The Bowdoinham Guild of Artisans Holiday Show that concluded over the weekend received an overwhelming response this year.

The six-day event promoted the local artisans’ work, including pottery, jewelry, woodworking, stained glass, paintings, fine art photos and fiber arts.

With attendance of more than 530 visitors and over $34,000 sales, the Bowdoinham Guild of Artisans President Lynn Sternfels said this was the best year they have had so far in the last 17 years.

“We often look at money as a measure of success, and certainly our sales were more than they had been in the past, but I prefer to judge our success on the spirit of the show,” said Sternfels. “I want to focus on the positive and wonderful attitude of people visiting and great creativity and teamwork of the artists.”

Durable hand-made rope baskets made by guild member Gallit Cavendish. The baskets are made using 100% cotton rope. Lynn Sternfels.

About 24 artists, including guest artists, participated in the show.

The show returned this year after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19. This year, the show was held on two weekends for the first time. Usually, it is held only on the first weekend of December.

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“Having missed a year and having had a lot of shows canceled, we were positive about making a show that would be safe for people,” said Sternfels. “We always had great community support not just locally but from outside as well who wanted to come and support the artists and the show.”

The Bowdoinham Public Library officials, who sold items made from old library books, Christmas tree ornaments made from paper, and blank notebooks as the library fundraiser, were able to raise nearly $2,000.

Brooke Knippa, a self-taught pottery artist’s ceramic coffee mugs with miniature painted animal sculptures, was a huge hit among the visitors. She said her sales had almost tripled this year compared to the previous years. However, she declined to say how much she made in sales.

“My work has changed a lot since the last sale that we had. I started making little votive holders where you can put little tea lights in them, so I received a lot of orders for those,” said Knippa. “My mugs with animal inset in them was by far the most popular thing for me that I sold.”

Knippa added that many people also showed up because she spent a lot of time marketing online.

Bowdoinham Guild of Artisans was started in 2004 by five local artists looking to promote their art. Over the years, other artists joined them, and although there are only one of the original members still in the Guild, there are currently 20 members.

After seeing this year’s good turnout, Sternfels said they would consider hosting the show for extended hours next year as well.

“I think it is a lot more work, but we would certainly consider it,” said Sternfels. “For example, on Wednesday, we did not have many people attend, partially because of the weather and also because it is a weekday, but people who came were thankful because it was less crowded.”

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