Most of the treasured objects in my house were made by people I know. I'm not an artist so I can't return the favor. The next best thing I can do, though, is to reciprocate with a gift made by someone who is an artist or fine craftsman.
This is one of the best times of the year to shop for such gifts. Every museum shop, art center and gallery is primed for the holidays.
That's true of Florida Craftsmen Gallery, which is loaded up for its holiday boutique. Even more to the point is CraftArt, its annual two-day juried show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday that takes place outside the gallery on Central Avenue and Fifth Street in St. Petersburg. Unlike the gallery, which represents fine craftsmen around Florida, CraftArt is open to national artists working in ceramics, jewelry, fiber, glass, wood, metal, paper and mixed media. This year, they total more than 100.
The free festival will have interactive things to do and to make, too. Weavers will bring their looms, you can dye your own scarf or etch glass. (You can make a creative gift even if you're not an artist.) The etching activity benefits Duncan McClellan's School Project and will be at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday. Food trucks and craft beer will add to the festivities. Florida Craftsmen Gallery, 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (727) 821-7391; floridacraftsmen.net.
Lennie Bennett, Times art critic