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AROUND THE GREEN: OUTSIDE THE BIG BOX

bazaar_baskets-2181913Silent auction gift baskets await inspection during the recent Holiday Bazaar at Christ Church in Shrewsbury. For those who missed it, there are many more craft shows, artisan fairs and gift boutiques going on around the greater Green this weekend.

There’s an open-house glimpse into the wondrous workshop of a leading Red Bank artist. Unique handcrafted gifts, unexpectedly encountered at a pair of county parks in Middletown. Floral arrangements in Shrewsbury; fine art pieces by the area’s best-known creatives in Little Silver. All around the villages and hamlets of the greater Red Bank Green, a dedicated core of neighbors seeks to combat the seasonal brainfreeze of “shopper’s block;” seeding inspiration for gift-givers who want to think outside the big-box store for the special ones on their list — and it’s all happening this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Just weeks after hosting her annual Art Show and Sale at Mudslingers Pottery, master potter Lauren Bellero takes part in a special Holiday Open House event this Friday, December 5. Between the hours of 3 to 9 pm, shoppers on a quest for something truly unique can visit 12 Oak Street in Lincroft to select from a display of the artist’s award winning pit-fired decorative creations (candle holders, vases, bowls and more) and glazed cookware — or visit the Mudslingers website to make an appointment.

Open for business at picturesque Poricy Park this weekend, the Nature Conservancy’s Holiday and Craft Shop offers up an array of locally sourced wood, pottery, crochet, fine art and home decor items, available for purchase between the hours of 11 am to 4 pm on December 5, 6 and 7. They’ll be doing it all again next weekend too, with shop hours on December 12, 13 and 14 — but there’s much more to see this weekend, with details around the bend.

Returning to The Presbyterian Church at Shrewsbury on Saturday, December 6, the annual Christmas Bazaar event offers up “jewelry and accessories, giftware and Christmas treasures, handmade crafts, holiday decorations, books, toys, fresh floral arrangements and baked and gourmet soups and goodies.” A soup-‘n-sandwich lunch is also on the menu — as are photo ops with Santa, and live holiday music, all from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Saturday morning also marks the appearance of the Holiday Shopping Extrvaganza (10 am to 3 pm) at Bayshore Middle School in the Leonardo section of Middletown — while the nearby Community Fire Company Station 4 hosts a Craft and Vendor Show on Sunday, from 11 am to 3 pm.

A collection of some of our favorite creative folk on the greater Green — including graphic artist/designer Mike Quon and animal photographer Kim Levin — takes part in the third annual Holiday Boutique at Little Silver Public Library this Saturday afternoon. They’ll be featuring their original works alongside Shore-inspired jewelry by Cabana 109, “Yankeegirl” art by Carol Bruno, “chain maille” designs from Jewelry by Lauren, pet treats from Doggie B’Dannas, and custom birdhouses by For the Birds — with crocheted items, mermaid art and a handmade quilt by Stephanie Keenan also on hand. Vendors will be donating a generous 20 percent of all proceeds from sales to the Library and its ongoing programs for the duration of the event, which runs from noon to 4 pm.

Going on both Saturday and Sunday at Thompson Park, the annual Student/ Instructor Show and Sale celebrates the original work produced at the Creative Arts Center building at the Monmouth County Parks System’s flagship facility in Lincroft. It’s an opportunity to “pick up the perfect gift or home accent piece…from small trinkets to pieces that will be treasured for years to come, items can be found for all budgets.” It’s cash or check only, with sale hours from 11 am to 5 pm on December 6, and from noon to 4 pm on December 7. Call (732)842-4000 to find out more about the Creative Arts Center’s year-round slate of classes in ceramics, pottery, jewelry, and painting.

The first Saturday night of the month is traditionally the date for the latest exhibit opening at Red Bank’s Art Alliance of Monmouth County — and when the borough-based artist collective hosts its opening reception for the 2014 edition of 100 Square Inches ( agroup show of small-scale works by Alliance members) on December 6, it will also kick off the second annual Artisan Show and Sale for the first of two shopping sessions. Featured artisans include Sheilagh Casey, Janet Ducote, Bev Hertler, Mary Leather, Colleen Lineberry, Leslie Marsh, Laura McHugh, Dana McKay, Sandy Roberts, Carolyn Roche, Katie Stone and Mil Wexler-Kobrinski — with handcrafted gift ideas that range from jewelry, ceramics and pottery, to fiber art and art wearables. Also on display during the reception (6 to 8 pm) will be the animal-themed paintings of featured window artist Betsey Regan, and refreshments will be served. The Artisan Show and Sale continues on Sunday, December 7 from 11 am to 5 pm.

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
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