Signs of the holiday season were on display Saturday at a craft fair to benefit the North Wales Area Library, held at Sanctuary United Methodist Church on Hancock Road in Upper Gwynedd. Exhibitors included Rhoda Goldstein of Elkins Park, who makes handbags, pillows, Christmas ornaments and other items from colorful cloth. She says she learned how to sew at the age of 12, and she has loved it ever since.
“I guess it’s the satisfaction of taking fabric and creating something beautiful. It probably takes me a day or two to make a large handbag or, with one of the Christmas Tree ornaments, in a few hours I’ve got this really beautiful thing. Every time I look at my work I say, ‘Oh, I made that.’ Ha, ha. I’m still sort of surprised.”
Another exhibitor was Andrew Raab of Oley Valley, who makes Moravian Stars. He says monks in a Moravian monastery invented them in the 15th or 16th century, and they have deep religious meaning.
“The true Moravian Star is white, representing God and purity. With the red and green ones, some people say the red represents the blood of Christ and the green represents everlasting life. The Moravian Stars sort of worked their way northward through Europe, and then they came to the United States with the German immigrants. Germans, being very thrifty and never getting rid of anything, saved scraps of paper and ribbon and then they used it to make Moravian Stars for Christmastime.”
Raab says he learned how to make Moravian Stars many years ago as a Cub Scout, and he took it up again five or six years ago as exercise for his arthritic hands. He says it’s not only therapeutic, but also very enjoyable.