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Spring Has Sprung

2010 May 23
by shana

Mother Nature has a way of letting us know that Spring has arrived; to which Montanans typically respond to with excitement and… action. Colors brighten with lovely sunshine. The sound of Spring rustles through the new leaves, birds chirp, lawn mowers rumble, and sprinklers tsk tsk tsk, rattatat tat  tat  tat  tat….

Everything wakes up and comes alive. The landscape buzzes with liveliness and excitement. Downtown Missoula, Montana is no exception. Last weekend was already the third weekend into the market season, and all three Saturday markets were in full swing. It also happened to be graduation weekend for the University of Montana. Caras Park was alive with the Garden City Localfest in conjunction with the 12th Annual Best in the West freestyle kayak competition at Brennan’s Wave on the Clark Fork River. The Light Show, a fundraiser for Living Art of Montana, was that evening. You can tell when it is Spring… when the streets and parks are a’ buzz with market-goers, music-lovers, and sun-seekers.

The walk downtown Saturday morning was quiet and peaceful. The streets were nearly abandoned… until I reached North Higgins. When I turned the corner, it was as though I walked into another dimension full of people and activity; people walking from one market to another, musicians playing on the streets, businesses with people flowing in and out of the doors. Here is a sampling of what was at the art & craft market:

Jessi Rae Wine Designs –  Jessi Eaton re-purposes empty wine bottles into cheeseboards and serving dishes. They make great gifts and she even does custom orders with bottles from special occasions.

Kochel Apiaries – Sean Kochel, a jack of many trades, sells honey, candles, custom built furniture, cigar box guitars, and also guitars, ukuleles, amps, and stomp boxes from other reclaimed materials. He also had his wet plate photography on display. A must stop at the market!

REcreate designs – Carol Lynn is a proud new momma and maker of many things. She makes wildly popular skirts from t-shirts, has recently added baby and toddler clothes, and makes very cool books made out of re-purposed materials. She also is one of the driving forces behind the Missoula Made Fair which will be happening the last weekend in June. (Mark your calendars!)

Wild Hare Photos – Hobie Hare has an immense sense of love and respect for nature, and expresses that not only in his photography and writing, but also in his desire to share the beauty and wonders of nature with others.

Gypsy Moon Designs – I do not know Julie Burns, but she seems like a lovely gypsy soul. Her jewelry is colorful, nostalgic, and romantic. I had my eye on a pair on the rack on the inset…

Dave Wilcox lives part of the year near Missoula and was at the market before he heads out of state for the summer. He had wood carvings and painted boards with fish and birds on display, and even sold a Christmas themed bird painting as I was taking photos.

Vinoture – “Furniture of the Barrel”… Furniture made from recycled wine barrels. These pieces are beautiful and… well you really just need to go see them in person to truly appreciate them!

Gem&Eye Designs – Heather Vincent not only makes the jewelry she sells, but makes creative and useful places to store your jewelry… and she makes them from recycled materials. (Also, I love the clever use of wordplay in her business name.)

Steve Thorstenson was selling his stonewear birds and birdbaths – a great addition to any home or garden.

Starry Knight Designs – Melanie Knight makes eco-friendly handmade leather goods. She makes slippers and moccasins for infants to adults. There are many fun designs and colors to choose from like the ones pictured above.

Into The Sun Designs – Tatiana Gallardo and Christina Welch make these bracelets made out of old leather belts. They are very hip and there are many shades and patterns to choose from.

David E Coy is a regular presence at the market where he sells jewelry. However, during our short visit he began telling me about his experiences with animals… so we may be hearing more from David E Coy in the future…

There are many more things to see at the Saturday Market. If you find yourself in Missoula in the summer time be sure to spend your Saturday morning at the markets to get a taste of the rich local flavor!

After the Saturday Market I walked down to Caras Park where the Garden City LocalFest and the 12th Annual Best In The West freestyle kayak competition had already begun. The festival is presented by the Sustainable Business Council as a way of “Celebrating the SOUL of Missoula” by showcasing local businesses and talent such as:

creativity – Sarah Clark describes her cards as sassy, witty, and snarky to name just a few. One thing for sure is that they are clever and unique! Cards that will make you smile, laugh, or even help you convey a message that you wouldn’t otherwise have the nerve to say without the help of a cleverly designed card.

Sotto Voce – Flannery Anderson has a lovely little shop downtown that sells clothing, jewelry, and accessories. Not only can you find beautiful and unique clothing, but she also carries local and regional products.

Heritage Timber – “Building deconstruction and reclaimed materials since 1994”

12th Annual Best In The West freestyle competition at Brennan’s Wave on the Clark Fork River.

I was only able to spend a little time at LocalFest before I had to head home to get ready for “The Light Show” a fundraiser for Living Art of Montana. The theme was Hollywood Glamour, so I took advantage of the rare opportunity to get dressed up. I had created a mirror for the fundraiser which was in the silent auction. I am hoping to do an interview with one of the ladies from Living Art of Montana in the near future so I will wait to post about The Light Show until then.

More photos from the day, Missoula, and the events can be seen on Flickr. (Also, I will mention that I think I will be breaking up posts into smaller chunks in the future – or at least posting events separately.)

Dandelions…. another sure sign of Spring…

“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. May 24, 2010

    Wonderful blog post! You really captured the flavored of downtown Missoula on a Saturday.

    Thanks for including Gypsy Moon Designs!

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