Getting the mail each afternoon became a moment of dread for Susan Blubaugh after her daughter ordered a kit out of a catalog 25 years ago.
Blubaugh didn’t want to follow through on the art project at first. It looked messy and maybe a bit tedious, but after spending a few weeks making the Ukrainian Easter eggs known as Pysanky, she was hooked.
Pysanky eggs are made by using a hot wax pen called a kistka to inscribe intricate designs on drained eggshells. The word pysanky is the plural form of the Ukrainian verb “pysaty,” which means “to write.” Each egg takes about two to three hours to finish, according to Blubaugh, though it depends on the size of the eggshell and detail of the design.
The eggs were just one of the colorful items for sale at Blubaugh’s booth Saturday during the Mineral School Arts and Crafts Fair, which ran from Friday-Sunday inside the gymnasium of the historic school complex. Artists from across Lewis County and beyond descended on the small community in North Lewis County to showcase their work and make connections within the community.
“I don’t have any Ukrainian bloodlines,” Blubaugh said. “This is really the first art form I really stuck with, and one thing led to another. … I needed a way to express myself with all the scenery out here, which is where some of the other art and paintings came out of.”
Blubaugh had colorful coasters, clocks, and paintings of Pacific Northwest scenery for sale at the Mineral School. She moved to Morton four years ago from Indiana to be closer to her children and grandchildren. Other vendors displayed handmade creations ranging from colorful portraits to clothing and decorative items.
David Elliot and Katherine Blake sold products from Four Cedars Apiary, their business venture based out of Glenoma. They have 55 beehives there to supply honey, culinary varieties of which make up the bulk of their profits, though they also sell candles, soaps and other inedible wares. The duo hopes to soon open an online store as well as a brick-and-mortar outlet in Glenoma.
The art fair is made possible through a partnership with the owners of the Mineral School, which is used as a location for artist residencies throughout the year. The Mineral Lake Lions Club is in charge of operating the fair each year.
“It’s a great show that grew out of a holiday bazaar down at the church,” fair organizer Dora Hale said. We added a quilt show this year, which is great because there’s a story behind every single one of them. We want this to grow every year, to where we can fill out the gym and half the school, if they’ll let us. The backyard and everything, too.”