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Mattie Arts holiday sale features many unique items

By Karen Thiel

for The Washington Daily News

When tradition, innovation, and eastern North Carolinian spunk get stirred together in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, one of the signs of that partnership will be the resilience of the home-grown businesses that have characterized this region for generations. A bold example of that dedication is the Mattie Arts and Visitor Center, a hub for area artisans where its organizers are staring down the limitations of COVID-19 by hosting their fifth annual holiday sale.

“No two things are alike. We have everything from handcrafted jewelry to leather, wood, pottery, homemade lye soap, memory and travel journals, decoys, baby stuff, stained glass, bubble fish, wreaths – the sky’s the limit,” said Jan Moore, who is store manager and interim director of the nonprofit group, which features work by about 60 artists who are “95 percent local.”

Formed in 2012, the goal of this nonprofit venture is to promote the area’s craftspeople and help them prosper through their artistic talents without leaving Hyde County. “In order to make a living, most of our artists need to travel. Our purpose is to help them generate income so they can stay here,” Moore said. According to the group’s website, Swan Quarter is part of the second largest – but least populated – county in the state. There are no incorporated towns – only “isolated villages 25 to 60 miles apart.” No stop lights. No fast food restaurants. Lots and lots of fishing and farming jobs. “For many, this means forsaking God-given creative talents for mere survival through labor,” the website’s authors wrote. “Our mission, the real product here, is hope . . . an opportunity to discover, express, and sell the results of their creative gifts and, in so doing, deepen a sense of purpose in their lives.”

The center is located at 35 NC Highway 45, in the old post office building. Moore said the sale runs through December 23, but hours will be different each week because the store is operated by volunteers. The group’s Facebook page will list the days and hours scheduled for the sale. For more information, call the store at 252-926-2787 or reach Moore by cell phone at 252-385-1826.

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