Carroll County native Betty Smith probably never thought the stitchery she learned from her grandmother would be the thread that binds together two dozen artisans to create one of the most interesting Christmas craft shows in the area.
Ten years ago, Smith started Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe -- in her Eldersburg home -- with a half-dozen crafts workers. This year's show at the historic Uniontown Academy on Uniontown Road will feature four times that many artisans.
Smith and her partner, Bonnie Hood, who does tole painting (painting on tin) and other decorative painting, have been planning this show for a year, said Smith, who will also display dolls, Christmas ornaments and other stitchery items.
Smith and Hood said they travel to the various shows around Maryland recruiting crafts workers for their annual show.
"They are all hand-picked," Smith said. "We want to see their craft before we sign a contract."
By the middle of July, the pair have made and distributed more than 14,000 fliers advertising the show. The two recently added a home page on the World Wide Web to help drum up interest in the show, which drew about 1,000 customers last year.
This year's show will run tomorrow to Dec. 8, compared with just 20 hours last year, Smith said.
Susan Plante Butler of Millers is one artist who will be returning this year, selling prints of her drawings of historic places in Carroll County.
Butler said she met Smith and Hood last year at the Fall Harvest Days at the Carroll County Farm Museum.
"The only problem I have is that all the money I make at the show, I end up spending on things at the show," Butler said with a laugh.
For Smith, who grew up in South Carroll, staging the annual crafts show has been a natural progression.
"My grandmother taught me how to crochet and embroider. And I used to teach stitchery all over Baltimore for a company that puts on parties much like Tupperware," Smith said.
"From there, I started going to craft shows in 1984. Later, I decided to do a show at home. That was the big thing then, to have shows in your home."
Smith moved from Eldersburg to Uniontown in 1988 and did not do a show that year or the next, but started back again in 1990 to coincide with Historic Uniontown's biennial Candlelight Tour.
Last year was the first time the show was held in the old one-room school.
"The show was getting too big to have in my house," said Smith. "And we liked the ambience of the 19th-century schoolhouse."
Hood said she too began doing holiday shows in her home and at other people's homes.
She met Smith at Carroll County Farmer's Market Craft Show. Both are members of the Carroll County Farmer's Market board of directors.
The two women own their own craft businesses, Hood's Woods and Smith's Just Plain Folks. Together, they own a craft business, Village Promotions.
Hours for the show will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 8.
Pub Date: 12/01/96