They're certainly not as aggressive as your typical shopping-mall decorators, but the folks behind two of our area's artistic mainstays already declared an early start to the holiday season. At Commonwheel Artists Co-op (102 Cañon Ave., Manitou Springs, commonwheel.com), the work of more than 50 artists went up for the co-op's Annual Holiday Market on Nov. 19. And the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center (210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo, sdc-arts.org) kicked off its 43rd Own Your Own Holiday Art Show & Sale the same weekend.
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, other arts organizations are ready to jump into the fray. Here are a number of other special arts-and-crafts-related shopping opportunities, arranged chronologically:
• The 2010 annual Colorado College Arts and Crafts Sale (Worner Campus Center, 902 N. Cascade Ave., coloradocollege.edu) boasts the work of more than 100 artisans and craftspeople, students and community members, in a three-day juried sales event. Open 4-8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4-5. Free.
• You may have missed it with all the other big news coming out of Smokebrush Gallery — director Holly Parker moving on, Don Goede taking her place, and a new location in the Trestle Building picked out for the new year — but its second annual Eco-Art Market has begun. Still at Smokebrush's 218 W. Colorado Ave., #111 location (smokebrush.org), the market promises loads of "hand-made functional, decorative and wearable artwork." Open houses 5-8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 3, and noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4; market runs through Dec. 23. Free.
• At the Holiday Trunk Show & Glass Blowing Demonstration at the Squash Blossom (2531 W. Colorado Ave., squashblossom.com), Chilean-born Green Mountain Falls resident Fide Durben will demonstrate her new technique for creating large hollow beads, and her jewelry will be for sale. From 5-8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 3. Free.
• The third annual Holiday Extravaganza at St. Peter Catholic School (124 First St., Monument, cosnorthmomsclub.com) brings together more than 30 artisans, crafters and home-based vendors. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4; $2, ages 10 and up, or free admission with a new or gently used coat donation to the MOMS Club One Warm Coat Drive.
• Tri-Lakes Cares, a far-reaching social services organization, will benefit from proceeds of the fifth annual North Pole at Tri-Lakes Craft Show (Lewis Palmer Middle School, 1776 Woodmoor Drive, Monument, 278-8393). Expect basketry, Christmas crafts, clothing, painting, folk art, quilting and needlework. Bonus: You can even meet Santa. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5. Admission is free with one non-perishable food item.
• The Boutique at Woodland Park Public Library (218 E. Midland Ave.) features locals selling hand-painted ornaments, aspen candleholders, jewelry, wine jellies, soaps, lotions, wildlife photography and baked goods. The event benefits the Pikes Peak Regional Medical Center Foundation, which built the new hospital on Highway 24. Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4, and Sunday, Dec. 5. Free. (The foundation is also holding a holiday home tour this weekend in Woodland Park, if you're the kind of person who likes to snoop around others' houses.)
• If you like DIY style, Love's Garden Arts Holiday Trunk Show at Duryea Fine Art Gallery (1003 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, 685-9050, lovesgarden.etsy.com) features nature-inspired jewelry, hair accessories, knit and sewn items by owner Bill Duryea's daughter Abbey Stohs. Look at her Etsy page, and you'll be compelled to share her work with friends. From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 4, and noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5. Free.
• You can snag some slick small art for sane prices at the third annual Small Works Show: The Biggest Small Works Show Ever at The Modbo gallery and its new neighbor, also owned by Modbo couple, Brett and Lauren Andrus, SPQR (17B and 17C E. Bijou St., 633-4240). Some Indy staffers still talk about the excellent art they got there last year. Dec. 10 to Jan. 7. Free.
• Whether or not you decide to drop in at Cottonwood Center for the Arts' new storefront on Tejon Street (see "As Seen on the Street," p. 27), you can hit up Cottonwood's main location for its Artful Pottery Holiday Sale (427 E. Colorado Ave., 302-0702, timco.com). There, local artists Lance Timco and Jennifer Hanson showcase their functional and decorative clay creations. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Dec. 10; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dec. 11. Free.
• Finally, for something like holiday shopping at a petting zoo, visit Peak Ranch Alpacas (19850 Beacon Lite Road, Monument, 481-6129, peakranchalpacas.com) for Rene Beshear's Christmas Sale and Gift Wrapping at her Alpaca Boutique. Beshear says she wants to share "the beauty of the alpaca fiber, how warm it is, how it doesn't itch like wool." Enjoy a holiday tea while you browse the mostly handmade alpaca coats, sweaters, fedoras, purses, wine bottle holders and alpaca-plush animals, plus felted Christmas ornaments made by 13-year-old Megan and a line of baby hats, booties and mittens that Rene crochets herself. The Beshears gift wrap your purchases for free during the sale. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dec. 18. Free.