March 7, 2014

Giving the boot to arts and crafts

Meet one of the sellers at the Craftsmen’s Spring Classic Arts & Crafts Festival this weekend

The Craftsmen’s Spring Classic Arts & Crafts Festival kicks off at the State Fairgrounds this morning, and if you think craftiness begins and ends with a hot glue gun, prepare to be amazed.

This year, hundreds of artisans will be on hand with their creations, which range from pottery and glassware to furniture, jewelry, photography, clothing and sculpture. Debby and Arlie Garrett, who run the Rootin’ Tootin’ Boutique, have been crafting pocketbooks from cowboy boots since 2005.

“We decided to make all of our Christmas gifts one year, “says Arlie, a retired history teacher and football coach. “I turned a cowboy boot into a birdhouse. Everyone who saw it wanted one, so we turned it into a little business.” A few years later, when Debby spotted a purse made out of a cowboy boot, the couple shifted their focus to bags.

Today, they offer five styles, all made from high-quality leather boots. They get their raw materials from a variety of sources, including thrift stores (“Boots are plentiful here in Texas!” says Arlie) and from customers themselves. “When a pair of boots can’t be worn anymore, but the owner isn’t ready to put them on the shelf, they’ll bring them to us,” explains Debby. “Since most of the artistry is usually on the top, even worn boots can be transformed into beautiful purses.”

The Craftsmen’s Spring Classic starts today at 10 a.m. and runs through Sunday at 5 p.m. at the State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia. Tickets, which are good for all three days, are $7 and can be purchased at the door. For more information (and discount coupons) craftshow.com

Katie McElveen

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