will be many creators at Handmade Harvest displaying their products for sale. One company is called Handmade Recycled, run by owner and Denton resident Starfire Mountain. Handmade Recycled uses recycled glass and wood to create useful products in a sustainable way.

“My wife and I started [Handmade Recycled] as a way to make gifts for friends for the holidays,” Mountain said. “Everything we sell is handmade from materials that would normally get thrown in the trash.”

Handmade Recycled will be selling a variety of products, such as lamps, back scratchers, wooden cutlery and glasses. 

Another business that will be selling its products in the Handmade Harvest is called Landry Print Co., run by Denton resident and owner Jude Landry. Landry Print Co. is a locally-run screen printing company that makes T-shirts. 

“I studied graphic design and have always been into art, and I learned screen printing in college through a course that I took,” Landry said. “I worked a few summer jobs for a screen printing company and got introduced to screen printing that way. Eventually, I learned how to sell it so I could make some money.”

Landry said that local handmade artists are important to the community in order to maintain Denton culture. Denton is a unique town, he said, so it’s interesting to reflect on what everyone has to offer.

“It is important to have local artists because there are always people doing great things, you just have to find it in the community,” Landry said. “Those people contribute to your local culture, so you want to support them.”

Aside from Handmade Harvest, The DIME Store hosts workshops and events in-store year-round to encourage all locals to immerse themselves in art. In The DIME Store, students can receive a 10 percent discount with a school ID.

Tickets have recently become available for purchase on The DIME Store’s website or in-store, and the event is slightly over one month away. The team at The DIME Store has been working to get this event put together for the guests.

“[People going to the festival] can expect lots of energy,” said Castilleja. “It’s a really inspiring environment. This is our 10th year, so we are going to make it big.”

Featured Image: The DIME Shop is home to many handcrafted decorations, scents, and clothing from local Denton residents. Image by Kare Gray

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Maria Lawson

Maria Lawson

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