Annual Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair, a Hands-On Event

“The hands of Kendal” is how KaLex resident Ruth Tafel describes the Kendal Holiday Arts and Craft Fair she has helped organize since its inauguration in 2020. The Arts and Craft Fair is the brainchild of Ruth and fellow resident Nancy Epley. Together with residents Meg Stackpole, Jo McMurtry, and Dianne Herrick, and with the assistance of the Marketing Department, the Arts and Crafts Fair committee will once again host this signature event that features one-of-a-kind items hand-crafted by residents and staff. 

December 2 and 3, 2022, will mark the fair’s third year in Kendal Hall, and the buzz has already begun.

A Fair Is Born

Explaining that she and Nancy wanted an opportunity to showcase arts and crafts created by the KaLex family even before the pandemic, Ruth said Covid lit the fire on an idea that was never far from their minds.

“We sat in the Tutwiler Library and batted around the doldrums of being in Covid, and the Kendal Arts and Crafts Fair was born.”

Previously, the fair was open only to shoppers from the Kendal community and invited guests. However, this year it will be open to the masked and vaccinated public, giving the greater Lexington area community a chance to peruse unique holiday gifts and visit the lovely Kendal campus. (Exhibitors are restricted to staff and residents only.)

Closer and More Creative

“The fair allows us to become closer with our local community, and it gives us retirees an opportunity to be creative, useful, and hands-on,” said Ruth. It also allows them to be helpful, as this year, Ruth is joined by a team of four additional residents and one staff member in planning the event.

On the shopping table already are ornaments, jewelry, cookies, jellies and jams, quilted table runners and placemats, oil paintings, watercolors, pen and ink drawings, cards, wood crafts, and the woven handiwork of Ruth.

Hand-Crafted Treasures

“I have always loved color and had a great appreciation of things made with hands,” said Ruth, a former schoolteacher who began weaving 40 years ago when a neighbor introduced her to a weaving instructor, and “the rest is history.” Shoppers can look forward to an array of scarves, ruanas, purses, and vests.  

Also for purchase at the Arts and Crafts Fair will be the wooden creations of resident Jim Naylor. A retired engineer and lifelong woodworker, Jim primarily made strip canoes and furniture, much of which made the move to his residence at KaLex. He will showcase his beautiful hand-made bowls and air balloon carving boards for the fair.

“For the first 30 years, my workshop was in my basement,” remarked Jim, who has worked with cherry, maple, mahogany, oak, walnut, ash, and cedar woods. “After I retired, it was over the garage and, eventually, a separate building.” Today, Jim hones his craft in Kendal’s woodworking shop, using essential power tools.

“Many Kendal residents have continued their hobbies, and the Arts and Crafts Fair provides multiple opportunities for residents, visitors, and the entire Kendal community,” he said.

*Please note that unvaccinated event patrons must wear a mask.