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Susan Peek was looking to sweep shoppers off their feet this weekend at the annual Holiday Marketplace.
The Elizabethtown Junior Women’s Club hosted the marketplace at Pritchard Community Center. Vendors gathered to sell Christmas decorations as well as a variety of crafts and food.
Peek was one of those vendors. This was her first year at the marketplace. Among her items were handmade brooms and knitted caps, both of which she has made for years from products on her farm, Talotam Hollow.
Talotam stands for “Takes A Lot of Time and Money,” Peek said, chuckling. Despite the resources it drains, it’s clear Peek enjoys the work.
Peek and her husband have been broom-making since the early 90s. They took classes on the process and now travel the country teaching courses.
The couple rehabilitates tobacco sticks, hardening them with polyurethane and using them as the handles for the brooms, along with an assortment of other items such as tree branches and railroad spikes.
Peek likes using tobacco sticks and demonstrating the technique “so people don’t forget the culture of raising the tobacco and the hard work that it takes,” she said.
They also grow broomcorn, a type of sorghum used to make broom heads.
Peek began learning about broom making because of her interest in crafts in general, and a desire to tackle new skills. She’s continued the craft for 20 years because she enjoys the creative process of designing new brooms.
She makes caps and other knitted items with fiber from alpacas on the farm. Her daughter shears, washes, cards and spins the fiber and Peek knits or crochets using it.
Both items come from renewable resources, which is an aspect Peek likes about farm work.
“I like that it’s a continual product,” she said.
Peek was one of 65 vendors, Club President Kristy Bacon said. The marketplace serves as the club’s major fundraiser, which uses the money to fund service work.
Bacon said word of mouth among vendors keeps new wares coming in every year.
“I think that just keeps our mix changing as the trend changes,” she said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.