Stories behind a craft fair in Lake Placid

Keela Grimmette, a Lake Placid artist and stay-at-home mom, smiles with some of her watercolor paintings by her booth at the spring craft fair at Lake Placid Middle-High School on Saturday. Grimmette said she picked up watercolor painting during the coronavirus pandemic, and she’s found healing through the artform. (Enterprise photo — Lauren Yates)

LAKE PLACID — When the coronavirus pandemic prompted mass industry shutdowns in March 2020, Keela Grimmette picked up a paintbrush.

Grimmette had never really painted before. A Lake Placid resident, Grimmette is a stay-at-home mom, and she’d spent the last several years taking care of her three young kids. She didn’t have much spare time to herself. But in 2020, the right circumstances converged — her kids were getting older, and pandemic-related shutdowns were keeping most people home-bound. She decided to try her hand at watercolor painting. She not only discovered that she was a good artist — she also found healing and self-acceptance in her watercolors.

Many of Grimmette’s pieces are what she calls “embodiment” art — they feature diverse women with varied body types. The works are paired with quotes that have inspired Grimmette, like one that says “Come back to yourself.” The women look comfortable in their skin.

Grimmette said the pieces are reflective of her own healing journey — through painting, she’s come to better love and accept herself as she is.

On Saturday, Grimmette sat amongst dozens of her own paintings at the spring craft fair in the Lake Placid Middle-High School gym. She’s made a full business out of her talents over the last three years. When she paints a piece she likes, she makes prints at the local UPS store and sells them at fairs and on the online marketplace Etsy.

Viviane Witt, a preschooler at St. Agnes School, smiles after picking out a watercolor print of an owl, painted by Lake Placid artist Keela Grimmette, at the spring craft fair at Lake Placid Middle-High School on Saturday. Witt is pictured with her mom, Alison Barr. (Enterprise photo — Lauren Yates)

She loves seeing the embodiment pieces resonate with other women and “go out into the world.”

“We need to see ourselves represented as we actually are,” she said.

She’s also inspired by nature, and many of her pieces feature boldly-colored flora and fauna. Grimmette’s works are available at etsy.com/shop/grimmettegifts.

New business near and far

Friends and business partners Alex Putnam (left) and Cia Aitken smile behind their “Alex and Cia Crafts” booth at the spring craft fair on Saturday. It was the friends’ first craft fair, and they traveled from Plattsburgh to sell their candles, bath salts, scrubs, car air fresheners and baked goods to fair-goers. (Enterprise photo — Lauren Yates)

Saturday’s craft fair included several makers from beyond the Adirondack Park, including Plattsburgh-based makers Alex Putnam and Cia Aitken of “Alex and Cia Crafts.” Saturday’s event was Putnam and Aitken’s first-ever craft fair, and they drew a steady stream of visitors to their table filled with handmade candles, car air fresheners, baked goods, bath salts and scrubs featuring natural ingredients. Putnam and Aitken’s business was naturally born from their friendship — they said they enjoy sharing a margarita and getting crafty. Their business Instagram handle is @wasted_on_crafts.

Putnam and Aitken both have full-time jobs, but they’re hoping to keep boosting their craft business at arts and crafts fairs — especially if the fairs support a good cause, Putnam said, like a local humane society or another nonprofit. Putnam and Aitken said that having the support of good friends has helped them in the beginning phases of their business — a few of their friends from the Plattsburgh area drove to Lake Placid on Saturday to stop by their booth at the craft fair.

Young makers

Twin sisters Grace (right) and Autumn Fitzgerald, who are fourth-graders at St. Bernard’s School in Saranac Lake, smile behind their craft booth at the spring craft fair at Lake Placid Middle-High School on Saturday. The twins started their jewelry business this year after Grace got a jewelry-making kit this past Christmas. (Enterprise photo — Lauren Yates)

Grace and Autumn Fitzgerald, twin sisters and fourth-graders at St. Bernard’s School in Saranac Lake, might have been the youngest vendors at Saturday’s craft fair. The twins’ startup jewelry business, “Twin Creations,” is a product of a Christmas gift: Grace got a jewelry-making kit for the holiday this past December, and the twins found they liked making jewelry together. They displayed several of their colorful beaded earrings at a booth with their parents on Saturday.

Ticket sales for Saturday’s craft fair benefited Lake Placid Central School District’s Class of 2024.


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