SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Whether you’re just getting started on your holiday shopping or putting the finishing touches on your list, there are several local options that could take your gift-giving to the next level.
The North Union Farmer’s Market Holiday Market at the Van Aken District features 23 different vendors selling one-of-a-kind holiday gifts from jewelry to baked goods.
“I don’t know that I would be here without the farmer’s market. Where would I sell what I have?” said Ray Rullo.
Known affectionately as the Firewood Guy, Rullo has been participating in the market for more than 20 years. He originally delivered firewood but branched out to custom-made cutting boards on a whim.
“I saw a piece of wood on the back of my truck. It looked like a very neat end grain, and I thought I’d make a board out of it. I did, it took hold and I’ve been doing it ever since,” he said.
Each piece is custom-made and hand-crafted from locally sourced wood. The unique designs are statement pieces that can be used for cutting or simply for decoration.
“Some boards I do five hours-worth of sanding,” Rullo said. “The key is in the sanding.”
Meanwhile, 10-year-old Nora Gupta is a relative newcomer to the market world. Nora and her sister Asha are splitting a booth to showcase some custom-made art and stickers, while getting a crash course in Business 101 along the way.
“It’s really touching to me that someone would buy something of mine and want to display it,” Nora said. “It just feels really great to see that someone cares about something I made so much.”
Her designs often start as a doodle and her inspiration comes from nature. Nora transfers them via Procreate to specialized paper to be printed on.
“It’s nice to interact with people,” she said. “I also have an Etsy shop, but it’s really nice to be able to come out and talk to people about what I do, because I love what I do.”
If you missed your chance to come out to the holiday market on Dec. 11, there is another chance on Dec. 18. The market runs from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and is located on the first floor of the parking garage for the Van Aken District Market Hall.
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