In this month of holiday markets, designer and writer Nancy Lendved, the original owner of Frontier in downtown Athens, invites people to slip away from the usual market scene and join in her market A World Away in a natural woodsy setting behind her house in Winterville this Saturday.
"The concept of an event, a market bringing together local artists, vintage dealers, musicians and farmers, was something I'd never considered," she writes in her Facebook description of A World Away. "Then my design partner, James Askins, started plotting paths and clearing booth spaces in the woods. He ordered truckloads of gravel, and put up path lights he designed from felled cedars. He ran power and water to some of the booths, and before I even realized it, A World Away had been conceived."
Nancy and her friends are creating an artistic community where refurbishing is not only a concept, it's the basis of the structures housing Nancy and her neighbors. One house was cut apart and moved 30 miles from Elberton, while another (Senator Richard B. Russell's grandfather's law office) was moved from Winder. James, a carpenter and builder, rebuilt the toolshed, built the barn, and created pathway lighting and furniture - all from reused and recycled components. They plan to set up an amphitheater to host performances next year.
This Saturday, more than 20 vendors will sell their wares, such as wreaths, baked goods, art and vintage items. Artists and designers include Kenneth Kase jewelry, Leslie Snipes original art, Eric Goldstein tees, and Rachel Barber Sleppy textiles, as well as James' furniture and Nancy's collection of art and antiques.
And there's the Zack Wood Monster Maker art workshop.
"It's something I learned about in Japan," says Zack. "I'll interview participants for 10 minutes to learn what is stressing them out or troubling them, then draw those stressful themes in the form of a comical monster, to turn their worries into something manageable. The drawing part will take about 20 minutes, and when it's done, they can give it a name and take it home." He adds, "It's lighthearted and fun, not serious talk therapy."
His suggested donation is $5 - quite a bargain for monster laughter therapy.
Attendees are also encouraged to stroll down the path next door to pet alpacas and the miniature horse at Sweet Olive Farm animal rescue, who will receive a portion of the proceeds raised at A World Away.
"It's fenced and they can visit the animals, and probably feed them, too," says Nancy.
Several years ago, after "life happened," Nancy had to sell her house of 20 years where she raised her stepchildren, but she moved next door to stay close to home. For Nancy, the event is more than just a market for her artist friends.
"It's a way for me to stay connected to a place that meant so much to me. And to help my wonderful neighbors, Kat Howkins and Susan Pritchett (owners of Sweet Olive Farm) who helped me by buying my house," says Nancy.
"When I'm here, I feel like I'm a world away, but it's nine miles from downtown Athens," she says. "I feel like this market is a way I can give back a little bit by making - I hope - another successful venue for artists, growers and musicians. It's a world away, but it's with people I love, and there are a lot of people to love in Athens."
A World Away will be held this Saturday, December 8, from 10 AM to 6 PM at 835 Parkview Drive, Winterville GA (follow the signs). FREE.
Full disclosure: Nancy Lendved is a sometimes contributor to Athens Patch.