Find Booth E-06 on the north side of Ketring Park to meet MJ Butler of Highlands Ranch and her “Open Range Art Dolls,” which really are …
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Find Booth E-06 on the north side of Ketring Park to meet MJ Butler of Highlands Ranch and her “Open Range Art Dolls,” which really are sculptural in quality and style.
She is one of about 300 artists who will display and sell their original creations at the 41st Annual Friends of the Library/Museum Craft Fair at Ketring Park in Littleton from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 6. The fair takes place next to the Littleton Museum, 6028 S. Gallup St.
Butler’s materials are found wood, bones, fiber and more, combined in truly unique style. Pictures of the dolls she makes can be seen on her blog and on her Open Range Art Dolls Facebook page.
“We were living west of Walsenburg in that high, dry area and I started to find bones. I was making standing figures and I saw those little faces looking up at me….” she recalls.
She said she has always sewed, quilted and made dolls, but about four years ago, she “got serious.”
She added feathers and beads to the bones and wood, borrowing from the Native-American traditions.
“I was always gravitating toward the ethnic.”
She had just left her job of many years as retail manager at the Denver Art Museum and working in wood was new to her.
“I was fiddling and learning. I was familiar with fabric and sewing.”
Her Range Walkers, which just started carrying walking sticks this past summer, vary from about from 12 to 24 inches in size and each has a distinctive look.
Butler is “happier not knowing how much time they take. I sometimes make three or four outfits for them (before it looks right).”
She said she participated in about four shows this summer (she moved back to Highlands Ranch two years ago). In past years, it’s been as many as 10. Friends told her about the Littleton craft fair and this will be her first year as part of it.
In addition to the 300 booths, there will be seven concessionaires selling breakfast and lunch items.
Park rules include no dogs unless on a leash and no smoking. Strollers are discouraged because of the large crowds of shoppers.
Next to the craft fair is the Littleton Museum and its two historic farms, which welcome visitors. Here, life is represented in the 1860s and 1890s, when handmade items were the norm.
Note that parking can be a challenge because of the crowds. Do not park at Bemis Library, as space is needed for its patrons.
Admission to the craft fair and the museum is free. For information: 303-795-3950.
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