- Erin Merryweather is one of the regular artists at Deluxe Winter Market.
Saturday, local artists, crafters and business owners will gather at the 10th annual Deluxe Winter Market in downtown Oklahoma City, where shoppers will have the chance to peruse handmade goods and support a vibrant creative community.
The weekend following Thanksgiving is traditionally a hectic time in the retail world, but Deluxe Winter Market will feature around 70 local creators and a variety of products, aiming to be the only stop needed for shoppers to find all their holiday gifts. Admission is free, and the first 50 attendees in line get goodie bags.
Deluxe Winter Market began in 2008 as a craft fair by a group of Oklahoma-based Etsy sellers, including founders and artists J.D. McCoy and Sara Cowan.
Since then, McCoy has stepped down and the market has continued to grow and change. In 2013, Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership agreed to sponsor the event. In 2014, the market was included on a Buzzfeed list of the country’s top 35 craft fairs.
Now in its 10th year, the market has since moved to Leadership Square and is part of Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership’s Downtown in December holiday event series.
Several artists, including Sarah Day-Short, are participating in this year’s market for the first time. She creates colorful paintings on canvas, mixed media on wood and functional resin pieces like coasters and trays. She strives to create affordable custom pieces for those who might be intimidated by the art world.
“Black Friday is horrible, but Small Business Saturday is amazing!” Day-Short said via email. “I think OKC wants to support local businesses, and this gives them kind of a one-stop shop. Deluxe not only gives the people of OKC a place to shop for local gifts and art, but also brings artists and makers together. I’ve already connected with so many people and heard about other art opportunities!”
Day-Short will create handmade resin ornaments for sale exclusively at the market. They will come in star and circle shapes in various colors, complete with gold- or silver-leaf trim.
Another first-time artist is Skip Hill, who works in mixed media and creates rich, graphic, dreamlike works featuring various flora and fauna. Hill has lived all over the world but said he returned to Oklahoma seeking “connectedness.” He said he was collaborating with Cowan when she invited him to participate in the market.
“I’ve approached it like a pop-up gallery and a great chance for people who love it to collect some original Skip Hill art at a price that makes it possible,” Hill said via email. “It’s also a unique opportunity for shoppers to meet and support their local artists.”
Hill plans to bring several exclusive items to the market, including small mixed-media paintings on cigar boxes and painted handbags and leather bracelets.
Visitors will find more than art at the market. Another unique vendor participating for the first time this year is Green Tree Project, an Oklahoma City business that rents live Christmas trees for the holiday season.
Business owner Samantha Walker said she was inspired to start the rental service when one of her foster children was upset that their beloved Christmas tree ended up tossed on the curb. Walker realized a more sustainable idea would be to locally source live trees for rent.
The trees are delivered to customers in pots and then returned and tended the rest of the year to continue growing. After several years, customers can purchase or donate them for planting. There’s even a Grow with Me subscription, which allows customers to take a tree from sapling to fully grown.
The company is in its second year of operation. Walker said Deluxe Winter Market is an exciting opportunity for them, and she plans to have several examples of trees at the event. Reservations are currently open on Green Tree Project’s website. Varieties of tree include Leyland cypress and blue spruce.
“I think it’s important to celebrate local makers and people who are lifting up this idea that you can create something special and unique,” Walker said. “We don’t have to go to big-box stores. We don’t have to order things out of catalogs.”
- Deluxe Winter Market offers a variety of unique, handcrafted gifts.
There will also be photo opportunities at the event. Ry Dalee’s photography studio, The Cimarron Dove, joined the market for the first time last year and is returning again in 2018. He specializes in tintype and ambrotype photographs and has been running his business for about three years.
The photographic method Dalee uses is sometimes called Victorian Polaroid, and the process of capturing and developing the image on a plate is done completely by hand. It takes about 10 minutes.
Dalee said Deluxe Winter Market’s atmosphere is supportive and enthusiastic and there is a camaraderie between the artists and buyers.
“[Cowan] curates a really great group of people, and so everywhere you look, you’re going to be impressed with the handiwork of the people that are there,” Dalee said. “High levels of craftsmanship around every corner. She has such a diverse field of people; it’s really nice. We feel honored to be there.”
Dalee will be available to shoot customers’ portraits in various sizes the day of the market. Dalee said those interested should avoid wearing white clothing and instead opt for midtones or patterns. The portraits will be available at a special reduced price exclusive to the event.
The market is also kid-friendly. The Elf Market, which was introduced in 2015, is a special children-only area, where shoppers under 14 can shop for goods all marked $10 or less. Artists donate these items, and proceeds of Elf Market sales will benefit The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools.
The Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools will also set up a reading room at the market.
The event relies heavily on volunteer contributions for setup, artist check-in, visitor relations, cleanup and more. Volunteers are also involved in the event’s Elf Workshop, where additional handmade items are created for Elf Market.
Admission to Deluxe Winter Market is free.
For more information or to volunteer, visit deluxeok.net.