Maker's Market starts for Pine Belt artists

Maker's Market starts for Pine Belt artists
Source: WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - You may want to add a new, pop-up market for Pine Belt artists to your Saturday schedule.

The first Downtown Hattie Maker's Market was held Saturday in Town Square Park.  The market, hosted by local artists Garrett and Melinda Shelton, is for any "makers" who want to share their artwork or skills in the community.

"This is a venue that is open to local artists and crafters," Shelton said.  "It gives them an opportunity to come out and show their product, demonstrate their skills and show the work that they do."

The Sheltons started their business, Grizzly Bear Leatherworks, about seven years ago.  Garrett Shelton said it all started with a photo album on his personal Facebook page.  Now, the couple attends local festivals, like Live at 5 and Spring Art Walk to share their work.

"There's not a lot of outlets for people like us, especially in downtown Hattiesburg," Shelton said.

The Sheltons said they were able to make the pop-up market a reality in about a month, with help from the Hattiesburg Arts Council and Made in Mississippi.

"This is about Hattiesburg, as a community," Shelton said.  "As an art community to be able to tell people 'hey, you have skill, you have talent, you can share that with us.'"

The "Maker's Market" is designed for artists and crafters around the Pine Belt to show and sell their work, demonstrate their work and inspire the future.

There were about 40 vendors at the first market Saturday, including chainsaw art demonstrations, homemade soaps, jewelry, stained glass and more.

Cannon Trawets, owner of Airship 67, said his group travels to dozens of showcases a year, but it's nice to have a local spot in Hattiesburg to share their art.

"It's wonderful, we've got friends down in New Orleans they vendor in the French Market almost every weekend," Trawets said.  "We were looking for something like that and nobody would touch it, so we are thankful to Grizzly Bear Leatherworks to start this."

The "Maker's Market" is a family friendly event, with food vendors, live music and face painting.  The Sheltons said the goal is to encourage children to see how Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.) can be used to make "beautiful works of art and functional crafts."

The University of Southern Miss Artist's Guild had a demonstration set up Saturday with the Iron Pouring Team.

"Whenever I was a kid, I didn't think I could be an artist, I didn't think there was all this opportunities," said Dee Helton, president of the USM Artist's Guild.  "The fact that we get to pour downtown in public is super great, we are loving it. We just want more people to see there are things to do."

It costs $20 to be a vendor at the market.  The Sheltons said some of that money will go to purchasing new tents, tables and supplies for future markets.  The couple wants to make sure artists who may have never sold their work don't have to worry about setting up a shop, but just showcasing their work.

"It's about opportunity and inspiration," the Sheltons said.  "We want to inspire our future, give them an opportunity - and that's what we're looking for."

The next "Downtown Hattie Maker's Market" will be Saturday, June 3 in Walthall Park.

For more information on how to become a vendor, email Garrett and Melinda Shelton at gbleatherworks@gmail.com.

You can also get more details about the "Downtown Hattie Maker's Market" on Facebook.