The First UU Handcrafted Bazaar has come far. Now in its 11th year, it features 35 local artists who create fiber arts, woodwork, paintings, crochet items, recycled art, pottery, clothing and other unique items. The bazaar will be held outdoors at the First UU Church from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 3.

When she started the Bazaar, founder Melissa Eggler had recently joined the First Unitarian Universalist Church’s congregation. Since then, she’s been hired as the coordinator of congregational life. She feels that the handcrafted items that she and others create for the bazaar have a sacred quality to them.

“In each item we create, we are releasing a part of our innermost places,” she said. “When you look at our art, you see our mind, heart, tears, fear and souls.”

The bazaar is usually held indoors in December, but it was moved outside this year to make it a safer event during the pandemic. Eggler said many local artists, like other small businesses, have been hit hard by the pandemic. “Showing up to support local artists shows that you care about supporting our community,” she added.

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The market will also feature food from the Taco Lab Truck, Bleu Duck Truck, Dunn Brothers Coffee and Carroll’s Corn.

Mandalas by Melissa Eggler for the Bazaar, contributed photo
Mandalas by Melissa Eggler for the Bazaar, contributed photo

Why did you choose to hold the bazaar despite the challenges of the pandemic?

The main focus of the UU Handcrafted Bazaar is to celebrate the creativity of the community, and honor our local artists. Holding this event now is a reminder that art matters, and even though the world was shut down, artists were still creating beauty, despite the hardships surrounding us. This is the first show that many have had the opportunity to do this year because of the pandemic. We are grateful that we can gather together in a safe way to honor these artists.

This year, the bazaar’s earlier date makes shopping for fall holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving possible. What fall holiday items will be sold at the bazaar?

It is wonderful that we can include these holidays into the handcrafted bazaar this year. Artist Tarah Regan Anderson creates beautiful stitched hoops with many different themes, including fall colors in trees and leaves. Sarina Feddersen makes whimsical gnomes and witches out of recycled sweaters and other materials, and baker Robin Hozle, owner of Sugar Shuga I Am Your Cookie Girl, will be taking holiday orders for her amazing Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas cookies.

Embroidery by Tarah Regan Anderson, contributed photo
Embroidery by Tarah Regan Anderson, contributed photo

What other safety precautions are you putting into place?

Aside from masks being required (we will give you one if you need), we will provide a handwashing station, hand sanitizer, encourage social distancing, and will have mobile restroom facilities, which will be accessible by those with limited mobility.

Our artisans' booths will be distanced at least 10 feet apart, and we will suggest that only one family, or two people, be inside the booth at any time. We will have a controlled entrance area, where we will welcome you and guide groups of 10 people in opposite directions to help control the flow of traffic. All artists are encouraged to have hand sanitizer in their booths and take precautions when exchanging money. Many shoppers have already placed early orders that will be ready upon arrival.

Melissa Eggler, contributed photo
Melissa Eggler, contributed photo

Related: 507 Featured Artist: Melissa Eggler

Beside organizing the bazaar, you create art for it. Can you describe what you're making?

All of the items I create are made from recycled or reclaimed materials. I love to create colorful mandalas (this is a therapeutic practice for me) from scraps of yarn, and through the last few years, I've found so much joy in searching for and creating with local sea glass. Sea glass (also called lake or beach glass) is glass that is decades old that has been tumbled and frosted by the water in our rivers and lakes (including Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Pepin). I have created wind chimes, mobiles, rings and pendants from these pieces. I feel that they are nature’s ultimate recycled creation.

If you go

What: First UU Handcrafted Bazaar

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3 (rain date Oct. 10)

Where: First Unitarian Universalist Church parking lot, 1727 Walden Lane SW, Rochester

Cost: Free to enter, bring cash for purchases.

You can find the following vendors at the First UU Handcrafted Bazaar: Eric Eggler, Random Scraps; Jennie Brass, Foxy's Art Box; Jennifer Jesseph; Cindy Senjem, C&C Creations; Stephanie Kuglin, Hilltop Clay; Terri Allred, Third Eye; Jes Peterson, Hysteria Coaster Co.; Christy Hyke, MN Out Loud; Susan M Nielsen, artist; Sandy MacLaughlin, Hawthorne Helps; Denise Flynn, Wearable Art By Denise; Mary MURL, artist; Chris Nibbe, Sweet Corn Brooms; Robin Hoelzle, Sugar Shuga Cookies; Amarama Vercnocke, Amarama Art; Gary Klein, artist; Sarina Feddersen, artist; Amrita Prakaashana, Artria Jewelry; Chantelle Feddersen & Autumn Harff, Hound Dog & Alley Cat; Sheila Perry, Sheila Perry Watercolor; Julie Moenck, Rescued Treasures; Susan Kosharek, Muze Zing; Tarah Regan Anderson, Fox Knoll Co.; Vannavanessa Passe, Lavender's Space; Kennedy Rothe, artist; Margaret McDonah, artist; Trevor Sim, artist; Lisa Hampl Hughes, Rusty Nail; Lisa Janet, Great Soap Company; Jessica Taylor, Pottery by Jessica; Sally Caron, Little Flicka Handmades; Darrel Waters, fiber artist; Melissa Eggler, Don't Judge A Book Recycled Creations; Catherine Houghtaling, Inspired by Acrylics; Deb Miller, She Rides Designs; and the First UU Booth.