HandMADE Montana, a business founded by Carol Lynn Lapotka, has two festive shows coming up: Helena Holiday MADE Fair, Nov. 23-24 at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds, and the Missoula Holiday MADE fair, Dec. 8 at the Adams Center. Both offer visitors an opportunity to shop for “handmade goods as an alternative to mass-produced items and support local and regional small craft businesses.”
The 400-plus artists who participate in the MADE fairs are all ages and work in a wide range of media. The common thread is their ability to offer a modern twist to time-honored crafts, from sewing, woodworking and soap-making, to jewelry, printmaking, photography and ceramics.
“It’s amazing, the artists I work with,” says Lapotka. “So many have gone from doing it as a little side hustle to really doing it full time. That’s pretty gratifying.”
She describes organizing some of the largest craft markets in the state as “a one-woman show with really strong sidekicks.” In particular, she mentions Missoula artist Courtney Blazon, who helps with marketing, communications and reaching out to sponsors.
Still, as Lapotka points out, “A show can only happen if you have artists who want to sell stuff and people who want to buy.”
Both converge in the handMADE markets. “We have a reputation for being lucrative for the artists, well organized and very well attended.”
More than 190 local artists and makers share a curated collection of that represents the best of the best from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 23 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 24 at the fairgrounds.
Building on the success of last year’s Helena event organizers once again showcase artisans and local non-profits, and offer activities, and delicious food and beverage options.
The Helena Holiday MADE fair will include free entry, free parking, and plenty of room to shop.
Free tote bags go to the first 50 people each day. Visitors are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to help support the local food bank.
The original MADE fair, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 8 at the University of Montana’s Adams Center, boasts more than 200 local artists and makers. The show was recently listed as one of the best in the U.S.
Shop all three levels of the Adams Center (balcony, arena floor and upper gyms) and discover new artists and visit favorites. The 13th annual Missoula Holiday MADE fair will include free entry, free parking, and plenty of room to shop. Miss the crowds and enjoy additional discounts during Happy Hours, 4-6 p.m.
Please bring a nonperishable food item to help support the local food bank, or beat the crowds and purchase a VIP passes for $10 that allows early entrance at 10 a.m. Proceeds from VIP ticket sales go to Hellgate Roller Derby.
For those who might miss the MADE fairs, Lapotka shares a sampling of the same wares at her handMADE Montana retail outlet, located at 212 Main Street in downtown Polson. The venue, which opened last summer, serves as regional headquarters for HandMADE Montana, with a curated collection of works by over 65 artists, and a fully visible production studio for Lapotka’s REcreate Designs/Grove Outdoors.