The name Unique Boutique says it all really, and the 46th annual arts and crafts show returns this weekend at Calvert High School.
The show runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at the school at 520 Fox Run Blvd. in Prince Frederick.
“We have some amazing artists so we work hard to bring new and exciting people in each year, and I feel like we have a really nice selection of contemporary fine arts and crafts and very professional exhibitors,” Unique Boutique publicity liaison Parran Collery said when asked the reason behind the show’s lengthy run. “The other reason is that we are member-run, so we run the show, and because we care so much about it, I think we put our soul into it.”
Unique Boutique will feature products and items from the organization’s 35 members, almost all of whom live in the tri-county area. One artisan who will be making his show debut will be Brad Best of Bradley Best Woodworking in Owings.
“I’ve visited all the different shows in the area, and Unique Boutique stood out as one I’d like to do, so I applied and was accepted,” said the 39-year-old. “I’m very excited. It should be a good weekend.”
In 2012, Best was a pilot, and his wife was in the U.S. Coast Guard when the couple had to make a decision.
“We decided to have a child, so one of us had to stay home [with the baby], and I got to be the one,” Best said.
That rekindled a love of woodworking he developed back in high school. He improved his skills by attending the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine and has since built all the furniture in his house.
“I finally feel like the quality of my work is getting high enough and I’m starting to do my best woodworking,” Best said, referring in part to the furniture, lamps and bowls he constructs.
Best said the secret to woodworking is “a lot of patience and [the ability to] wear a lot of hats.”
He said he tries not to stain his pieces, and his favorite wood to work with is walnut, because “it’s very easy to work and a good, hard wood, but not as punishing on tools as oaks and hickories and when you get done with it, it has beautiful browns and purples and different hues going through the wood. Especially the air-dried walnut. It’s one of the most beautiful woods I’ve seen.”
Another first time artist at the show will be Huntingtown business owner Leila Mitchell of Naturally Silky Soaps.
“We’ve seen Unique Boutique signs all the time, and we often wondered what it would be like to participate there with all these very talented artists,” said Mitchell, who opened her business in 2014. “We’ve seen the work of some of them, and it’ll be nice to be in a show amongst all these talented artists.”
A former pharmacist, Mitchell left the business to focus on making vegan soaps and other products.
“Being in the pharmaceutical industry, you’re exposed to a lot of chemicals, a lot of formulations, and it’s basically just chemical cuisine,” Mitchell said. “Knowing the chemicals, we use to do experiments with and knowing what I know about those chemicals, it dawned on me one day that, ‘Hmm, this is not good.’ These are things we work on in the lab, so it’s not really good to put on our skin.”
Collery will also be at the show showcasing her ceramic tiles.
“I did lot ceramics in college, and after a lengthy search, I found a job with a company making tiles,” she said. “And that’s where I honed my craft.”
Each artist will donate at least one piece to be raffled off, with proceeds going toward Calvert Hospice.
For more information, go to www.uniqueboutique.com.