The First United Methodist Church launched its new craft market on Saturday, Sept. 18 with vendors eager to share their handmade crafts and goods with OC residents. With the holiday season slowly approaching, the craft market is a simple one-stop shop to get one-of-a-kind gifts. Meeting the person who made your specific product and buying directly from them is a unique consumer experience that just isn’t possible in most stores or malls.

The idea of holding a monthly craft market came easily to the team at First United Methodist Church. Josie Jimenez, administrative assistant at the church and an organizer of its many events, says the church is always looking for ways to be more involved in the community.

“We saw a huge desire for creatives and vendors to have somewhere to be able to pursue their entrepreneurial pursuits, and we happen to have a parking lot that we could offer,” Jimenez said.

The church’s location would bring good traffic for the market as well, as it sits at the end of the busy 55 freeway and in between two major intersections. Costa Mesa is the self-proclaimed “City of the Arts” and the church hopes to be part of the city’s artistic legacy through its new craft market. 

With around 30 vendor spots, the market offers an array of crafted items including handmade jewelry, candles, planters, home decor, bath bombs, clothing and more. Vendors occupy space inside the church as well as the outdoor premises, so there is also plenty of room for buyers to socially distance while doing their shopping. 

Many of the selling artists, like Jeanne and Jeffrey Ingels, have only recently started their small businesses since the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the early enforced isolation periods. The Ingels run Jingels Designs, a custom floral design and woodcraft-centered business selling specialized home decor. Here you can find a variety of wreaths, all shaped with wire and carefully decorated with flowers, shells or ribbons. Another popular item is the monogram letter, each one decorated with either flowers or shells. 

Wife Jeanne has always loved arts and crafts as a hobby and after both she and Jeffrey retired earlier this year, they decided to turn their longtime hobby into a fulfilling business.

“Our mission is to spread smiles, kindness and connection,” Jeanne Ingels said  about their ultimate business goal.

They stress the beauty of connection at these markets that comes from meeting a great deal of people coming from all walks of life. Being able to touch a customer’s heart through providing a product that offers joy and warmth motivates the Ingels to continue doing what they do.

“We put our love and hearts in the crafting and send each creation with the hope that it will bring smiles and is received with love,” Jeanne added.

At the market, you may also stumble across Sage & Coco Fine Goods, a handmade jewelry shop run by Tracy Campbell. Campbell, like the Ingels, also started her shop during isolation back in May 2020. What was once a hobby flourished into an online Etsy business, and now Campbell’s weekends are fully booked across various markets like this one where she sells her unique pieces.

Campbell makes all her pieces with natural gemstones, such as labradorite, lapis lazuli, rose quartz, carnelian and more. Nature-made, the stones she uses each have varying colors and textures, which makes each earring and necklace truly different from the next. To help with focus during meditation practices Campbell also makes malas, or garlands made of 108 stone beads with an origin dating back over 3,000 years with roots in Hinduism, Buddhism and yoga. 

Some of her jewelry pieces are made with other components, usually whatever Campbell has on hand at the moment.

“I use a combination of materials – sterling silver, brass, copper, silver and gold-filled wire, semi-precious stones and some preformed brass components,” Campbell said about the variations in her designs. Other jewelry vendors featured at the Costa Mesa Craft Market include The J, Jewelry by Venucci and Abby’s Mystic Jewelry. The market is full of vendors each with their own design and style, sure to match that of any customer that comes through.

If you’re needing somewhere to place your new earrings or necklaces, peruse through handcrafted ceramic plates and jewelry dishes at Terra Meraki. Hannah Fawcett started off making polymer clay earrings and most recently discovered a love for ceramics, which has now become the focal point of her business. 

Along with jewelry dishes, Fawcett also has a wide assortment of ceramic mugs, planters and bowls available for sale. Many of Fawcett’s ceramics are made with speckled buff clay or terra red clay and are then dipped in one of many glazes such as variegated blue, black, clear or satin white, which give each piece its own distinct color. Fawcett also welcomes custom commission orders through her Instagram or Etsy.

The Costa Mesa Craft Market also shines a spotlight on Latino businesses such as Enedina Artesania Mexicana. The vibrant fair trade sombreros, bags, charms and traditional clothing here have all been handmade by Mexican artisans with extreme attention to detail.

You can find an fairtrade items made by Mexican artisans at the Enedina Artesania Mexicana booth at the Costa Mesa Craft Market. Credit: CRYSTAL HENRIQUEZ, Voice of OC

Coming to this month’s market is another Latina owned huarache shop, Huarache Veloz Imports. The shop sells many styles of huaraches, which are leather-thonged sandals traditional to Mexican culture. Along with huaraches, you can also find sombreros, embroidered headbands, bracelets and more.

For dog owners, La Madrecita Shop is another Latina-owned business that offers handmade bandanas for dogs of all sizes. Made with various themed fabrics, there’s a bandana for every occasion whether it be for a sports game, holiday or a birthday party. The bandanas are all sewn by a 77-year-old abuelita and her granddaughter, whose mutual love for handmade crafts turned into a family business during the pandemic.

To refresh a bit, the craft market also features coffee by Anaheim Roasting Company and beverages like authentic cafe de olla by Fresca Signature Flavors.

Jimenez said she and her team at the church were pleased with the steady turnout at the launch of their new craft market, looking forward to the upcoming dates.

The church hopes that once COVID-19 restrictions relax a bit more, it is able to continue expanding its monthly event, bringing in more vendors as well as local musicians for more entertainment.

The market’s next date is this Saturday, Oct. 9. from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The next markets will be on Nov. 6, Dec. 4 and Jan. 29. For more information or to apply as a vendor, visit https://www.costamesafirstumc.com/acostamesacraftmarket.

Crystal Henriquez is a writing fellow for Arts & Culture at Voice of OC. She can be reached at crystalh774@gmail.com.

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