Joan and Paul Eldridge will be among the vendors displaying and selling their crafts at Fairview’s annual Silver Bells craft bazaar Saturday.
The couple began making decorative metal work 20 years ago after a family trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota. Joan saw ornate metal signs hanging over driveways and thought it would be fun to try making them herself. “Lots of frustration, tools and equipment later, the product became perfected,” Joan said.
Joan and Paul make steel signs that can be displayed outdoors on front lawns or driveways, They also make tables, coat hangers, three-dimensional flowers and wildlife silhouettes out of steel. They work as a team, with Joan designing the patterns and tracing them on the steel, while Paul takes care of the cutting and welding.
“I’ve always putsied around with crafts,” Joan said. “It’s a hobby.”
The Silver Bells craft bazaar will wrap up a hectic holiday season for the Eldridges, who travel to craft shows all over Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, typically traveling to 12 to 14 shows a year, giving Joan the opportunity to admire the many other crafts for sale at the shows. “Some days I go home with more than I sold,” she said. “We’ve gotten to be really good friends with some of the people in the different towns.”
Joan is helping coordinate the Silver Bells craft show, which is sponsored by the Fairview chamber. “We have two buildings of wonderful, awesome things,” she said.
Sixty spaces are already reserved in the old Fairview High School gym and the school cafeteria, she said.
Among the items that will be for sale are jewelry made from recycled materials, hand-knitted and crocheted items, hand-sewn children’s clothes, greeting cards, wreaths, ceramic silver bell ornaments, quilts, blankets, beaded jewelry, baked goods, candles, metal work and diamond willow art. Visitors can enter drawings for door prizes donated by the vendors, she said.