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Local artisans’ work featured in Yuletide show at the MAC

Patti Reiko Osebold is fascinated by paper’s versatility and texture, its beauty and simplicity.

“It started with the crane, my first paper crane,” she said. “It inspired me.”

The local artist makes origami jewelry and cards, as well as dolls out of Japanese paper and sculpted clay. She was one of many artists featured at Yuletide at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture on Thursday through Saturday.

Through her work she shares a piece of Japanese culture, a tradition dating back thousands of years and a part of her own heritage.

“As I was growing older, I wanted to dig deeper into Japanese culture,” she said. “I like to educate the public about Japanese culture when I can. To me, that’s the most important thing. And I just have fun doing it. I enjoy origami.”

Jodi Davis, Spokane Art School office manager, said the school has partnered with the MAC for the show for the last three years. The art school had held the show in some form for about 30 years before it closed its doors in 2008. However, a small group of volunteers banded together to keep the show going.

“It was a tradition that we didn’t want to see die, that we wanted to continue,” Davis said. “This is about … our presence in the community and showcasing local artists.”

She said the show is a mutually beneficial partnership between the museum and the art school, which recently reincorporated as a nonprofit institution.

“It brings people in,” she said. “What a beautiful location. You have people coming through, and they get to see these beautiful exhibits and then get to meet local artists.”

The show highlights area artists, she said, and the quality of the work at the juried show is a big draw for customers. Booth fees for Yuletide at the MAC are lower than many other shows, and organizers don’t take any commission from the artists.

“All the artists here are local,” she said. “We like to showcase local talent. Most of the artists here have years and years of not just experience, but teaching as well. There are some amazing artists. They really know their craft inside and out. They are real artisans.”

She added, “I think there’s a lot of focus the last couple years on buying locally.”

Custer’s Christmas Arts & Crafts Show, which includes 300 crafters from around the nation, also takes place in Spokane this weekend, but Inland Craft, an annual sale and exhibition of fine contemporary crafts, announced its closure in January after 29 years.

Each show filled a different niche in the world of arts and crafts shows, but the end of Inland Craft left a hole that Kathleen Hubbard, who makes handcrafted mixed-media jewelry and art, hopes someone will fill.

“It was just so well put on,” said Hubbard, who sold her goods at the Yuletide show. “It had a reputation. I hope that somebody will pick something up and go for it.”