Donna Hahn has been displaying her neckties and tapestry purses for seven years at the Belsnickel Craft Show.

Davis Salks, who makes small pottery, is a newcomer to this event.

Hahn started creating novelty ties out of cotton about eight years ago when her husband asked her to make him a tie.

"I make mostly novelty prints, which I can duplicate as long as I can still find fabric," said Hahn, who uses animal, ethnic and sports themes.

"I sell everything I make at craft shows," said Hahn, who also makes small tapestry purses and wallets. The largest resemble small backpacks.

Hahn plans on showing about 300 ties at the 36th Annual Boyertown Belsnickel Craft Show.

Boyertown High School will hosr the event, which is scheduled for Nov. 25 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Hahn will display about 100 purses and backpacks.

She also will be offfering her creations at the Hamburg Holiday Craft Show at the Hamburg Field House on Nov. 18 and 19.

The purses contain geometric, floral and animal prints as well as scenery, including autumn trees.

"The purses are made out of tapestry, upholstery fabric," Hahn said. "Some are one of a kind because I don't buy much fabric when I don't know what will sell."

Hahn supplements her husband's income.

"I work out of my home in my spare time," Hahn said. "It's my way of contributing while staying at home with the kids, who are 15 and 16."

With a laugh, Hahn realizes this statement won't hold true soon, or may not even now, with her children growing up.

Salks, who just started selling his pottery two years ago, will bring approximately 175 pieces to the Boyertown Belsnickel event.

Since he started making pottery, Salks has created over 1,000 different pieces.

"I make pieces one-half to one-third scale," Salks said. "My first show was in York in March 2005.

"I've been making pottery for five years with unique glazes that I formulated myself. The glaze provides a slightly crackled finish that gives a look of antiquity."

Salks creates one of a kind small pottery based on early Pennysylvania German or Early American, Classical motifs.

"I use fraktur, a process to etch designs into clay, such as birth and wedding certificates," Salks said. "Fraktur is the largest body of folk art that comes out of the German American heritage."

Fraktur is an ornate type of written or printed German, similar to Gothic lettering in English.

Even though Salks' pottery is small, it is nevertheless functional. The jugs, pitchers, milk cans, crocks, kettles and steins all can be used in their smaller forms.

On some of his pottery, Salks applies sgraffito, a dark clay coating or veneer, which he etches through. This technique is used on redware plates, but Salks doesn't make redware.

"Redware isn't functional, and my pieces are all functional," Salks said.

Salk was a software applications designer, a freelance consultant for mostly business applications before he decided on this seemingly radical career change.

"(Actually), my longest career was with Empire Steel Co. in Reading," Salks said. "10 years ago, I showed my work at local pottery shows, but I made large wall sculptures cut out of plaster and painted, a completely different medium and style (from what I do now). I wanted to make a go of it, but I had too many lifestyle conflicts."

Now, Salks is determined to make his career change permanent. "Early American Life Magazine" has even honored him by featuring his work in the 2005 Holiday Issue and by distinguishing him as a member of the Directory of Traditional American Crafts in 2005 and 2006.

Salks acknowledged his wife, Diane, the President of Riverview Tree and Landscape in Reading, a company that was founded by her father, for her support.

A typical day now finds Salks heating his kiln to over 2,000 degrees and watching the items shrink to 85 percent of their original size - a far cry from the responsibilities of a software applications designer, but the direction his talents have taken him.

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