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Holiday CraftMorristown returns to ArmoryBILL NUTT, CORRESPONDENT 12:03 a.m. EST December 12, 2014

Rich Feier of Budd Lake will display his wooden pieces at the 24th annual Holiday CraftMorristown, which will be held at the Morristown Armory through Dec. 14. Feier, who first took up woodworking as a serious hobby about 10 years ago, will be one of 165 artists and crafters whose work will be displayed at the show.

Rich Feier has always enjoyed working with wood. He would craft wooden ships that might take as long as two years to create.About a decade ago, Feier decided to branch out. “I ran an extension cord from my house to a little bitty lathe in a shed on my property (in the Budd Lake section of Mount Olive).” Working with that “little bitty lathe,” Feier began crafting larger and larger pieces, working his way up to wooden goblets, bowls and vases.

Though he insists he is “just a hobbyist,” Feier’s pieces will be on display this weekend at the Morristown Armory. The occasion: the 24th annual Holiday CraftMorristown show, promoted by Artrider Productions from Woodstock, New York. Feier will be one of 165 crafters and artisans from 20 states whose work will be shown between through Dec. 14.

“I’m thrilled to get in,” says Feier, who had previously displayed at two holiday shows and one spring show at the Armory. “The quality of the people there is fabulous, and to be surrounded by such talented people is nice recognition.”

The CraftMorristown show offers a wide range of items, according to Laura Kandel, assistant director of Artrider. In an e-mail, she writes that this year’s line-up includes glasswork, painting, sculpture, and wearable items.

“We have an extremely talented handful of contemporary quilt artists making everything from pot holders to table runners to king-sized bed quilts in unexpected colors and patterns,” Kandel writes.

“Being that it is December, scarves made from every textile and in every color will be shown,” she writes. “Visitors will also have the chance to make their own painted Shibumi scarf at our hands-on demonstration with Patricia DiSantis, a crowd favorite.”

In addition, the Potters’ Guild of New Jersey will have a major presence at Holiday CraftMorristown, Kandel writes. The Montville-based group will be holding demonstrations with clay throughout the weekend.

The opportunity to talk with the artisans is one of the appeals of the show, Feier says. “I enjoy meeting other artists. I feel a certain camaraderie with meeting creative people. It’s inspiring.”

Exposure at craft shows can also lead to more work, as Feier discovered a year ago. At the show, he was approached by representatives from the 2014 Super Bowl, which was held in New Jersey, to create a series of individual bottle stoppers.

Kandel says that attendance at the Armory shows sponsored by Artrider have remained consistently high over the past 24 years. Typically, the holiday show attracts about 5,000 over the weekend.

“I have to say that, throughout the challenging economic times, our following (has) remained loyal to the artists traveling from across the country to come and sell their work,” Kandel writes.

That loyalty also extends the crafters, Kandel adds. “The artists at the show are extremely discerning when choosing what shows to do, and one of the biggest factors is how supportive the community is of the arts.”

“Morristown and the surrounding areas have been extremely encouraging and have helped to sustain and maintain these astounding artists’ careers.”

The timing of Holiday CraftMorristown means that attendees will have the chance to buy holiday gifts that they know are American made. That “Made in the U.S.A.” aspect is especially appealing to an increasing number of consumers, Kandel comments.

“We have an amazing mix of artists in every media and category you can think of,” writes Kandel. “The show is going to beautiful again this year.”