Through the years, artisans have handcrafted Yuletide ornaments from diverse materials that range from carved wood to hand-blown glass, spun wool to spun silk, and that assumes the form of everything from balls to spheres, angels to nutcrackers, Santas to sleighs and, here in Florida, everything from gators to mermaids.
Rogers 4 Seasons Gift Shop likens an old-world sitting room bedecked for the holidays, from its classically adorned Yuletide tree to a fireplace lined with embroidered Christmas stockings, as well as an assortment of festive miniatures and tree and angel figurines lining the room’s antique cabinets and furnishings. And amongst the many ornaments, dolls, and other signs of the season, one will find a good number of artistic and handmade items.
“I like to carry handmade merchandise made in America,” said Dorothea Stephens, owner of Rogers Four Seasons Gift Shop, 103 S Saxon Ave., Brooksville. “They’re cute, and lend an old country feel.”
Stephens herself is the artist behind Rogers’ signature mermaid ornament, a precut wooden canvas (precut by her woodworker husband) adorned with beads and crystals in aquiline shades of aqua and lavender. And she reveals, her talent for creating handmade ornaments runs in the family. “My niece is just getting started,” she said.
Angie Copeland, Stephens’ niece, is a Brooksville resident who makes country-style handmade ornaments depicting festive woodcut figures posted on hangable wooden backgrounds. “They’re cute ornaments with carved snowmen, pigs, chickens, horses, etc.,” said Stephens.
The presence of Stephens’ mermaid ornaments and Copeland’s hanging wood portraits may render the Rogers tree something of a family tree and on this same tree, the work of other local artists is represented.
Hudson’s Charity Dauenhauer, the owner of Fairydust Images is the artist behind the handpainted ceramic fairy tiles found at Rogers. Currently appearing at Rogers is “Silent Night,” her Yuletide tile that portrays a whimsical fairy dressed in robes of red and green, standing beside her wolf familiar as the two admire the North Star against a backdrop of mistletoe berries. Affixed with a scarlet ribbon, this 8X10 glossy tile is the latest creation of this ‘Fairy and Fantasy’ artist.
“I would say that buying something handmade during the holidays is very important to an artist. You see, as for me, sales are a bit slower and I believe it’s because of the big box retailers. So, when a sale is made during the holiday season, it helps keep my business flowing,” said Dauenhauer. “Not only have you helped me financially but I am also tickled that you enjoyed my artwork that much! Thinking that this might be a gift to someone makes me feel as if I were a part of that. I would hope that when someone buys a handmade item that they realize they are helping make an artist’s dream come true doing what they love to do.”
Elsewhere in the Rogers shop are other handcrafted items that range from candles to Santa and snowpeople dolls, crafted by various artists across the nation. And although Rogers, once known exclusively as a Christmas village, as a whole is expanding its focus to include a 4 Seasons Gift shop theme, Boho Chic Venue for parties, and Saxon Manor Weddings and Events, their simulated Christmas parlor is the perfect place for anyone who needs a little Christmas–and a lot of Christmas art.