Several early Christmas shoppers in Watsonville got a golden opportunity to browse and buy some unique gifts at the Anit-Mall Community Market in the Springfield Grange Hall on Saturday.
The mini market was a chance for people to get some presents knocked off the old wish list and most of all avoid the crowded malls with mass produced items for sale all over the place.
Mike Moya from Salinas brought in some pieces of Mesoamerican artwork that he makes on basswood and uses Sharpie markers to color them in. Moya uses an assortment of colors to bring out a vibrant image and says the permanent ink in the Sharpie is as good as paint.
It takes about three days for Moya to finish a pyrography piece and has a little over ten years of experience but admits art wasn’t he first passion.
“This was the first kind of art that I got into,” he said.
Other vendors brought in various clothing accessories, vivid portraits and paintings, and custom made jewelry from artists like Angelina Rojas out of Hollister. The style that Rojas uses in her work was inspired from a popular Mexican holiday.
“I came into doing a lot of Day of the Dead jewelry when my father passed several years ago and I was curious about why they would celebrate this kind of thing,” she said. “So I studied it and I realized what a beautiful thing it really is, I had no idea.”
“I started making the jewelry and it became sort of a healing process for me. Now years later it’s become a great demand for me because I had made a few pieces, I wore them and people started commenting on them and they said ‘Make me one, make me one.’ It sort of evolved from there.”
Rojas is ecofriendly too and she uses natural parts like leather, stone, wood, and seeds such as the ones from the tagua palm that grows in the Latin American regions.
The tagua seed is also known as elephant ivory and is popular because it’s often used for beads, buttons, figurines, and jewelry and can be dyed. Rojas is also in the works of a new project that includes a special symbolic icon, the butterfly.
“It’s a lot of fun stuff and I like to do things that are unique,” she said. “The reason it’s a butterfly because it’s believed that when the spirits come back from the dead they come back in the form of a butterfly. It seems to me that people have forgotten about that part of the story, the butterfly, and that’s why I’m working on this.”