Rain Desjardins of Camden creates and sells heavyweight hula hoops made from plastic water pipe and a variety of colored and glittery vinyl tape. At $25 each, said Desjardins, they’re a great form of exercise.

“It’s an easy way to create happiness in the world,” said Desjardins, one of dozens of artists selling creations Saturday at a craft fair at Scarborough High School.

And during the holiday season, for both artists and shoppers, that’s the idea. The sale, a benefit for Fiddlehead Center for the Arts in Scarborough, came at the closing days of the holiday sale season, and it was all about buying local and buying unique. From $1,500 glass necklaces to $5 handcrafted dish towels, the sale offered consumers an opportunity to buy truly one-of-a-kind items.

Scarborough’s Kendra Haskell started her children’s and women’s fleece and cotton clothing line, Whimsy, nine years ago. Haskell said she participates in a “few dozen” such sales each year.

“This has been the biggest year in terms of getting out there,” said Haskell, as shoppers pored over her vibrantly colored creations. “There’s a strong, growing customer demand for handcrafted work.”

There’s no comparison to mass-produced items, said Haskell. “It’s apples and oranges,” she said. “I think consumers are more conscious about what they buy.”

“There’s been a strong response” this season, said bookbinder Martha Kearsley, who owns Strong Arm Bindery in Portland.

Shopper Connie Dube of Scarborough, who bought some handmade soaps, agreed. “I’m looking for something different. I think people like receiving something handcrafted in Maine,” she said.

Artist Lisa Ferreira of Portland was shopping for the same reason. Herself a creator of “functional art used in everyday life,” Ferreira purchased felted scented soap from Blackbird Studio, priced at $10 per bar.

“It’s nice to buy from local artists,” she said.

Standish resident Phaedra Gallant said she came to the sale because her friend’s children are students at the Fiddlehead Center for the Arts facility. Like Ferreira, Gallant said she prefers to buy locally produced goods. “I’m planning to spend some money,” she said.

Stephanie Sersich, who makes glass-bead artwork in Portland, said sales like Saturday’s also offer variety.

“There’s a nice breadth of work here,” she said. “You know what they have at the mall,” she said. “Here, you never know what they might have.”

Craft fairs a win-win for artists, shoppersCraft fairs a win-win for artists, shoppers

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