Annual sale showcases work of local crafters

Roger Ruggles displays his unique, handmade pens during the AgriLife craft sale Saturday in Edinburg. Francisco E. Jimenez | The Monitor

Volunteers with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Master Craft held a craft sale Saturday at the Edinburg Activity Center, where dozens of local artists displayed their crafty creations.

Adriana Cantu, vice president of the organization, described the fifth event as more of a fair that was borne out of a weekly gathering of like-minded people.

“We’re a group of women that get together every Tuesday at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension,” she said of the organization’s members. “We help teach other people to learn how to sew and do crafts so they can start a small business or work from their house.”

The craft sale, usually held at the end of the year event, highlights the many talents of the women who attend the weekly classes, with local vendors also participating.

“It’s unique gifts — handmade — and sometimes things you won’t find at any other place,” Cantu said. “This event is once a year. It’s just a showcase at the end of the year for all the things that we do.”

Roger Ruggles, 83, of Alamo, had a table set up with his many unique pens and pencils. He has only been making them for three years.

“This is a craft show that has tremendous artists showing off their work,” Ruggles said. “This is my first year here, and I really like it. The people have been very hospitable, very helpful. I love it. I hope I can come back next year.”

Ruggles makes pens and pencils in addition to desk sets. All of his products are handmade using native wood.

“I saw an ad in a magazine, and I said, ‘I can do that.’ So I started making them,” Ruggles explained about how he got started. “I have a woodshop, so it worked very well … It’s really great. I’m 83 years old, and it really keeps me busy and happy.”

Chancy Cobos of McAllen had a table full of Native American crafts and jewelry, which he’s been making for about two-and-a-half years.

“This event is nice. I would say it’s just a little bit slow right now. Maybe it’s because everyone is out there gift-hunting and getting ready for Cyber Monday,” Cobos said. “Other than that, it’s pretty nice. Everyone has a lot of nice setups, things for the holidays. I’m just happy to bring something a little unexpected to the table.”

The Master Craft Volunteers are also known for their philanthropy. Many of the crafts that they make during their weekly classes are donated to the local cancer center and nursing homes.

They meet at 9 a.m. every Tuesday at the AgriLife Extension office, located at 410 13th St. in Edinburg. The public is welcome to attend.

“The first Tuesday of the month is our planning meeting,” she said. “We plan what we’re going to be doing during the month. We do all kinds of things.”

For more information about the Master Craft Volunteers, call (956) 383-1026.