Fall is harvest time, and accordingly, Bellingham Farmers Market stands are overflowing with braising greens, winter squash and apples. It’s so rewarding to buy ingredients for homemade comfort food directly from the farmer. And you can get the same feeling by choosing handmade-in-the-PNW goods for yourself or for giving—directly from the artist or crafter.
Regardless of the weather outside, you can stroll throughout the covered open-air canopy of the Depot Market Square in comfort, while perusing the goods, trying on hats and chatting up the talented crafters. Grab a coffee and a cookie (like I did) and discover the treasures awaiting you every Saturday through December 20th.
JessePrints are sold from a portable art cart under a red-and-white umbrella. Jesse Larsen wheels her cart from her studio across the street to the market each Saturday. She draws illustrations, carves the image into rubber and then hand-pulls prints. Each is matched with an appropriate saying to become a card, calendar or magnet. She also repurposes pages from old books to print pictures, suitable for framing and hanging wherever you need a little inspiration. Birds, plants, ordinary objects and dogs are popular subjects, but Jesse says she can’t draw anything she doesn’t love first.
Margotbianca is all about the batik. She creates and sells beautiful napkins, tea towels, bandanas, table runners and printed fabrics from linen, cotton and flour sacks. The batik process begins with a copper stamp, which is dipped in hot wax and stamped all over the undyed fabric to create a pattern. The fabric is submerged into dye for 24 hours and then boiled to melt the wax, which floats to the top and is reused. The areas that were stamped remain white, while the rest of the fabric is a gorgeous shade of rich color, such as red, rust, brown, yellow, green or blue.
The next booth I visited was Sown Designs, which was chock full of leather goods, made from 100% reclaimed leather. Here, you’ll find a large selection of jewelry, like reversible necklaces and wrist cuffs and earrings, as well as wallets, cardholders and other necessities.
For eight years, Moth and Squirrel has been selling stylin’ hats, huggable toys, and one-of-a-kind pins and hair clips—and here, there is truly something for everyone. Artist Libby Chenault utilizes recycled fabrics, like fuzzy cashmere sweaters and cotton shirts in her creations. The toys are filled with a renewable, non-polyester stuffing made from corn, which is good for the earth and the babies!
At the Umbilicus Designs booth, feast your eyes on the nature-inspired handcrafted jewelry created by metalsmith Ryan Albachten. Ryan is into things like seeds, bones and shells, as well as gemstones of all kinds. Where else can you find a wishbone necklace or a crab claw pendant? Her earrings, bracelets, keychains, rings and ahhhh-mazing necklaces are beautifully displayed (try not to drool) and made from copper, silver, gold and brass. I have a pair of her earrings (just the start of my collection) and they never fail to draw compliments.
At Red Boots Design, artist Erin Boyd makes screen-printed shirts, hoodies, tops and bottoms, as well as functional art, like bottle openers and coat hangers. Fun designs range from a heart-belching dinosaur and classic Bellingham bicycles to rockets and yes, Lionel Richie’s head. My new nieces and nephews are always welcomed into the world with a Red Boots onesie, hat or tiny hooded sweatshirt—cute things you just cannot find anywhere else.
My next stop was McDowell Pottery. Michael McDowell has been making pottery in Whatcom County for 40+ years. A variety of glazes, each made with Mt. St. Helens Volcanic Ash, add beauty to functional objects like cabinet knobs, bowls, magnets, butter keepers and crocks.
At Earthenhome’s booth, I found natural body care and cleaning products. Mouthwash, lotions, tooth powder and body sprays contain essential oils instead of chemicals. Dishwasher soap and laundry powders are made from borax, baking soda, salt and essential oils. I’ve always heard one could make her own laundry detergent, but never felt compelled to do it—and now I don’t have to, because Sarah Klein is doing it for me. I win! And so can you.
The Bellingham Farmers Market is a bustling place year round, but I love the slower pace the cool weather brings. There is plenty of elbow room, so you can walk around at a leisurely pace, take in all the beautiful goods our talented craftspeople have made for us, and learn what makes each item so special. The market is open every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. through Christmas, rain or shine—and the Depot Market Square keeps everyone warm and dry, no matter what Mother Nature has in mind. Come check it out to meet these wonderful vendors, and many, many more!
Bellingham Farmers Market
Depot Market Square, 1100 Railroad Avenue Bellingham, WA 98225